On the Topic of Man-Repelling


‘Man-repelling’ has been thrown around the internet for quite some time now. First there was Leandra Medine with her brilliantly written and witty site who invented the concept, featuring her outfits and thoughts on fashion which I’ve held in insanely high regard since I first started reading all of those years ago. It was always tongue-in-cheek, less so much about actual men and more about wearing the clothes you want to wear which I adored (and still do love) Leandra for.

And that’s what I want to talk about today. The concept of men and how they relate to us (unless you’re a man reading this, hello) as women and what we wear. This particular article on the topic of ‘man-repelling’ popped up on this website recently and, while it started nicely, as Kellie says in her article, it takes a very strong nose-dive into the realms of severe eye-rolling and sighs.

It addresses, as the author states, the topic of ‘walking the tightrope between clothes our girlfriends will admire and the ones men appreciate’, a phrase which made my blood boil instantly, along with others such as ‘we’re pretty confident of how far we can push it before he ends with his head in his hands’ and ‘It is common knowledge among women what will and won’t fly with the average bloke’. So, my question back is why do we care?

Before I get into this, I want to state that I have absolutely no issue with women who dress to solely appeal to men if that’s what they desire. It’s nice to feel sexy and it’s nice to get compliments. If it makes you feel confident and it’s what you want to do, then by all means go ahead. But, for the rest of us who choose not to do this, I think it’s pretty damn depressing that, in this day and age, people assume all women get dressed with the first and foremost intent to attract the interest of the opposite sex.

Talking from my own personal experience, attracting a guy is possibly the last thing on my list when it comes to buying clothes or selecting an outfit from my wardrobe. This isn’t because I’m in a reasonably long-term relationship or I hold my physical appearance in a lower regard, either, I just hold my personal worth to be higher than the clothes I pick. For example, my boyfriend hates the following items: wedges, flared jeans and anything wide leg. Yet, these items are among some of my favourite pieces in my wardrobe and I will not now, or ever, stop wearing them because he isn’t fussed and he is very aware of this.

Even before being in a relationship, I’ve always had this stance. It just seems utterly ridiculous to go about your life trying to appeal to people who have such little respect for you that they judge you entirely by your awkward length trousers. And that’s what it boils down to, doesn’t it? Respect. Sure, we all judge people, it’s human nature, but to have items of clothing fall under the topic of ‘man-repelling’ in the sense of failing to attract a man is, to me, a huge lack of respect for women and their choices. To me, the attitude in that article comes down to women having one function; being sexual objects, something to look at, to appeal to men and nothing more.

Now, I have no issue with the term itself, when it’s intended in the original way it was stated, but to imply that dressing in the clothes you want to wear is something to feel guilty about is not only a step backwards for women, but it’s absolutely absurd.

I, for one, will dress how I want. I’ll wear clothes that make me happy, ones I can discuss with friends and show on this blog with pride. I’ll get ready knowing that I am dressing for me, for my confidence and I will gladly wear anything that men find ‘challenging’ (which apparently includes loafers). I understand that men may not ‘get’ the clothes that some women choose to wear, but it’s not our responsibility to educate them nor rationalise our choices in relation to our worthiness or attractiveness in their eyes.

So, unless you’re happy to wear clothes for guys, I implore you put on your most ‘man-repelling’ clothes on the basis that they make you feel good. Buy all of the culottes, the menswear shoes, the trendy unusual clothes and ‘repel’ as many judgemental men as you possibly can. You don’t need their approval and you certainly don’t need articles telling you that you do.

What do you think of this topic? Please do let me know in the comments.

Helen x