Gender Feature Story 1: The Shoes Review

In writing my other Gender post, I was reminded of the day I was on the Payless Shoes Website and saw a very cool review because it was a self described “gentleman” wearing “ladies shoes.” I then went back to the website just now and hunted down the review to quote it here. I posted it on something when I first saw it a year ago. It bears reposting just because it’s so great how gender and gender identity are not some side topic but are part of everywhere. I proposed my Gender Identity Altered Books Workshop and the person in charge said it may be too specific a population to do a workshop on, so I explained that it is extremely relevant to every clinician and ubiquitous and in fact everyone needs to be trained in gender identity sensitivity.

Anyway here is the review in all its glory. Thank you to this person who bravely put himself out there! And FYI, while they should be “unisex”, they are Mary Janes and look like non fancy practical shoes but have that element that makes you think of little kids (female) shoes.

“I just received my “Geanette” Mary Jane shoes today and have been wearing them most of the day. I could not be more pleased with them. My new “Mary Janes” are very comfortable and nice looking. I am a gentleman who enjoys wearing women`s shoes exclusively and find these to be very suitable for around the house or street wear. This shoe would be excellent for women as well as men, as it is a true “unisex” shoe. I am a red-blooded male and have already received a few compliments on this attractive looking shoe. I heartily recommend these well made nice looking shoes for anyone. I think I`ll order another pair just in case they are discontinued.”

Here are the shoes if you’re curious or want a pair, whatever your gender!


Writing 101: Day 8: Expand a comment

I’m catching up on my assignments for Writing 101. It’s Day 15 but I’m on Day 8!

So I found one of my comments as a reply to someone. The idea is to take a comment you made on your blog or wherever and write more about it.

Here’s the comment:  “Fashion is my big love after art and art therapy!!!” The context was a photo I posted of an outfit and someone’s comment about it, so I thanked them and said that the above comment. I will keep it brief to continue the one sentence or a few thing, but not one sentence, maybe 4-7 sentences…

Fashion is my big love after art and art therapy. I did not think about drawing and painting or even like doing it until I was about 19 or 20 and “accidentally” took a drawing class. I remember loving fashion and clothing even as a kid. The only thing I remember drawing was dresses when I was probably 6 or 7. I remember liking to draw puffed sleeves and not wanting to draw arms. I really got into fashion and clothing around 8th grade and throughout high school and it just continued throughout my adult life. I was a big fan of Betsey Johnson back then in the 80’s and loved her “punk” label. I had to wear a uniform in high school, and this definitely put a damper on my love for purple and any color that wasn’t allowed. We were supposed to wear white, black, yellow, green or blue with the uniform, and I wanted to wear purple, red, pink and orange. Anyway, fashion was always fun and exciting for me as a teenager. I loved going to the East Village back then when it was the East Village! I even designed my high school graduation “gown”.

Now as an adult, I am an avid watcher of Project Runway and have seen every episode since the beginning. It is one of my top favorite TV shows, and I don’t like “Reality TV”! Ok. That was a lot longer than a few sentences, and I could expand on this post more, but this is it for now. If I was good at sewing and precision, I would be a fashion designer! In another life!

Addendum, and I forgot about the “Poodle Skirt”!

Wow! I am adding this post to follow the last, so skip it if you’re looking for anything serious! In order to get offended pretty quickly, all I had to do was go to the Victorias Secret website. A minefield of horrible terms for clothing.

I must be living under a rock, as I was super shocked to see that there is a new category of underwear called “cheekies” and “cheekinies”, referring to showing some of your “cheeks” while still wearing underwear. No further comments necessary. What would be a neutral term for such undergarments???

I was also reminded of something I find very silly but sort of true now that it is hard to tell the difference between pygamas and clothing. “Loungewear” is a term that has been around for a while now, and I sort of like it as it seems to refer to a verb, lounging, which doesn’t seem to refer to one gender in particular although I doubt there is loungewear in men’s clothing. The weird thing is that the word Lounge also refers to a place you have to leave your home to go to. I think it is called a Lounge as a way to refer to going out somewhere yet when you get there at the “lounge”, you kind of are supposed to feel like you are home in your living room but listening to good music and the lighting is better. So it’s kind of funny that lounge wear these days is really just the same as sleep wear in separates. I am a fan of casual clothing that can be almost worn to some jobs and at least out to brunch without people looking at you wondering why you forgot to get dressed.

Looking at the dresses, most seem to be described based on the way they look, if you skip the “boyfriend” shirt dress, which could easily just be called a shirt dress as it is a shirt that is long thus able to be worn as a dress.

I just saw the term “knife pleat” for the first time, not sure where this originates but I guess it means the pleats are nice and sharp. Come to think of it, I have no idea where the word “pleat” comes from…

Here are all the different kinds of pleats described:
box pleat (a flat double pleat made by folding under the fabric on either side of it)
inverted pleat (a box pleat reversed so that the fullness is turned inward)
kick pleat (pleat in back of a straight skirt to allow ease in walking)
knife pleat (a single pleat turned in one direction)
tuck (a narrow flattened pleat or fold that is stitched in place)

It’s middle English from the 15th Century. Not sure if it started as being a type of folding or something else… I can’t find anything about this.

