03 January 2007

"stylish" meaning...?*

i've just about had it with the sartorialist. this is a shame, because i love looking at the menswear he features. almost without fail, the outfit goes beyond hip or cool and includes a smart (or at least extremely fortuitous) piece of tailoring, or combination of colors, or what have you. a few weeks ago there was a beautiful group of shirts hanging side-by-side to demonstrate a particular style of shoulder. almost every week there is a gorgeous shot of a shop, ties next to shirts next to jackets to demonstrate the color/pattern combinations on offer. every look is about choosing the right clothes, whether the man is old or young or fat or thin or sweet-faced or haggard or what have you.

but the women! holy crap, what a different story. with a few exceptions (believe me, i looked for them), a great look for a woman is completely defined by the woman herself. she is either a fashion personality or beautiful. most often she is very, very, very thin. we don't see suiting for women. we don't see women's clothes displayed in shops or on racks. it seems our friend doesn't much care about construction, either of the clothes or of an individual style -- purportedly the point of the site -- when the wearer has accessorized with two x chromosomes. there is a fundamental sameness, probably because all the clothes are now-now-now (a slightly nicer way of saying "just trendy"). all the women either work in fashion or don't appear to work; thus, while lots of male sartorialists are clearly bound for the office, i'm not noticing a lot of stockbrokers or lawyers among the women (often "girls") featured on the site. or at least...not so's you'd notice.

so what's a fashion-forward man with a camera to do? my rather crotchety answer: either think harder (much harder) about what looks good on a woman to you (i.e. challenge yourself to the female equivalent of the lovely thom browne suit on the non-emaciated dude), or stop thinking about women('s clothing) altogether. the rather untenable status quo suggests that men are free to invest in tailoring details that they, personally, love, while women are free to invest in...methamphetamine?

dear readers: do you know a woman with a great, very individual look? who is she and what's she often wearing? bonus points if she's got a traditional desk job or very little money.

*this post brought to you by a conflicted feminist's obsessive online apparel shopping.