It’s not easy being a woman right now. Hah! That actually might be the understatement of the year. The world tells you that you’re supposed to be feminine, and pretty, and perfect, and polite. But you’re also supposed to be tough, and strong, and smart, and powerful. Most women I know just want to be what they are. Unapologetically themselves. Pretty, smart, strong and feminine. All rolled up into one complete person. Like I said, not easy. But it’s a new day and women are proving to be as cool and resilient (revolution, anyone?) as ever in these brittle, battleground times.
And since how you look factors in to how you are perceived, and ultimately how you navigate the world, that begs the question at the top of my mind right now: So how does the new women’s movement (because it sure seems like a movement to me!) square with the newfound frilly fashion that seems to be all the rage?
When it comes to thrills and frills, women either do or they don’t. Confused? No need, because the ladies take their fashion like they take their coffee or their partners. As it suits them, dammit! You don’t have to be one or the other. You can be all at the same time or none of the above. You can be Patti Smith or Dolly Parton. You can be Gaga’s new retro persona or you can be Charlotte Gainsbourg’s forever French chic. Whatever. It’s all good. I promise.
I like the fact that designers are offering women the option to be super feminine and frilly. Why the hell not? Of course, it’s a bit of a fantasy because most women don’t have time to be THAT girly in real life, but fashion is meant to be fun, to stretch your imagination, to enable you to express your inner emotions. We can’t all wear black every day of the week, not even me.
Want to know how a tough chick manages a Molly Goddard smocked, ruffled, sheer tulle baby-doll ball gown and ballerina slippers? Answer: Layered over a Bowie concert tee and shredded boyfriend jeans. Or how does a woman of the world gets s**t done wearing a head-to-toe ruffled pastry-puff of a dress and polka-dot wig from Comme des Garcons? Answer: Accessorized with Nike platform kicks and a bunny-shaped handbag. Or how a 21st-century feminist works that girly chiffon ruffle dress with feathers and bows from Erdem into her daily to-do list? Answer: By pairing said frou with knee-socks, opera-length leather gloves and winklepicker-style jeweled beetle boots that kick ass all the way to the bank.
There’s even a fresh newcomer crop of designers like Cecilie Bahnsen and Chika Kisada that for sure have a thing or two to say about getting all dolled up. Both trade in sugar-sweet baby-girl fashion, but don’t let first impressions fool you. They’re both as sophisticated as all get-out with gorgeous fabrics, intricate details, and subversive undertones, meant to be worn with butch socks, tomboy-esque tulle-laced brogues, and a strong sense of irony.
Life is short. Wear the pearls, the gloves, the ribbons, the bows, the turbans if you’re feeling girly today, tomorrow or next week. As women, we have the choice to be as feminine as we want. Or not. Who cares? Fashion is as personal a choice as it gets.
Cherish the thought that we’re lucky to be women (assuming YOU dear reader are of the female persuasion). WE actually have the freedom to play with fashion. Men have very little room for self-expression. They’re left with ties and socks. Dull as a bag of rocks, right? We’ve got a virtual football field of choices when it comes to personal style. We have all the power. Remember that. I’m a firm believer in the power of personal expression. Fashion not only covers your back, it’s got your back, even when it’s frilly, frou-frou and of the flowery form.
To be continued.