Fashion

The Catch-22 of Women’s Magazines

Are women’s magazines trivialized or trivializing? It’s a debate as old as third-wave feminism, and not one that another round of think-pieces is going to solve. But this week gives us an unusually illustrative example of how much that question oversimplifies those publications and their role in women’s self-image. Politico’s Sarah Kendzior fired the skirmish’s opening salvo at the beginning of the month by diagnosing “The Princess Effect,” in which glossies’ profiles of highly accomplished women “reduce female political leaders to their supposed fashion and lifestyle choices.” Now Alyssa Mastromonaco, a former White House deputy chief of staff and one of the objects of Kendzior’s critique, and New York‘s Kat Stoeffel have each published rebuttals arguing that the problem lies not with focusing on “fashion and lifestyle choices,” but in believing those choices “reduce” women at all. … Read More

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Rihanna’s ‘Bazaar’ Arabia Cover Is the Swarovski Dress’s Equal, Not Its Opposite

World-renowned soccer authority Twitter troll Rihanna’s latest glossy cover is out. It’s not for Vogue, which is currently busy calling out the scourge of lady-centric Facebook groups, or even fellow usual suspects Elle or Vanity Fair. Posted to social media last night, the Ruven Afanador shots are for Harper’s Bazaar Arabia, the Middle Eastern offshoot of a magazine that’s recently taken some flak for continuing to employ Terry Richardson. Given that the cover advertises “Rihanna of Arabia” as a guide to “The New Modesty: Cover Up in Style,” it’s not too surprising that the most revealing outfit in the shoot is the thigh-length Dolce & Gabbana dress Rih’s wearing on the cover. … Read More

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Melissa McCarthy Is Just Like Every Other Plus-Size Woman: Searching for Cute Clothes

When you Google Melissa McCarthy, the top automated search suggestion is “Melissa McCarthy weight.” Sure, McCarthy stars on a popular TV show in which her plus-size status is central to the concept (Mike & Molly), but the fascination with her weight is voyeuristic at best, fat-shaming at worst.

This is nothing new, of course. The public is cruel when it comes to celebrity standards of beauty. But this week came another reminder that the problem extends beyond viewers. Despite being one of Hollywood’s most unanimous sweethearts in recent years — magazine editors, please try out a different tagline than “favorite funny gal” — McCarthy struggles to find designers to dress her on the red carpet. … Read More

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The Mod Suit: How a Uniform Defined a Subculture

The British and the Italians have always done suits better than anybody else, and each of the countries has a style all its own. To understand the differences between the two, you might start by picturing some stately looking British gentleman stepping out of a Savile Row tailor in a suit that makes him looks good because the lines are cut with such classic precision. In contrast, an Italian suit might conjure up a mental image of a sleek-looking gentleman who jumps on his scooter after sipping an espresso with a lemon twist. He’s the definition of modern, and he does it so effortlessly. … Read More

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30 Best Celebrity Instagrams From the 2014 Met Gala

Last night was the glitziest, most glamorous evening in the fashion universe: the Met Costume Institute Gala. Also known as the Met Ball or “Fashion Prom,” the Gala brings Hollywood and the fashion industry together to celebrate the opening of the Costume Institute’s latest exhibit. This year’s exhibit is a retrospective on Charles James, known for his structured aesthetic and glamorously elegant gowns. Most of last night’s ball gowns didn’t stray far from a classic style, but as the Met Gala is known for experimental fashion (remember Kim Kardashian’s wearable Givenchy garden from last year?) there were a few outliers. Namely, Rihanna (who stunned in Stella McCartney), Cara Delevingne (also in Stella), and everyone who wore Prada — including the normally flawless Lupita Nyong’o, who was some kind of mermaid trapped in a fishing net? I guess? … Read More

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‘The Worn Archive’ Is the One Fashion Book You Need to Buy This Year

Judging by any magazine you might grab off the shelf, writing about fashion in a smart way that doesn’t alienate anybody due to their race, gender, sexual orientation, clothing size, and economic background is a massive — and at times impossible — task. At the end of the day, fashion is a commodity, and if the Vogue writers don’t sell fashion to the right consumers (ones with money), then most big fashion magazines will cease to be. Media and the industries it covers (be it film, publishing, automotive, etc.) have always made strange bedfellows, as one really does need the other to thrive. Yet the way fashion is covered by mainstream media, and the complaints audiences have long held how they hold up an impossible standard for many in terms of body image and what is affordable, it sometimes feels like fashion magazines, filled with more pages of ads than articles, are basically big catalogs with a little bit of editorial copy added in for good measure. … Read More

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‘Seven Sisters Style': Vintage Photos of Women’s Collegiate Fashion

Since its original publication in 1965, Take Ivy has gone on to become the Bible of preppy and Ivy League style. Even today, the book’s influence can be felt on the runways of Ralph Lauren and Gant, and it remains a must for any stylish bookshelf. While the Japanese photographers who created the book captured a perfect moment in American fashion, it has always remained a mystery why there wasn’t a female counterpart to Take Ivy, especially considering the existence of the always-stylish Seven Sisters colleges. … Read More

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10 Other Stupid Non-Fashion Trends Inspired by Normcore

According to The Cut, the newest fashion trend sweeping the crazy streets of New York City is a surprising one. Dubbed “normcore,” it’s not the trend of young women dressing like Cheers-era George Wendt (much to our dismay), but rather young people “embracing sameness deliberately as a new way of being cool, rather than striving for ‘difference’ or ‘authenticity,'” by which the writer Fiona Duncan means: standing out by not standing out. You know, like wearing non-New Yorker clothes such as khakis and sweatpants and turtlenecks and sneakers. Sure, this is just one more bit of proof that New Yorkers and fashion people live in a bubble, believing that every choice we make is interesting and fashion-forward, but what if it inspired some other non-interesting non-fashion trends? We came up with a few we’d like to see. Or not. … Read More

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