November 14, 2010

"You are the wrong size for this perfect pair of trousers. You have failed."

What womenswear pants "whisper" to the women who try them on.
Womenswear all too often is constructed to make women feel manipulated, shamed or unworthy. Comfort? Often it's an afterthought.... Women... all too often believe they have to alter themselves -- fix themselves -- to fit the clothes.
By contrast:
Men's apparel owns the language of power and authority. The clothes are in service to the man. They are tailored to him -- designed to make him look good and feel comfortable. Men's suits are stitched to be easily altered. Pants are sold unhemmed. The clothes are not finished until the gentleman says they are. Menswear aims to make men feel like they are the masters of their destiny.

100 comments:

The Crack Emcee said...

Women have mental problems.

I'm just sayin'.

Lisa said...

It is amazing the variation in women's sizes from one store to the next and one brand to the next. Our clothes are sized with mysterious numbers that mean nothing. I might need a size four in one store of one cut of pants but a size six in a different cut of pants. Two doors down, I might be in an eight. The worst part is that the size creep. I was a size 8 in high school as a sophmore and now I'm a size 4? No way.

Men's clothes are laregely based upon measurements and sold that way. It is simpler and there is no mind game associated with it.

Lisa said...

Men who make blanket statements about women are lame jackasses with small penises.

I'm just sayin'

shoutingthomas said...

I second Crack.

Ann, you've got everything going in your life.

Why worry about this shit?

Life isn't perfect.

Lisa, cool out with my friend, Crack. You don't know what it's like.

Ann Althouse said...

@Lisa That's because the manufacturers know that women hear the clothes talking to them, saying mean things, so they put tags on the clothes saying complimentary things. All the confusion is typical of what happens when you don't tell the truth. You don't tell a consistent story.

The Crack Emcee said...

Lisa,

Men who make blanket statements about women are lame jackasses with small penises.

You wanna put money on that?

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

All the confusion is typical of what happens when you don't tell the truth. You don't tell a consistent story.

Lying? Now we're getting somewhere. Next post:

The meaning behind make-up.

ST,

You da man.

shoutingthomas said...

Sometimes, Ann, in your deep intellectual stupor, you miss the obvious.

1. Gay men run the creative end of the fashion industry.

2. Gay men like skinny teen-aged boys.

3. Gay men like women to look like skinny teen-aged boys.

Can't you get the obvious?

Ricardo said...

You two ....

Get a room!

Dark Eden said...

Sometimes I really think that the people who make women's clothes really hate women. And sometimes I wish that women would just be happy with who they are and how they look and get over the constant morbid attempts to sculpt themselves into the perfect body or whatever it is. We'll still fuck you if you're a size or five higher than the skeletal model in the ad that actually fits those jeans. We'll probably like you better like that!

save_the_rustbelt said...

Is the way women shop caused by the way womens' clothes are made?

Or are womens' clothes made because of the way women shop?

I have been trying to solve this puzzle for nearly 40 years and am still clueless.

Mrs. R, a grandma, still shops in the junior petites, which should make her happy (so thinks dumb husband), sorta.

Women are a fascinating mystery.

Ricardo said...

"Women are a fascinating mystery."

Amen.

And a new banner for Althouse.

I'm just sayin'.

save_the_rustbelt said...

Michigan has a special shopping holiday for women this week.

"Deer widows weekend"

This week about 950000 men, and maybe about 30000 - 50000 women, take to the woods of Michigan with high powered rifles to stalk white tail deer.

After dark these men fill their hours with alcohol and general debauchery.

The deer widows fill their hours with serious shopping.

Nirvana for all involved.

AllenS said...

Today is Sunday and every morning the pre-football game analysists are on. For quite a while now, there is a hot lady doing the weather. I always say, "why is she wearing clothes?"

Kev said...

(the other kev)

Is it wrong that the quality that I find most attractive in women's clothing is how quickly it can be removed? Not only do I sympathize with someone having to take the better part of hour to get dressed, nothing kills the mood like having to undo eleven buttons or fighting with a tight zipper.

shoutingthomas said...

Today is Sunday and every morning the pre-football game analysists are on. For quite a while now, there is a hot lady doing the weather. I always say, "why is she wearing clothes?"

Well, this brings us to the subject of Erin Andrews, doesn't it?

She's becoming ugly and witchy looking. Am I the only one who's notice.

Her professional life has become an absurdity.

She was hired by ESPN to be a piece of ass on the football field.

Then some knucklehead started stalking her and taking nude videos of her through the hotel keyhole. Horrible stuff. I agree that he should be in jail.

But, now the piece of ass on the field is a bitter, angry shrew who doesn't want to be viewed as a sex object.

Really, you can see it in her face.

Quite a dilemma, these women who are hired for tits and ass, and then get all cranky about being regarded as tits and ass.

ricpic said...

The grass is greener, huh? Simply not true. A lot of guys have trouble with sleeve length, hem length on non-tuck in shirts and all kinds of other sizing problems, the most common being one manufacturer's size medium being the equivalent of another manufacturer's large and vise versa. Plus, women don't have to deal with the torture of ties.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ricardo,

"Women are a fascinating mystery."

