An editor I once worked for used to say there are 2 kinds of women -- those who dress for men and those who dress for other women. The idea being that FASHION fashion, the stuff that will get another girl cooing over your outfit (fashion people coo and purr only), is confusing to your typical fashion-clueless guy. The Man Repeller has turned this concept into an empire.
I actually think vintage style can be a bit of a crossover dealie -- women like it, but a lot of men like the pinup-y stuff as well, although more than one guy has told me something I'm wearing makes me look like "his grandmother."
But even though my fiance is sometimes horrified when I pull a big clump of fake-ass hair out of my head, he sometimes really likes my style. And I'm not talking about stuff he likes because it shows a fraction exceeding half of my tits or cradles my underbutt just right.
He calls everything I wear "fancy," smart," or "luxurious," and I have never fully grasped the subtle differences between the 3, although I have tried to get him to define his terms. When he went out of his way to comment on the above dress this morning ("fancy," in case you're wondering), it made me feel soooo good! Like making your parents laugh when you're a kid.
Don't get me wrong: I don't want a guy to compliment me on my clothes and know what he's talking about. I once dated a guy who was involved in fashion and he would send me links to these very out-of-context dresses he wanted to buy for me and the whole thing nearly gave me an identity crisis. But WHY do you see mesh cut-outs when you look at me? And why do you think I'm a size 6?
I like fashion compliments from dudes whose understanding of women's clothing just scrapes basic. When a guy like that tells you he likes something you're wearing, he means he just likes it -- feels drawn to it, feels happy when he sees it. It's so pure, like a baby's laughter.
And since my clothes, especially the out-of-the-ordinary ones, are such an expression of my personality, something about that kind of compliment make me feel really seen, understood and validated. Plus the comments are often hilarious. I asked around the office and on Twitter to see if people knew what I was talking about.
Alison: Over the weekend my dude told me I "LOOKED LIKE A LADY WRESTLER" in my outfit. He spent the next 4 hours trying to talk his way out of it. I was wearing leggings, otherwise that was the only similarity between Chyna and myself.
Marianne: Ed once told me I looked like a kindergarten classroom. He seemed to mean that in a good way. It was a very colorful outfit.
@ToryFrostWrites: My boyfriend once told me I looked like Inspector Gadget in a trenchcoat. But he was right.
@SiobhanGK: Whenever I get dressed up, my hubs tells me I look "festive." He has assured me this is a compliment. FESTIVEWTF.
@TheJenniferHall I like those shoes. They make you look like a tortured chinese girl.
@juliebuganne: I once had a man tell me repeatedly he liked my new "hand purse." He meant wallet.
@tinilatini my high school boyfriend told me my highlights made my hair look like cotton candy. oddly enough, that was NOT my intention.
Jackie: My ex, who to be fair I regularly accused of dressing "like a giant 6th grader," once complimented my outfit for a wedding by saying I had "renaissance fair tits."
Julieanne: My ex-boyfriend would become irrationally excited when I wore anything form-fitting, because I felt very bad about my body "at the time." He once picked up a T-shirt of mine and said, "You're so pretty when you don't dress like Hurley from 'Lost.' "
@DaniGraph I had skinny purple jeans which every time I wore, husband would refer to me as the joker or joker pants. mum now has them
@ashlie_odayme: OMG WHERE IS MY CARDIGAN?! Someone STOLE it! Where IS it? bf: WAIT waiiit calm down...(deep breath) what's a cardigan?
@saribotton 1st husband night before wedding: "you have everything - your dress, your shoes, your socks?" SOCKS. Wedding socks.
@stefinmotion "Is that a skort?" (While unaware what a skort even is. It wasn't a skort, obviously.)
Corynne: This more like man advice because my hubs is pretty fashionable but once I saw a SUPER cute girl walking in Fort Greene and she had skinny jeans and over the knee boots and a cute collared button down with a white knit sweater over ... very preppy and kind of boyish style which I like. I was like: "See, I love that girl's style. I want to look just like her" and I guess he thought I was talking about her hair (which was blond and in a bun ) because he responded, "Have you tried conditioner?" HUH?
@edotwoods On platforms: You know, the shoes with the heel under the toe too?
meagan"your dress is cute today, babe." (I was wearing a skirt.) (This has happened multiple times.)
Boys never know the difference between a dress and a skirt! It's the funniest thing. Yet once I said I was feeling insecure about buying a bathing suit and he suggested I get a nice "tankini," so who knows? LOVE YOU DUDES.