When you put yourself on the Internet, you open yourself up to all manner of feedback, some very positive and and some very negative. It is a roller-coaster, but it is expected.
What I didn’t realize is that you can be just as vulnerable by just walking down the street. I learned this a few weeks ago when someone contacted us to say I was “featured” in an article that Alyssa Shapiro wrote for Glamour, “What Your Jeans Say About You (According to Guys!)”.
The photograph they published was taken a year ago when we were in NYC for Fashion Week. We had actually featured the outfit on YLF the next day, so I’m anything but ashamed of the look. The jodhpur jeans, which I LOVE, were found by hubby Greg when we were in Milan last year. It’s extremely special when Greg picks out an item of clothing for me. As a lover of equestrian style, these jeans were a no-brainer, and they are still one of my favourite wardrobe items.
The take in Glamour is, shall we say, different. The photo is not flattering at all. Alyssa’s caption is, “Baggy jodhpur-like jeans will make him focus on your rear—but not in a good way”. And “Hans, 27″ says I’m thinking that this is “the last time I leave the house without my butt pads.”
Of course, that stings. And is made worse by the fact that none of the other captions were quite as off color or insulting. Clearly, I was the butt of the joke here!
Please don’t get me wrong: I don’t take the comment by “Hans, 27″ seriously. Alyssa and Glamour’s publisher Conde Nast are only serving up in Glamour what they think we want to see. But what does the article say about us their readers? That we want to dress according to “what guys think”? That we enjoy off color commentary on other women’s outfits? That we are numb to the impact something like this might have on the subject?
I worry about how this sentiment inhibits women from being themselves and experimenting with their style. And most of all, how it takes the fun out of fashion. Although very few people have to suffer public humiliation in a major magazine, most people who go outside the box do at some point experience a thoughtless comment that leaves a bad taste in their mouth, even when the commenter has positive intent.
Blogging for almost 6 years has thickened my skin considerably and opened my eyes to how subjective style and fashion really are. It has also given me wonderful supportive feedback that makes it easier to brush off an insult. My message to you is this: Don’t be afraid to experiment and explore with your style. Excellence is achieved by stepping outside the box. And never stop having fun with fashion. Hans, Alyssa and Conde Nast are out there, but Hans is irrelevant, Alison is just doing her job, and Conde Nast is motivated by financial gain and a cynical deconstruction of what will make you click a link or open a magazine. Feedback is important, but make sure you’re getting it from someone that matters.
So you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be wearing those jodphur jeans again at Fashion Week this September. For many reasons they make me feel fabulous, and that’s what counts.
Come to think of it, if their yardstick is attracting stereotypical guys, Glamour could have a field day with the rest of my style! With extremely short hair, an often hidden waistline, high necklines, and flat shoes — my style is not exactly what conventional wisdom tells us is alluring to the opposite sex. Good thing I’m not out there any more!
UPDATE (9/1): A Glamour PR representative contacted me to apologize and to let me know that they had removed the picture. This might be the result of YLF readers reaching out to Glamour in email, so thank you for your support. While I appreciate that Glamour responded, I also know that their action doesn’t help the other women targeted in the same article, or in other articles of this nature. I hope that Glamour joins us in having much more constructive conversations about fashion and style.