Damn you, Ricardo, I was going to let this slide when Rusty said it, because he's married and I respect that, but now you had to go and endorse the shit and (since I'm already out of things to do this morning) I can't let it stand:

Women are a fascinating mystery?

Sure - until you get over it - and then they're easily manipulatable hypocrites who look like their father's in drag.

And the shit ain't cute. They want credit for a brilliance only a handful of them possess (Hey, Lisa, ever notice that Synova and Freeman Hunt have never once accused me of talking about them? Do you know why? Because they know I ain't - you, on the other hand, are the "lame jackass" who'll identify yourself every-frickin'- time. Loser.)

Good women are great. Really. An inspiration to us all. But the other's mental issues are as obvious as my post-divorce grievances from dealing with them. As Ann is pointing out, here, there are whole industries built around them - so there's a LOT of women who have them, and they go untreated, giving them the illusion they're fine when they ain't.

I mean, when your clothes start "whispering" to you - or you're following the lead of a gay man to get a straight one - something's wrong with you. And, thus, wrong with society.

A nation is only as good as the character of it's women.

Think about that the next time you decide Madonna was an icon worth celebrating.

woof said...

gay men like skinny teen-aged boys

Absolutely not.

Ann Althouse said...

"... a size or five higher than the skeletal model in the ad that actually fits those jeans."

The problem is, clothes look better -- and you focus on the model -- when the model is very thin. But the body itself doesn't look that good naked.

The Crack Emcee said...

"Do these pants make me look fat?"

No, but parading your insecurities makes you seem stupid and unattractive.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ann,

The problem is, clothes look better -- and you focus on the model -- when the model is very thin.

I dare you to watch MM in "Some Like It Hot" and then defend that statement.

A healthy woman is a sexy woman. Fuck them skinny bitches.

shoutingthomas said...

Crack, remember that Ann is fighting out the S/M battle of the law business and a university.

She wants status. She's a snob.

You didn't get that with the bitchy posts about Marie Osmond and cruising?

She's dressing for the great S/M battle of the law biz.

sol said...

Here is a secret.

If you find a size 2 bottom that you really like and it doesn't fit properly (and the store has several identical bottoms - same style, same color, same fabric, same brand, same price, same rack, same day, same time - on the rack) then try each of them on until you find one that fits proper.

Identical bottoms (or tops for that matter) are not exactly identical. Waist measurements in size 2 usually vary up to 1 1/2 inches. Same variance for every other measurement.

Hand sewn clothes are cut and sewn by hand, not by machine. Sewers aren't perfectionists (not even on Project Runway) and often use cloth measuring tape.

If you don't believe me, bring a metal tape measure to the store and see for yourself. (Don't use cloth tape measures because cloth tape measures stretch easily and give bad measurements).

BY THE WAY, WTF IS THE WORDVERIFICATION TEST UNREADABLE. IT TOOK 22 TRIES TO PASS THAT MF

Ricardo said...

Crack:

Have you ever thought that maybe you hang around with the wrong type of women? That you might be a magnet, for the wrong type of women? That maybe there really ARE women out there are are mysterious and fascinating, but that you're running with the wrong crowd? I'm not telling here, or accusing. I'm just asking? And of course we're not talking about these size zero models, who weigh in at 85 pounds wet. We're talking about real women.

Although, yesterday morning I watched some kind of freak-show infomercial, obviously aimed at women, which told them that they could lose 65 pounds if they would just slip on "the weight-loss body-suit" or some such nonsense. And although I normally don't watch this trash, they had me captivated when they had 200 pound women lying on their backs on the floor, trying to pull on this leotard-like outfit, while a 100 pound instructor-model cheered them on.

I mean, what is going on with America? What happened to just eating cottage cheese and fruit for a week?

Maybe Crack is right, after all.

ricpic said...

If S/M means sadomasochist it applied to word verification. If not...nevermind.

ironrailsironweights said...

Most men's suits are altered after the sale because precise fit is vitally important. This is especially true WRT pants length - if they are too long or too short by as little as one-half inch they'll look wretched. The jacket's fit in the front also has to be very close to the mark to look well.

Peter

Ann Althouse said...

"The problem is, clothes look better -- and you focus on the model -- when the model is very thin. But the body itself doesn't look that good naked."

Sorry, I meant "and you focus on *the clothes*....

ricpic said...

Over time mysterious women become nutty women.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

God, women are so whiney sometimes! I hate my sex.

(Though I agree with Lisa that inconsistent sizing is irritating. But that's a result of the whiney women who are listening to secret voices from the clothing).

Ann Althouse said...

"I dare you to watch MM in "Some Like It Hot" and then defend that statement."

First, the guys in women's clothes aren't very thin. They're bulky. That doesn't look good.

I was thinking about Marilyn in that movie when I wrote that point about models. M tells one of the guys that she's envious of his flatchestedness because "clothes hang better" on him. Of course, she's right generally. Clothes do hang better. Looks better in the advertisements.

It is a self-limiting problem for clothes designers though because women try things on before buying them and we reject what feels or looks bad. If it looks great on the model but completely different on you, and in a bad way, you don't buy it.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

M tells one of the guys that she's envious of his flatchestedness because "clothes hang better" on him. Of course, she's right generally. Clothes do hang better. Looks better in the advertisements.

