From the Piazza Duomo to the Arco della Pace, the streets of Milan are packed, crowded mostly with women 5’9” and up, all dressed to the nines. With their frames aglow from the camera flashes, it’s like being in the most glittering tin of sardines the world has ever seen. Or, at least, that I’ve ever seen. It is women’s fashion week in Milan.
To me, the most thrilling part about being here is having my eyes practically drowned in bright colors, bizarre cuts, and overall bold choices. With the right strategy, no look is off limits. So why don’t more people choose this way of dressing? Not in terms of brand, but in terms of chutzpa? The answer is that not every week is fashion week. What gets praised here, now, would more than likely get made fun of somewhere else, because it would no longer seem appropriate to the surroundings. And I hate that. Taking the liberty out of fashion is setting limits for the sake of setting limits, it’s lazy, and above all its a far too stuffy way of thinking for the short lives we have.
So let me trash talk some fashion don’ts.
- Dark/Unusual Lip Colors
I did not even know this was a controversial move until I read this article that came up on my facebook feed. Sure, wearing something vibrant or pitch black will probably get you looked at, but no one’s eyeballs are going to pop out of their heads. Especially if you’re only wearing dark red. Even an orange lip in the summer doesn’t come across as that outrageous. I think a big part of what makes people deem this a style risk is a fear that people will actually take notice. But the reality is that almost no one has enough time to think deeply about your dazzling lip color. So why not wear any one you like?
Alice Ma by Alex Evans for Chloe Magazine Spring 2014 Issue
Prada Spring 2014
- If You Are Tall, You Shouldn’t Wear Heals
This statement is my personal rage-maker. I am 5’6” and a generous half inch tall, and I sometimes get comments about how tall I am in heals. But being tall is my speed. I’m can never be tall enough. I wish that, on a foggy night, I could be mistaken for a totem pole in the distance. I wish I could reach the leaves at the very top of a eucalyptus tree like a giraffe. Being tall, especially if you are a woman, is so wonderful and different and glorious to behold. The only thing that could make it better would be to wear heals, because then your head is even closer to the heavens than it was before. For those people who say, “but what if I can’t find a significant other because of my height?”, you can. You will. And they will possess the fabulous character trait of not being threatened by tall people.
3. Avoid Big Hair
If you live by this rule, please get out. You’re taking up space that hair could be occupying.
Halle Berry for Interview Magazine, Germany
Photo by Suzana Holtgrave for MAC and Bumble & Bumble
4. You Can’t Wear ____ If You Are Busty
This one is tricky. I will not lie to you, some trends look better on a flatter chest. In a professional environment, what may look “cute” on someone with a B cup may look cling wrap-ey on a C or above. On the right chest, what appears to be a tame cut can deform into an outfit that gets you reprimanded—this has happened to me, and I have gone home with tears streaming all the way down to my stupid big boobs. But don’t abandon all hope. For every trend that typically looks stylish on a small chest, there is a variation, hack, or tailoring method that can make it work for a big chest. So don’t be too sad about being busty. A lot of surgeons make money giving people what you were born with.
- Women Don’t Look Good in Pant-Suits
“You’re a woman, not a man” and you’re a child, not an adult, so maybe you need to go to bed. Maybe you’ll wear a dress tomorrow, maybe you’ll wear a dress never. A pant-suit does not turn you into a being come to destroy the foundations of femininity. Also, anyone who gets bent out of shape over a woman wearing a pantsuit needs to ask themselves why they feel women need to look “pretty” or “sexy” in a business situation and/or at all times (I use quotes because you can look pretty and/or sexy in a pantsuit, too). Here are just a few examples of what a pantsuit can be.
Gucci women’s 2016
Carolina Herrera, Theia, Houghton
6. Men cannot wear unique prints/cuts
Just when you thought I was only a lady screamin’ about lady problems. People who tell men they simply cannot wear a floral or a bright color are simply the human embodiment of a stale rice cake. You’re dry and boring and I want to use you to insulate my house. Men—even straight men for those people who are thinking that this can only work for gay men—can and should be allowed to experiment with the full spectrum of colors, patterns, and textures that fabric has to offer. If, at the end of the day, you find that you are a man of classic tastes, then that’s perfectly fine. But if the spirit moves you, let it groove you…over to some out-there menswear.
Moschino Menswear 2016
Italian designer Stefano Pilati is an excellent example of how looser cuts or softer colors can remain masculine- Photo by GQ
photo by AFP
Dolce and Gabbana menswear 2016
Fashion is the most accessible form of art. Not everyone is going to like what you wear, or “get it”. But just like artists don’t make their works for everyone, you shouldn’t dress for everyone. Wear what makes you feel right, and the people who get it will find you.