The NY Times recently published a piece about “Modest Dressing as a Virtue” in their style section. While I was initially excited to read about loose fitting clothes (my new love is getting national recognition!), it’s pretty tone deaf. Because I’m not cocooning myself in layers of fabric because I think it’s virtuous or satisfies some [historically male] definition of morality; I’m doing it because it’s comfortable and IDGAF.
Thankfully, Stephanie Madewell over at Even Cleveland published an eloquent take on it that’s more true for me–and I think a lot of women embracing baggy jumpsuits and giant jackets:
I think the answer is simpler: some women are dressing this way because they like it and it makes them feel good. In the [NY Times] piece, [author Naomi] Fry claims, “You have to be a pretty stylish, pretty good-looking woman to claim ownership of such radical dowdiness.” Well, no. Like the fairies in Peter Pan, these things are only real as long as you choose to believe in them. As a short, not thin, not wealthy, average-looking woman with prematurely graying hair well past dewy youth living far from a global fashion center, I happily wear clothes like these. I love the fact that so many are designed by women, and I don’t care whether anyone else in my daily orbit thinks I look dowdy because I feel like myself.
…at the revolution of radical dowdiness, as we all mill about in our high-necked tent dresses, button-down jumpsuits, and many-pocketed denim work jackets, we should firmly fold and put away the shabby thinking that ties any notion of female empowerment to a specific set of choices. The power lies in having the choice, not in choosing a particular outcome. The work lies in expanding and accepting the choices, not in dictating them, even when they involve a simple dress.