Fashion, Lookbook

Why do we let men dictate what we wear?

Let's be real, sometimes men simply don't "get" our fashion choices

Society has always given me mixed signals about the “ideal” fashion choices that I should be making:

“You have to look put-together but not too serious,” or “be tempting without being tacky.”

The truth of the matter is that these “guidelines” are very difficult to interpret, especially when we also want to look good for the opposite sex. But how do we even know what men think of our clothing?

That’s one hard question.

From personal research (aka asking some of my guy friends and male cousins), I’ve come to some conclusions. However, it is difficult to make generalizations, because tastes vary depending on culture and personal preference. From what I could gather, guys don’t like overtly “masculine” clothing on women (at least Latinos in my experience). Case in point: a button-down shirt is fine as long as it doesn’t look too much like a man’s shirt and is paired with the right jeans and shoes. This might mean trying to avoid looking too much like Ellen DeGeneres.

[bctt tweet=” But how do we even know what men think of our clothing?” username=”wearethetempest”]

Sometimes, however, men simply don’t “get” fashion. What might be cute in the eyes of other women is not in their eyes.

For example, one fashion trend that my guy friends have complained about are the “medieval-looking” shirts. For some reason they don’t like baggy long sleeves, ruffles, or turtlenecks. I still think some of them are cute…

Honestly, it’s funny how guys talk about what we wear.

The funniest comment I got was when a friend was talking about “aggressive-looking heels.” By that he means heels that could be weapons. Something like this:

I personally felt insulted. How could anyone insult Louboutins?!

Another common comment that I’ve gotten is the “outdated long skirt.” Like I said, sometimes men simply don’t “get” fashion, and although some maxi skirts are beautiful in my opinion, in their eyes, apparently they’re not.

[bctt tweet=”In saying that I can’t wear these things that I love, you’re telling me that I should change for you to like me.” username=”wearethetempest”]

However, as expected, opinions didn’t always seem to be as clear-cut. While some of my guy friends said they liked when women didn’t wear a bra, others were abashed by the idea. Other things like Uggs or big earrings seemed to be a no-no to many of my guy friends.

But I love big earrings, though…

As stated before, it all varies depending on culture and other factors, but one thing I know for sure is that it’s really hard to please men when it comes to our clothing. From personal experience, I can say that I usually get compliments from men whenever I’m wearing something that’s flattering to my figure. But then again, there’s always the risk of looking “too sexy” or “too tacky.”

A dress can be “too long”, “too short”, or “too vulgar”, but honestly, I think it’s time to stop caring about what everyone thinks about our fashion choices. What might be the right dress in your opinion could possibly be the wrong dress in theirs, and honestly, ain’t nobody got time for complications like that.

I very rarely hear men being insecure about what they’re wearing. It’s getting more and more common, but it never gets to the degree of judgment that us women face every day on the streets, at the club, and in the workplace. Wherever we go, we are constantly thinking about what “men will think” – and I’m starting to realize that this thought process is incredibly oppressive.

[bctt tweet=”I very rarely hear men being insecure about what they’re wearing. ” username=”wearethetempest”]

Let me explain.

I like to think of clothing as the way in which we present our bodies to the outside world – after all, it’s what we wrap our bodies in. If we obsess about how men perceive our wardrobe choices, it’s as if we were obsessing with the way in which they perceive our bodies through our clothing. It might sound like a weird analogy, but dressing for men, means that we are letting ourselves become pleasing objects to their eyes. And nothing more than that.

What I’m about to say might sound like a cliché, but I genuinely think that the man who falls in love with me must love me for more than my fashion choices. If what I’m wearing is a “deal-breaker,” then I shouldn’t even waste my time talking to a man who wants to reduce me to a body or a piece of fabric.

If we want to be viewed by men as something more than a simple object for sexual pleasure and performer of housekeeping tasks, then we shouldn’t be dressing for them because we will inevitably become objectified. And honestly, I think it’s incredibly oppressive for us women to have to please them in any way; specially if it means that I can’t wear “aggressive” earrings or heels. It is not only absurd, but ridiculous.

In saying that I can’t wear these things that I love, you’re telling me that I should change for you to like me. That I should become someone I’m not because you want me to. If this isn’t oppression and censoring of one’s desire for true expression, then I don’t know what is.

  • Maria Garcia-Arrázola

    Maria García-Arrázola was born in Colombia—which explains her love for coffee—where she lived for most of her life. Her desire to explore the globe and her passion for words and film, drove her to begin her undergraduate studies at Emerson College in Boston, MA.