Do you dress for dudes?

Posted at 9:41 AM Sep 01, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

my favorite high-waisted pieces
Dresses: they're a sticky issue, and not just for Monica Lewinsky. (Yeah, I know, 15 years ago called and they want their shitty joke back.) But seriously, folks. I've been stewing over a sartorial issue raised thoughtfully by Jezebel in response to a barely coherent article in  the Daily Mail, which argues that men don't like fashion and really just want you to wear sexy things, which you should of course do. So, can you dress the (fashionable) way you want and attract men? Writes Anna on Jez:

"... in a world where we get plenty of unwanted "comments and looks" no matter what we wear (as anyone who's been cat-called while wearing a parka knows), is it so strange that we might not want to look "sexy" every damn day? That we might want to look interesting, cool, funky, serious, scary, even ugly? And that our reasons for this might not have anything to do with pleasing other people?"
It's amazing to me that, in an age where modern fashion is the easiest outlet for individual self-expression, we're talking about clothing choices as being either one thing or another. So your high fashion gown doesn't impress Some Guy. Maybe Some Guy is a dude you don't really want to bone in the first place. Maybe you just like the feel of your furry velour leg-warmers or can't be bothered to hoof it to class in 4" heels. Isn't wearing what you want sexier than dressing only to impress--men or women?

I come to this issue by way of high-waisted things. I have a pair of ridiculously high-waisted black denim pants and a tight red American Apparel skirt that I wear as a kind of high-waisted pencil 'do. These are currently two of my favorite items of clothing. They're retro, fun and stupid-trendy. I adore them. But many people, both men and women, often offer unsolicited advice with regard to these pieces, telling me that guys aren't going to like me wearing those "mom jeans," that they can't believe I had the nerve/guts/balls to wear them, etc.

You'd think I was wearing a Lady Gaga costume rather than a relatively benign trend. Sadly, the current state of "sexy" in pop culture seems to be limited to what Maxim and Playboy slap between their covers month after month. There are so many ways of being sexy, and so few of them actually on display in media. And yet here I am, fashionable lady with a reasonably successful sex life and even a couple of good relationships under her (wide, high-waisted) belt. (And, oh, hey, I also happen to like my job and friends, though that's obviously not as important as having a man. Thanks, rom-coms.)

My take: whether you're wearing Prada or pajamas, if you wear what you're comfortable in, you're going to be a happier, more confident person who is more likely to attract the kind of person you might actually like back. Sure, I've seen men raise eyebrows at eclectically dressed women, but wouldn't you rather be dating the guy who thinks, "That is one nutty get-up, but she seems like a bucket of fun," than the guy who thinks, "MMM TUBE TOP BOOBIES BONER BOOBIES TITTY!"?

Dolls, do you agree? What do you wear, world-be-damned, just because you love it?


BorgQueen said:

Don't women generally dress for other women anyway? Men have a hard time complimenting women on their clothes because they either a) have no idea what they are talking about or b) if it is a women to whom they are not attached, they don't want to seem skeevy. Just MHO.

I am a very casual dresser away from work (where I am in suits) and don't follow every trend. I am generally a jeans and shirt girl and dressing up usually means a pretty top and shoes. My bf likes that I am so casual and even though I know he kinda wishes I wore more dresses, he never says it unless I am actually wearing a dress. So do I dress for him? Sometimes, I will admit it is nice to know your boyfriend is kinda showing you off. But if he likes something on me that I don't or is uncomfortable (coughpushupbracough) I won't wear it. Comfort usually trumps fashion for me and a woman who is confident and comfortable is sexier than one is something trendy/slutty any day!

everywhere said:

I wear what I wear for my own confidence. Push up bras are actually more comfortable for me because I've always worn them, not having that support makes me uncomfortable.

And I wear dresses a lot! Because I'm too lazy to put on pants. I don't do it for looks or any other people. Just for the sake of only having to make the choice of one garment.

Occasionally, I will dress up for the opposite sex, but I do so knowingly, and generally just for kicks. It can be fun. Just not something I'd actually care to do everyday.

Sara said:

I have a ridiculously shapeless, ugly, gray sweater that I keep at my desk in my office. The yarn is so worn down and soft that it's almost weightless, but it is perfect for the days when I'm freezing from the AC (which, frankly, is most days). I don't care that it's ugly and have no problem walking around in it- though I'm sure from a guy's point of view, it'd be much better to just walk around with headlights all day long ;)

Shannon said:

I own this really ugly lime green, purple and white sweater. However, it is the softest most comfortable sweater i own. On those days that its really chilly out, and I just want to be warm and comfortable, I pull it out and declare to the world that its ugly sweater day. I love it.

Susan said:

I like your mom jeans.

Also, it's all about how you FEEL in the clothes you wear. If you ARE dressing to snag a husband (that's right, feminists, I said it) you should wear what you feel confident in because that is what men are going to pick up on. A ratty white tee might be the sexiest thing you own if you feel like a million bucks when you put it on.

Brittan said:

Shoot I wear jeans, t-shirts and Nikes every day. I never wear makeup and my hair is usually a little dirty. I like me this way and I like the kind of dudes that like me this way.

paleelap said:

Band tees, jeans, and skater sneakers. I don't care if most guys are turned off because I look somewhat vaguely like one of them. I also don't care that all my peers pick on me and question my sexuality. I love the ability to show off my music choices with ease, and my ensemble of nearly every day lets me do what I wouldn't be able to do in a miniskirt and heels. Hike through the woods on a random whim? Why not? Fix a sink without spending precious time changing clothes while the water is ruining the floors? No prob. Do cartwheels in front of a crowd? Go for it.
And really, when it comes down to it, I've never had a problem getting guys, even if they aren't swarming me. ;)

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