As someone with the classic pre-adolecent boy physique (quite flat-chested), I've always thought that clothes hang better on women with more of a bust. I can't count how many times I've tried on something that looked dead sexy in the pictures, only to feel like it made me look like a frumpy librarian church lady.

shoutingthomas said...

Ann, when are you going to start writing about the paralyzing boredom of law, law firms and law school?

That would be interesting.

Everybody in the world of law, except for the very few who are attracted to the great S&M battle for position and power, hates that world.

The secretaries and IT systems people who worked for you at S&C would just as soon as tossed you out the window. They hated your ambition and your love of the S&M battle to be the boss.

All they wanted was a paycheck and to go home to their families.

They regarded you as a pain in the ass.

You dress for this S&M battle, not to look sexy or inviting.

Could it be that women's bodies were constructed for something other than the S&M battle of the world of law?

Could it be that God made men and women different for a reason?

The world of the law is a deadly bore. It isn't glamorous, no matter how expensive your clothing.

Misty said...

This pretty much sums us up:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M60cl7bKCMw

(sorry, just a skirt and haven't figured out the technical end of posting a link) LOL

Paco Wové said...

"...clothes look better [...] when the model is very thin..."

That is strong evidence that the clothes are badly designed.

Just sayin'.

edutcher said...

Only Lane Bryant (and maybe one or two other places) take how a woman is built into consideration and have three different types of pants for women (slim, with hips, hourglass). Pants generally are really made for men only - waist and hips the same circumference, no bottom, no thighs - just a straight line from bellybutton to ankle. Only women like Mary Tyler Moore are built like that.

This makes sense.

(I know this because The Blonde shops there sometimes)

shoutingthomas said...

Sometimes, Ann, in your deep intellectual stupor, you miss the obvious.

1. Gay men run the creative end of the fashion industry.

2. Gay men like skinny teen-aged boys.

3. Gay men like women to look like skinny teen-aged boys.


Aside from a cheap shot at Ann, he's right.

Women looked better when their clothes were designed by other women.

woof said...

Gay men do not like skinny teenage boys.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

FWIW, edutcher, I know of a number of stores that offer varying cuts of pants. Banana Republic, the Limited, Express, and the Gap come immediately to mind (which pretty much covers all of the clothing stores in my local mall other than the old dept stores and cheap teen-trends). They don't specifically sell them as being for "different body types," more as just different looks/styles, but they certainly take differing body types into account.

Shanna said...

I do think they should sell pants in lengths like they do mens. We had this conversation in a previous thread, but my brother thought it was crazy that they don't. Ever pair of pants I buy seems designed to be too long unless i wear 3 inch heels and sometimes you just want to wear some flats!

The thing is, pants were adapted from mens fashion. Skirts fit a woman's figure better, at least if they are making the right kind of skirts that season. This is what I hate, if you want a green shirt one year and they're not doing green they are nowhere to be found. If you want a simple a line skirt in a year when they are doing stupid skirts with a thousand ruffles or bubble skirts, they are nowhere to be found. I hate that!

Dark Eden said...

"The problem is, clothes look better -- and you focus on the model -- when the model is very thin. But the body itself doesn't look that good naked."

And this is the problem. The clothes should make you look better, you shouldn't make the clothes look better.

Shanna said...

"Deer widows weekend"

Heh. It's the same in Arkansas this weekend. Good time to hang out with all your girlfriends when the guys are hunting...my brother got a deer this weekend, so deer sausage for me!

Trooper York said...

I knew that you would take my busting on you personally.

Well played evil blogger lady.

Michael Haz said...

Women do this to themselves.

Look at the covers of magazines aimed at women readers. Inevitably, the model on the cover is overly thin, or airbrushed to look that way, or has just lost a bazillion pounds after having triplets.

Now look at the covers of magazines aimed at male readers. The ones that have women on the covers have women who have some meat on their bones. Not fat, mind you, but some muscle and tissue.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ricardo,

Maybe Crack is right, after all.

Yea, once they get past the language, they aaaall come around,...

Nah - seriously, Ricardo, thanks.

former law student said...

Women come in too many shapes and sizes for the industry to cope. Guys come in slender, regular, and portly. Regular, big, and tall.

Plus the industry anacronistically believes that all women know how to sew. You need your slacks hemmed? Well, hem them. Clothes too baggy? That's why god made seam rippers.

Moreover, only more expensive men's clothes come unhemmmed. Regular department store grades go by waist and then by inseam.

Trooper York said...

I could give you a course on grading, sizing and manufacture of clothing but as is the rule on the Internets, why let facts get in the way of a good meme.

I would just like to let you know that Robin Givhan knows about as much about the reality of the fashion world as I know about nuclear physics.

Ann Althouse said...

@former law student Didn't you read the part of the article that is about how men's clothes are made to be easy to tailor and women's are not. There's a difference to the way seams are sewn and so forth.

