Fashion Forward and Uncomfortable

Models walk the runway

Models walk the runway during the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018.
By Kristy Sparow/Getty Images.

Things seem to really be looking up for women! Time’s up, #metoo, me three, equal pay? Not yet?

O.K., it’s fine. We’re still making progress. But there’s a long way to go, as evidenced by just about everything—but especially the trends on display at the men’s and women’s Fashion Weeks last month. I don’t know if anyone would consider fashion to be a critical factor on the road to gender equality, but I’m going to make the case for it—because I really don’t want to wear a corset over my T-shirt, despite it currently being in style for women. I’m slightly confused as to how the corset was considered un-feminist when it was under clothes, but now that it’s exposed it’s suddenly liberating.

Back to Fashion Week, where all the men’s trends had two things in common, comfort and warmth, while women’s Fashion Week was all about the opposite. This pattern has been evident throughout time, especially on the red carpet. Women wear one layer—a delicate dress made with material so thin it’s almost see-through, or issee-through—whereas men’s fashion accounts for eight layers. Yes, a shirt and suit jacket may just look like two. But the thickness of a man’s shirt is equal to three red carpet dresses, and the jacket is equal to five. It’s a lot of math for me, too, but the sum is: we’re cold.

The best example from Fashion Week to support this theory would be the new fleece trend for men, juxtaposed with this sexy veil trend displayed at women’s Fashion Week. This look can be considered fashion, but it cannot be considered clothing. There has to be a think piece out there analyzing why women’s fashion always makes you feel freezing. Never mind, there’s definitely not, because I realized the piece would only be a sentence: the less clothes you wear, the more of the bODdaAyYy you see. At the very least, maybe we can raise the average temperature at the office, since keeping it at a cool 65 degrees is starting to feel like inherent sexism.

Left, by Estrop/Getty Images; right, by JP Yim/Getty Images.

Another new, cozy trend seen all over the men’s runway is padded jackets. The padded jacket is literally the sleeping bag of jackets. “Padded” is a word that I could only dream of being associated with women’s fashion. The closest thing we have is an actual pad that’s secretly stuffed in our underwear. Speaking of underwear . . . actually, I’m not even going to get started on the difference between men and women’s undergarments. Let’s just say we’re stuck with the red carpet dress of underwear.

While fashion-forward men brace for spring in fleece and parkas, women also get to be part of a really exciting time in fashion where plastic is now all the rage. I can think of only one material that is more uncomfortable to wear than plastic, and that’s sequins which, of course, is also one of the biggest trends for 2018. Do men know what sequins feel like against the naked body? No, they don’t. A majority of men would never wear sequins because, as far as I’m concerned, he would look dumb in them. So why don’t sequins look dumb on women, too? Only when sequins look stupid on a man AND a woman can we start to break down these walls.

Left, by Victor Virgile/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images; right, by Patrick Kovarik/AFP/Getty Images.

You know when you’re lying on a pillow and you think to yourself, “Ugh, why is this so itchy?” or “Why am I sneezing?,” and then you realize it’s because the pillow is filled with feathers? You can now have that feeling all the time because feathers are in! Everything from feather trimmings to full-on looks made just out of feathers is hot. So take a Claritin and hit the town!

It doesn’t really matter what shoe trends are in for men—they’re going to be some form of a comfortable flat. Fortunately for women, we’ve come one tiny step closer to the flat; kitten heels are back in style. The kitten heel is a perfect metaphor for the current state of gender equality. It’s not a full heel which, in this metaphor, stands for complete inequality, but it’s also not quite a flat. It’s almost a flat. Because we’re almost equal, but not yet.

By Edward Berthelot/Getty Images.

Strappy shoes are also in for women. Strappy shoes aren’t a full shoe, because they are hanging on to your foot by a strap. The strappy shoe is literally latching on for dear life. A shoe has one job: to stay on the foot. Is is too much to ask for a shoe that works?

Your response after reading this is probably something along the lines of, “So don’t give in to fashion trends then . . . ” I know I don’t have to wear these things, but I want to look cool and fashionable, too! Unfortunately it’s still impractical—nay, impossible—for women to look stylish without being uncomfortable or chilly, while for men it’s as easy as stumbling into looking trendy by wearing an old North Face jacket from college over a matching sweat suit. The pressure on women to keep up with fashion and current style seems so much greater than it is for men that many of us go along with whatever ridiculousness the runway sends our way. It just may be something we want to take into account while we continue to dismantle the patriarchy. I bet it might even be easier to do while wearing flats and a parka.

[“Source-vanityfair”]