The most prolific fashion myth might be the myth that women dress for men. Most do not!
They dress according to trends, they dress to please themselves and other women but most they do not just dress for men. However, you might be convinced of the authenticity of this myth because of the provocative way in which fashion is exploited—too tight, too short or too transparent is often a theme glamorized in fashion magazines. No doubt there is a culture that digs this look but women are not that simple. If women do wear tight, short and transparent garments, they either enjoy expressing their sensuality or “they have a job to do”.
Case in point . . . if women dressed for men then cropped pants would never be popular but they are back in style today and just as beloved as they were in the 60s, 90s, and 2000s. Flats are a huge trend at the moment and, my guess is that given the choice between crippling agony and complete comfort women, would choose the latter and men would choose the former. But since flats are now a welcomed trend then the choice is an easy one for women—flats are the clear winner! It’s not to say that women are going to give up on heels or don’t like them. It’s merely another example that women dress for trends, themselves, and other women.
Recently, a friend posted his grievances on Facebook regarding the elimination of the bathing suit competition in the Miss America Pageant (insert barfing emoji here). “What is the point of having a contest for the most beautiful women in America if there is no bathing suit competition?” was his lament.
The Miss America Pageant was never meant to make women express their individuality. Women parading around in heels, bathing suits and gowns playing the violin, performing gymnastics and having a sound bite of an opinion on world peace was created as a construct of the perfect women by men. In the case of women signing up for this pageant, they “merely have a job to do”.
Women no more dress for men then men dress for women. If men did dress for women then they would all look as though they just stepped out of a Tom Ford photo shoot or perhaps they would dress as Daniel Craig did in Casino Royale. They don’t.
Let me illustrate with a story.
Yes, there are some women who will purchase an outfit and then return it saying, “My husband (or boyfriend) hated this on me!” When this happens I remember back when that purchase was made. She had a special event and wanted a certain look. We found it together. The outfit was comfortable, a little edgy, and most importantly she likes how she looks. I can always tell when a client likes what she sees. She takes in her reflection with an approving smile and is immediately enraptured by her own reflection. She confidently steps out of the dressing room with an air of satisfaction like taking a bite of something cold on a hot day. She seems taller and tilts her head slightly to one side as if to signal that she is ready for her photo shoot.
I am confounded when she comes back and apologetically tells me what her husband (or boyfriend) said when she tried it on for him. The comments are never chaste, rather they are demeaning. Remarks like, that outfit makes you look old, or fat or any number of other cliche criticisms. I immediately envision what this insensitive cretin might look like. My guess is nothing like Daniel Craig in Casino Royale.
I wouldn’t feel so crestfallen if I knew she was uncertain when she purchased her outfit and needed her partner’s approval. There are people who are unsure when it comes to style choices and always look for the approval of a loved one but that was not the case here. She loved it and he didn’t.
I ran into her a year later when she mentioned she was single again. I expressed how sorry I was to hear that. With a wink she said, “Don’t be sorry. I’ve never been happier. My only regret was that I returned that dress.”