Now, part of this is because a man pays a lot for a suit and keeps it a long time, wears it a lot. The store sells a pretty generic item and has a tailor who fits it to you. Women's styles change much more, and we expect to buy something and wear it today. It's more fun, but less authority-projecting. But you can buy a great suit, let's say at Armani, and they have a tailor who's right there to fit it to you. It's a choice.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of clothes that are cut with stretchiness or some other way to make it fit. It's not really that hard. But if you want tailored pants with a rigid waistband and fitted hips and legs, it will be hard to find something you like.

Ann Althouse said...

"Plus the industry anacronistically believes that all women know how to sew. You need your slacks hemmed? Well, hem them."

Givhan's point was that men's pants come unhemmed, and the assumption is that you hem them to order. Women's pants have a hem where it will work for a lot of women. It's just a convention. Good stores do the hems for you. It's not assumed that you will do that yourself.

Rick Lee said...

My wife used to have a lot of trouble buying clothes until she realized she made enough money to just go to Nordstrom and have a professional to bring clothes to the dressing room. Making alterations is ALWAYS assumed to be part of the process when shopping this way. It's amazing the difference this has made.

edutcher said...

lyssalovelyredhead said...

FWIW, edutcher, I know of a number of stores that offer varying cuts of pants. Banana Republic, the Limited, Express, and the Gap come immediately to mind (which pretty much covers all of the clothing stores in my local mall other than the old dept stores and cheap teen-trends). They don't specifically sell them as being for "different body types," more as just different looks/styles, but they certainly take differing body types into account.

No fight here, I just go by what I've seen. The Blonde is a buxom, hourglass type and a lot of the places you mention don't get her business. I've only noticed the trend among the places that cater to women that are built like women.

Trooper York said...

edutcher, bring the blonde by Lee Lee's and I promise you we can fix her up in style.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Women's styles change much more, and we expect to buy something and wear it today. It's more fun, but less authority-projecting. But you can buy a great suit, let's say at Armani, and they have a tailor who's right there to fit it to you. It's a choice.

It seems to me that women's bodies also change a lot more than men. For example, I'm hoping to get pregnant within around a year- I'm slim, so I figure there's a good chance that, considering hip spread and such, I'm likely to not ever wear the same pants size afterwards. So it makes no sense for me to invest in a great pair of pants now.

Similarly, a lot of women are aiming to lose weight, so why buy really great pants to fit now, if you hope to be smaller soon?

lyssalovelyredhead said...

women that are built like women.

Oh edutcher, did you have to go and add that in? I hate to get all huffy, but come on, "real women" doesn't just mean curvier women. Ladies like me are "built like women" too!

former law student said...

Givhan's point was that men's pants come unhemmed, and the assumption is that you hem them to order.

More expensive men's pants come unhemmed. Could hemming/tailoring simply be a function of cost? If a woman buys a $500 outfit, would tailoring be part of the price?

As far as Givhan's thesis, men's clothes -- suits and tuxedos -- are more like uniforms. They anonymize men by making them seem more alike. Personal style is expressed only though the necktie, most of the time.

In contrast, the clothes women choose to wear allow them to express a wide range of style and taste.

George said...

I never realized that women's clothes talked to them until I saw Momjeans, and then I actually heard them muttering, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, your successful no matter how big your butt is, OK?"

DADvocate said...

Having worked in marketing research for the past 11+ years, I can virtually guarantee you that however these companies address men, women, children, martians,.... is based on what they've found to be the most effective in getting women to buy their products and services. That women apparently respond differently than men to wording of clothing advertising is not the companies' fault.

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

edutcher, bring the blonde by Lee Lee's and I promise you we can fix her up in style.

Thank you, sir.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

women that are built like women.

Oh edutcher, did you have to go and add that in? I hate to get all huffy, but come on, "real women" doesn't just mean curvier women. Ladies like me are "built like women" too!


Well, not knowing what you look like, I can't comment directly. I meant in the sense that there is a school of thought today that, if a woman doesn't look as if she just walked out of Auschwitz, she's "obese".

A lot of slender women are quite attractive and, yes, womanly, but I'm so damned tired of this nonsense that idolizes some of the stick figures in the public eye (think Jackie Kennedy if you go back that far) that are regarded as the only way a woman should look.

And, yes, I like a woman with some flesh on her bones and some curves. Not picking a fight, but, if that's sexist, then I am.

chr1 said...

Well, someone's got to say it: Women are also built to have babies.

It wasn't until I got older that I cared much at all for clothes, especially women's clothes. I just always imagined women without clothes, or with less clothes on. .

Now, I just want the women in my life to be happy...of course, they rarely are happy about clothes for all but a few brief moments, so I don't talk to them about clothes unless they ask, or I just tell them they look good and beautiful and try to give good advice.

Of course, the broader context is we're supposed to normalize women's desire to be beautiful, gays, fashion and all that because freedom and equality are just around the corner.

You aren't going to let women into all your institutions without the institutions changing.

The Crack Emcee said...

I would just like to let you know that Robin Givhan knows about as much about the reality of the fashion world as I know about nuclear physics.

And so we're back to the eternal question that bugs me to no end:

How do these people get/stay employed selling this garbage? Their ignorance is astounding. Like Bloggingheads, I know it has to be an elitist clique-thing, because there's no other explanation for it:

Men's apparel owns the language of power and authority.