Just came across a juicy description of the term “poodle skirt”, definitely not totally a descriptive term though it does seem to be quite concretely connected to the image of the dog:
The poodle skirt was a full skirt worn in the 1950s it had a poodle embroidered at the bottom of the skirt and a lead from the dog to the waist of the skirt. The idea was as you walked you looked like you were walking a poodle. As viewed from a distance.

I like poodles and had one, so I can’t really be too offended by this although it seems more like it wants to make the woman look somehow blown up the way poodles get when their owners make them look poofy and ridiculous…SIgh…

Another Post on Fashion: The “Boyfriend” Style

For the folks out there who read my blog for the art therapy and psychology posts, I am sorry to venture into an area that has not much to do with either, fashion and the terms used to describe clothing, but I am fascinated by this topic; it’s my love of language, that surfaced early on when I was the only one in English class who loved dividing up sentences and naming parts of speech. We used to have “grammar” as a separate part of English class, probably not the case now…

So, here we go venturing into fashion meets psychology/language/sociology. I don’t claim to be an expert on any of this. That’s what I love about blogging. You can reference people who know more about it, and just start up a conversation without having to be an expert!

It is now ubiquitous; just look at Old Navy and Gap and Victorias Secret websites and catalogues. There are “boyfriend” jeans which are a certain shape and style, just like “skinny” jeans, which were mentioned in my last post on this topic, as well as “bell bottoms”, “high waisted” jeans and various other kinds. I first saw this term in a Victorias Secret catalogue, a few years ago, in reference to a “boyfriend” sweater. I assumed it meant a sweater that is supposed to look like the wearer of it is wearing her presumptive boyfriend’s sweater. A lot of assumptions here, that a slouchy sort of too big sweater is akin to a man’s sweater for a woman, who must have a boyfriend or remember putting on her larger boyfriend’s clothing. Of course many women don’t have boyfriends, some have girlfriends, some have neither, some have non gendered lovers, etc. And of course many women who call their partner or dating casually person their “boyfriend” are the same size or larger than this “boyfriend”. Somehow seeing this term on clothing just never gets old in terms of how insulting it feels. And of course, I may be wrong about the origins of this term. I was way off with the “baby doll” reference!

So when did this emerge as a classification of not just sweaters, but jeans and I guess other things like shirts and jackets? The “Wise Geek” blog tries to describe this basically as a tradition of women wearing menswear, either raided from a “boyfriend”, “brother” or even dad’s closet:
So this seemed to come up in the 80’s. I’m not sure what leggings have to do with it except I guess the big oversized boyfriend sweater or top was popularly paired with tight “leggings”. Now there are even “jeggings”, a term I am quite fond of just because of its sound, and it does not seem to be connected to anything besides leggings which are just described using the word leg, so not bad, considering they could have been called “skinny tights” or something else…

Anyway back to the “boyfriend” cut. Sorry I had to resort to Wikipedia for the more detailed description, as well as celebrity references and possible beginning of the popularity of the garment. They cite Katie Holmes wearing Tom Cruise’s clothing, which is really ironic, considering that most people did not believe Katie and Tom were really boyfriend and girlfriend anyway. I will refrain from speculations about their relationship.

Wikipedia: “In fashion design, primarily in ready-to-wear lines, boyfriend is any style of women’s clothing that was modified from a corresponding men’s garment. Examples include boyfriend jackets, boyfriend jeans, and boyfriend blazers, which are often more unisex or looser in appearance and fit than most women’s jackets or trousers, though still designed for the female form.

The origin of boyfriend fashion is literally borrowing and wearing a boyfriend’s clothes—his distressed jeans, his band tees, his dress shirts, his blazers, his cardigan. The trend expanded in 2009 when actress Katie Holmes was spotted in public wearing Tom Cruise’s slouchy jeans after a Broadway rehearsal; other celebrities such as Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Bilson, Sarah Jessica Parker, and others began to follow the trend. From there, many brands such as Gap, Forever 21, and H&M began to create boyfriend fashion products or men’s-inspired fashion.”

Here are some live examples of boyfriend jeans from Forever 21:,Ny:True,Ro:0,Up:regular&dsDimensionSearch=D:boyfriend+jeans,Dxm:AllPartial,Dxp:3&dsCompoundDimensionSearch=D:boyfriend+jeans,Dxm:AllPartial,Dxp:3&br=f21&keyword=boyfriend+jeans&fromsearch=true

Here is an example of a “boyfriend sweater” from Victoria’s Secret:
It seems like it must be hard to size these as they are meant to be “oversized” and in fact, some stores prefer the term “Oversized”, which is at least descriptive and neutral, like “baggy”. I remember when “baggy” jeans were a big deal, must have been in the 80’s as nobody seems to be into them anymore!

What other offensive terms are there out there to describe women’s garments? Please let me know about any you have found. I think the word “bikini” while not offensive, has an interesting history. The other term, “two piece” is not used as much as people seem to find the word “bikini” to be sexier. This season there is a “monokini” out there, which seems like the thong version of a one piece, that is, a one piece bathing suit that someone took and cut out the sides but kept the whole thing from turning into two pieces. It seems like a strange kind of bathing suit as people like one pieces for the very reason that there is fabric covering the sides and middle of the body. I don’t see the appeal even on the tall skinny models it looks kind of cheap and really as though the person wanted to try out the idea of “cut outs” on their one piece bathing suit. Jeans with lots of holes and rips sold in stores make more fashion sense than the “monokini”…