See, I read that and I was like, WTF is she talking about? Did she talk to any guys about it, or is that (as I suspect) just a projection of her warped mind?

Ann, when Meade got dressed this morning, was he exhibiting, or going for, "the language of power and authority"? Or was he just getting dressed?

When you engage with these people (most of whom I've never heard of or read - except for Mickey Kaus) it reminds me of when Letterman first had Larry "Bud" Melman on the show and everybody was like "What? Where'd he find that doofus!" Except there was obviously something likable about Larry. These folks just come off as stupid and lame.

My new name for them is "the other-other elite" because, while we think of the elites as the folks in Washington and the MSM, there now exists another (internet-based) rope line, between real people and the common sense opinions we seek, and our country needs.

And the idea of Robert Wright as a bouncer to the club is, both, pathetic and hilarious.

Juba Doobai! said...

Simple solution: learn to sew. That's what I'm doing. I don't much care for how pants fit in front, so I've been sticking to the ones with a tad of spandex in them. The pants made in Mexico and Guatemala are kind of okay. The ones made in China?!?!? What the hell is wrong with you!!

The Crack Emcee said...

There is a school of thought today that, if a woman doesn't look as if she just walked out of Auschwitz, she's "obese".

That's exactly how I've been describing it myself. (Don't feel like looking for a link, but it's there.)

Back to the "women have mental problems" thing.

Trooper York said...

"Rick Lee said...
My wife used to have a lot of trouble buying clothes until she realized she made enough money to just go to Nordstrom and have a professional to bring clothes to the dressing room."

"former law student said....
More expensive men's pants come unhemmed. Could hemming/tailoring simply be a function of cost? If a woman buys a $500 outfit, would tailoring be part of the price?"

Both very astute points. If you just go into a normal department store or the mall or whatever you are thrown to the wolves. You have to figure it out for yourself. Which you can do if you have information.

What you should do is go to a high end boutique or dept store like Nordstrom or Saks to have an experianced sales person work with you to show you what works with your body. Ask questions and learn something about the fit that works for you that you can use as you shop in lower end stores.

But be polite and by something. Just sayn'

Trooper York said...

We had found that the fit on "plus" size clothing is so poor that we had to manufacture own clothing. But it is very difficult to grade (change from one size to another) in a way that will actually work. It is a painstaking process that requires many many fittings that most manufacturers do not bother with. What many of them do is rely on computer models that work about as well as the height and weight charts relate to the reality of the normal human body. You see they design a garment, grade it on the computer and ship it off to China. With the very limited quality control the factory mades ad hoc decisions that end making every shipment form China into an O Henry story.

Pants are the hardest of all to fit and grade to make the fit work.

The Crack Emcee said...

BTW - I don't have to mention that fashion is one of those areas where it helps to be black, do I?

Come on, Troop, light me up!

Trooper York said...

Come on Crack Baby. Everybody knows that you are the height of fashion man.

DADvocate said...

Ann, when Meade got dressed this morning, was he exhibiting, or going for, "the language of power and authority"? Or was he just getting dressed?

Did he ask, "Do these pants make my butt look POWERFUL?"

Trooper York said...

If Mort was awake he would show you what a fashionable black gentleman looks like when he met the blogger lady at the commenter meet up.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

but I'm so damned tired of this nonsense that idolizes some of the stick figures in the public eye (think Jackie Kennedy if you go back that far) that are regarded as the only way a woman should look.

Who's saying that that's the only way that a woman should look, though? Given the prevailence of actual obesity in our world, that's hard to swallow. All I see are stores re-labeling their plus sizes "real women"- as if anyone who wears less than a size 16 is somehow fake, comments contrast "models" with "real women" (models are real, too), campaigns about "real women" in advertising (like Dove), and people saying that plus sized women "look like women", again, implying that non-plus-sized women do not.

I don't want to start a fight, either (I generally love your comments!), I just get sick of these statements that are based on who is and isn't "womenly." (and I don't think it's sexist to be attracted to a certain type- just make allowances that other men might be attracted to something different). Rosie O'Donnel looks like a woman. Kate Moss looks like a woman, too.

Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trooper York said...

Trooper York said...
lssyalovelyredhead I don't want to fight either.

I took what you said in a prior thread to heart and will try not to diss the skinnyily callenged.
Because I respect your opinion even though you a dirty lawyer.

You have to realize that all the hate comes from your side of the scale. I would like you to try
read this and tell me what you think.

Bruce Hayden said...

I do think that women are manipulated by the clothing industry, and I think a lot more so than men are. A lot of us guys just don't care that much. Definitely not that we might be stylish.

Part of what I like about being a guy is that nothing really goes out of style. Or, at least there are plenty of things that you can buy that don't look that bad years later.

So, I found a pink polo shirt from about the time I was in college, and started wearing it. Still somewhat fit, but was a bit ragged, so, when I found an almost identical shirt at Sam's Club on final clearance this year, I bought three of them for $6 or so each. Plus 3 more whites at that insane price. And a black - but I tend to wear them under sports coats and navy over black doesn't do it for me.

I also mostly wear the same Levis that I did in high school, except 2-4 inches wider, and, no longer button fly. My younger brothers haven't put on any real weight since high school and can still wear their same pants.

Another fashion items are solid color button down oxford shirts. My mother moved us to wash and wear for college, but I have moved back to 100% cotton as I could afford to have them laundered.

And, the great thing about suits is that styles don't change that quickly, and even if they do, in flyover country, it doesn't matter that much. You don't find the weird lapels and the like there that you do in the fashion centers. I have better than a dozen dress (work) suits, and most of them still look good on me - and some are 20 years old. (I qualified on the "work" there, because I also have some dress suits for going out, such as black (also good for funerals) white (only between Memorial day and Labor day)).

Maybe the point is that we (guys) would not put up with what women do here - the varying sizes, styles, and colors.

And, a lot of women don't either. I think that maybe my intolerance for this sort of thing shows through, which is why most of the women I have been involved with over the last 40 years have been more likely to go somewhere where they can get the tailoring, or buy on-line with a company that has conservative clothes with consistent sizing.

Bruce Hayden said...

Men's apparel owns the language of power and authority.

I don't think that is necessarily true, but rather, power and authority comes easier to men, and so does dressing the part. And, years ago, if you couldn't figure it out on your own, there was always Mallory's Dress for Success.

Men are sensitive to power signals from other men, and so go through life looking at other men and gauging their power through their dress. We look at their suits, their shirts, their ties, and their shoes. At least when dressed for work. Also, to some extent, their accessories.

Part of it is exposure. I grew up around lawyers and bankers, and so naturally dress as they do (when wearing a suit and/or tie). This is how the powerful men dressed, and that is how my brothers (mostly) and I learned to dress for success.

I think with women, it is more problematic, at least so far. What does a powerful woman dress like? Certainly not how Hillary! dresses. You can't even say that they need suits - I know one extremely powerful female attorney who tends to wear dresses and not suits. At a certain level, it may be elegance that shows power. I don't know.

I can mostly articulate it when I see men, but not when I see women. I usually know it with women (I do work in a decent sized law firm that just got an award for how many women partners we have). I can most of the time grade the women in the firm from partners through paralegals to secretaries. But I can't articulate how I do it.

Trooper York said...

We dress many of the lawyers and judges who practice in the Brooklyn Courts.

None of them wear suits.

Trooper York said...

Sometimes the assitant DA and the public defender show up in the same dress.

It can make the client shit his pants.

He thinks they are in cahoots.

The Crack Emcee said...

Rosie O'Donnel looks like a woman.

Rolls eyes. Viciously. Enough I've got to sit down to regain my balance. Getting dizzy. Passing out.

Help.

The Crack Emcee said...

Troop,

I read that article (at least as much of it as I could stomach - hey, I made a funny!) and that writer is sick, sick, sick.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

Trooper said: You have to realize that all the hate comes from your side of the scale. I would like you to try
read this and tell me what you think.


Eh, I don't really think much about it at all. I haven't seen the show (although I've been meaning to check it out, as it stars my beloved Soukie from Gilmore Girls), so it's hard to say how it "treats" overweight people- are they just normal people, or is the show about them being overweight? As for the article itself, I hardly saw it as full of hate (paternalism, perhaps)- she didn't call names or make nasty insinuations about whether or not someone was a "real" member of their sex. She's right that people shouldn't look at weight loss as something impossible, as seems to be the prevailing attitude (in general- no idea about the show). And I dislike people hiding from the fact that obesity is a health issue (as are a lot of other things).

Of course, if the characters aren't concerned with weight loss, her statements to that regard would seem pretty unrelated to the show. I've seen Pallidian say something to the effect that it's fine to see it as a trade off- recognize that you're less healthy than you could be, but feel like it's better for you because you get to enjoy more food. That's a fine attitude to me (same with smoking, though better because you don't get the nasty second-hand issues; or any other health/safety issues). I would expect that a good show would be one that treated the characters as people, not "overweight" people.

As for her statements that she didn't want to watch fat people- again, meh. I don't like to see lots of things, so I don't watch them. Big deal.

Anyhow, even as mild and air-headed as that article was (and you got me to read *Marie-Claire* for god's sake!), she still apparently got huge push-back. If someone shows up and calls slim women fake, not real, not womenly, etc, how much pushback do they get (other than me)? Shows that this kind of "hate" (as you called it) is a pretty rare occurance.

Hey, I'll bet that your store needs a good dirty lawyer now and then, huh?

edutcher said...

lyssalovelyredhead said...

but I'm so damned tired of this nonsense that idolizes some of the stick figures in the public eye (think Jackie Kennedy if you go back that far) that are regarded as the only way a woman should look.

Your points are valid - and I agree pretty much, but a couple of things that you might want to consider:

Who's saying that that's the only way that a woman should look, though? Given the prevailence of actual obesity in our world, that's hard to swallow.

More people than you think. A couple of years ago, there was a young woman who was a plus size model who either won Miss England in the Miss World contest or came in second. I was astounded at the commentary about how "obese" she was (remember, this is a model we're talking about; she'll be in pretty good shape). Granted, some of this is propaganda from the NHS, but you hear such things in this country - a lot of shots were taken at Kate Winslet because of her weight and proportions.

All I see are stores re-labeling their plus sizes "real women"- as if anyone who wears less than a size 16 is somehow fake, comments contrast "models" with "real women" (models are real, too), campaigns about "real women" in advertising (like Dove), and people saying that plus sized women "look like women", again, implying that non-plus-sized women do not.

I agree some of that is feel-good marketing, but there's a lot of pressure in this society to lose weight - even if you're not that bad in terms of physical condition or looks. You're somehow not as worthy of a good-looking guy, if you see my point.

I don't want to start a fight, either (I generally love your comments!), I just get sick of these statements that are based on who is and isn't "womenly." (and I don't think it's sexist to be attracted to a certain type- just make allowances that other men might be attracted to something different). Rosie O'Donnel looks like a woman. Kate Moss looks like a woman, too.

First, thank you for the compliment. I think we've both made our point and we're pretty much in the same place. We just approach it from opposite ends of the spectrum, as it were.

lyssalovelyredhead said...

In case I wasn't clear above, I did overall think that it was a very stupid and shallow article in a stupid magazine.

Rachel said...

Robin Givhan knows about as much about the reality of the fashion world as I know about nuclear physics

About fashion history, too. Marlene Dietrich was rocking mens evening wear 80 years ago, in the movie Morocco. That's 40 years before Le Smoking and Helmut Lang.

I don't even know what her point is here.

The Crack Emcee said...

Lyssa,

If someone shows up and calls slim women fake, not real, not womenly, etc, how much pushback do they get (other than me)?

Baby, you're missing it:

We're not knocking slim women - love slim women, flat-chested women, hell women - but the cultural imperative we're being forced to live under is grating. Listen to yourself:

There's no over-weight people dying in the street.

The health concerns are wildly overrated, and that writer's attitude (that such people are gross) speaks to a mindset that's sick itself. These attitudes (including shit like insisting we're "going green") are all the same shit the Nazis were into, like this weight shit reeks of eugenics and the like. People like to insist we can't speak of the Nazis, when discussing the Democrats, but - when it comes to the disdainful attitudes that eventually led to putting certain other people in ovens - it's all there, completely unreconstructed. The only thing different now is some of the targets for their disgust.

I'll tell you a story:

About a year ago, a guy at work asked me if I'd go out with his sister. She had had both breasts removed, trying to avoid cancer, and her husband had left her. He thought I was nice guy and, since i was divorced under unusual circumstances, we might hit it off. I said sure.

All was well until one day he heard me telling a guy that, if some criminals continued to break into his house, he should buy a gun. You wouldn't believe the reaction - and I'm not making this up:

He called me a fascist to my face. He started spreading lies about me to our coworkers. He tried to get me fired. He tried to sabotage my deals, etc.

That's why I hate liberals. And he wasn't the first, or the last, to do that, in exactly that way. Liberal women are even worse.

You've got to let it go - and see it for what it is:

Brainwashing. Indoctrination. Lies.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

God, women are so whiney sometimes! I hate my sex.

Ditto. I am so glad that I don't have to work with a bunch of women anymore.

(Though I agree with Lisa that inconsistent sizing is irritating. But that's a result of the whiney women who are listening to secret voices from the clothing).

I dont' get it. Clothing is just stuff to cover your body, hopefully in a comfortable way and in a way that you feel good wearing. My clothes don't whisper to me, except maybe to say "For God's sake wash me or iron me."

(Jewelry.....well, now THAT's another story. You can't have enough jewelry)

I hate shopping for clothing and for shoes. Nothing fits and the sizes are all wacky. I generally make my dresses and jackets so they will fit my body.

If I find something that does fit or that I like, I buy a bunch at one time so I don't have to go again for awhile.

Shoes for work. Once a year I go and buy 5 pairs of the same style in different colors and throw out the old shoes. Hush Puppies 2 inch heels, basic pumps. Red, Black, Brown, Navy, Taupe. It takes me 15 minutes to shop for shoes. Same thing for bras, jeans, etc. Buy the ones that fit and get out of the store.

Now that I'm not working (retired YAY!!) I'm going to have to angst over new shoes...probably some loafers or mary jane types, tennis shoes and boots. Sigh.
The article referenced was extremely stupid. Who give a rip if this woman wants to wear a tuxedo. Wear it and shut up.

former law student said...

Bruce effectively refutes Givhan:

Men's apparel owns the language of power and authority. The clothes are in service to the man. They are tailored to him -- designed to make him look good and feel comfortable. ... Menswear aims to make men feel like they are the masters of their destiny.

But all that a woman need do is find clothes she looks good in. Men are playing a deeper game:

Men are sensitive to power signals from other men, and so go through life looking at other men and gauging their power through their dress. We look at their suits, their shirts, their ties, and their shoes.

Suddenly the provenance of the tuxedo overwhelms the fact of the tuxedo. An Isaac Mizrahi custom tuxedo may measure up -- a tuxedo from the Itawamba County J.C. Penney may not. Unbeknownst to the male master of his destiny, the other males have sized him up as inadequate.

Trooper York said...

Well lyssa thank you for your honest response.

You should check out Mike and Molly sometime. They talk about weight issues but they don't let their weight define their life. I mean there are stupid jokes but they come from a good place. It is basically a love story about two people trying to connect while dealing with family issues and all the stuff that goes with modern life. A recent episode was all about Mike's snoring which was handle like an "I Love Lucy" episode. I think you would like the show.

The important thing about the article is that it expressed the true feelings of this writer and her editor. She said the sight of fat people walking across the room was disgusting. That's what she really meant. That is what a lot of people think. Her editor saw nothing wrong with it and put it out there like it was the most normal thing in the world. That is how a lot of people feel. The pushback led to them weaseling and plea bargaining. But that is all bull shit.

They see fat people. They hate fat people.

We are not even particularly militant about this. We are all about the clothes. But the 3,000 comments these dimwitted bitches got might have eventually sunk in. But I don't think so. Hate is hate you see. Disgust is disgust. You can't change how you really feel deep inside. So now is the time for us to go to the mattresses.

You are with us or you are against us.

lucid said...

What a banal observation by Robin Givhan--aren't we long past this kind of feminist cant?

Women are much more interested in displaying their bodies and revealing and calling attention to the sexual aspects of their bodies because it is to their advantage to do so.

In a business and school setting, men are unfairly disadvantaged by this form of sexual harassment of men by women.

In other settings, the revealing clothes/bodies are great to look at. (Just don't act offended when we look.)

Penny said...

Fashion is a huge industry. Is there any good American among us who doesn't long for more success in ANY sector of business these days?

Trooper York said...

I for one am sick that we are lagging behind the Japanese in the animated porn business.

george said...

The first time I hear my clothes say ANYTHING to me is the last time I wear clothing at all. I think I speak for all men in that regard.

BTW, men are forced into suits. No one wants to wear something that impractical and uncomfortable. I always feel like a child when I have to wear one because only someone who is powerless like a child could be forced into such a thing. Suits show you have submitted to form over function and that you are essentially powerless.

Shorts on the other hand show you have the upper hand on the world. You are a free man walking barelegged and no one can confine you. The only thing more mature and powerful than shorts is going bare ass naked. The man who can do that and get away with it is truly a king amongst men.

Penny said...

Fashion is big business.

A part of me is giggling about how we now need gay role models to sell what they used to sell to heterosexual busines women....back in the day....

"Courage to be manly!" has now become "courage to be GAY and manlier!"

Ha ha

Let's call this "progress".

Penny said...

"I for one am sick that we are lagging behind the Japanese in the animated porn business."

Where...um..."Fashion" takes a back seat to what exactly?

Sorry, Trooper York. I have no personal experience with the Japanese animated porn business?

Are you saying it's a bigger niche market than tuxedos worn by women or gays?

Who would have thunk it!

Trooper York said...

You really want to claim that you do not know anything Japanese animated porn? Com'on Penny that's not what your Google records show.

Jeez don't you know everything is recorded these days because of the Patriot Act?

Penny said...

Trooper York as Axelrod?

Come closer, honey. Let me help you twirl that moustache.

William said...

I have read about the elaborate outfits that haute women wore at the French court or during Victorian times. The clothes really seemed like torture devices. Nowadays, women don't torture their bodies with their outfits; instead they torture their bodies to fit into their outfits. It is very difficult for a woman to look like a fourteen year old girl as she moves through time, but many make the effort......Men are not naturally attracted to deformed feet, scarred vaginas, or silicone lips. These are things that women have inflicted on themselves. Men do not use clothes to act out their stupidity. We have trendy, up to date weapon systems for that.

Penny said...

"Men do not use clothes to act out their stupidity. We have trendy, up to date weapon systems for that."

You do!

Although cars cost quite a bit more than a woman's seasonal wardrobe.

The Crack Emcee said...

Get a look at the feet in the 5in Louboutin heels at the bottom of this page:

Sex-y!

Quaestor said...

The Divine Professor A wrote: It is a self-limiting problem for clothes designers though because women try things on before buying them and we reject what feels or looks bad. If it looks great on the model but completely different on you, and in a bad way, you don't buy it.

Now if common sense reined there'd be no room in the pages of the Washington Post for the mindless brouhaha of the absurd Constance McMillen.

Freeman Hunt said...

Are men's suits truly the ultimate fashion expression of power and authority?

Doesn't wearing a suit generally mean that you work for someone else? (Outside of church or some other formal function.) Wouldn't the ultimate fashion expression of power and authority be whatever the boss of the suit guy wears?

The Crack Emcee said...

Freeman,

Wouldn't the ultimate fashion expression of power and authority be whatever the boss of the suit guy wears?

Of course. In my last job, that would be the Jewish Mafia look. Very casual, with sunglasses.

Freeman Hunt said...

In my last job, that would be the Jewish Mafia look. Very casual, with sunglasses.

Heh. At the last job I had, it was jeans, tennis shoes, casual shirts bought on sale by his wife, and a pair of discount glasses ordered off of the Internet. And that man did not suffer fools.