Advanced search

Regardless of colour, do you think women's clothes are designed to make women look ridiculous?

(140 Posts)
wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 09:09:51

I notice it more and more as I get older and I certainly used to wear ridiculous clothes myself when I was younger, but I don't think the same applies to menswear.
I look around on the street, on the train etc. And notice that a majority of women's body shapes do not suit the way women's clothing is designed to be tight and body hugging, stretchy, bright, cut out, cut up, decorative and ornamented. Heels, make up and dyed and teased hair add to an overall slightly comic effect. The women have to fit the clothes not the other way round. A minority of women look goodish in this get up and a minority wear t shirt and trousers and flats, as the men do.
Menswear in comparison is mostly practical shirts, trousers, jumpers, flat shoes. I started buying jumpers and socks and occasionally shirts from the menswear section a while ago. They are so much nicer.

ISaySteadyOn Thu 26-Oct-17 09:11:49

Yes, I agree. Lots of it seems to be designed to make women feel ashamed of their bodies as well. But that may just be me.

meditrina Thu 26-Oct-17 09:22:35

Clothes are designed on a 'fashion' cycle and the main aim is to sell more clothes. It's not about whether people look good or ridiculous, it about ensuring they feel a need (one that is artificially stoked) to buy new stuff frequently (ideally every season) and to revile the previous looks.

That women are disproportionately affected by this is a reflection of women being seen as decorative objects in the development world.

Manufacturers do keep trying to sell in this way to men, but apart from store aiming for a very young demographic, they didn't really make much progress. Because they're not forming the situation and can't change it to their advantage. But they can and do exploit it as far as they can to maximise sales.

LassWiTheDelicateAir Thu 26-Oct-17 12:39:49

As a woman with a waist, bust and hips I know from the days when I occasionally borrowed a white shirt or a jumper from my husband that despite having the same chest measurement his shirts were too wide at the neck, too baggy at the waist, too long in the sleeve and too narrow over my hips. They might have fitted over the chest but that was the only point.

I have to say I disagree with the whole premise of the OP . This nonsense that anything aimed at women is bad but if it is men's it is good. And us poor women are too brainwashed by the patriarchy to choose clothes we like.

There are is a vast range of clothes available. Find something that fits and you are comfortable with. It isn't that difficult. If you don't like other women's choices fine - but is there a need for this sort of whinging?

My husband complains a lot about the lack of shops selling clothes he likes. As far as he is concerned there is a small number of expensive top end shops and the rest is dull, poorly made high street rubbish.

One look which always makes me cringe is women crammed into jeans which are obviously far too tight at the waist. It looks painful. How anyone can think that is better than a well cut dress is beyond me.

poorbuthappy Thu 26-Oct-17 12:41:01

All I want is some bloody pockets I can fit stuff into.
It's like rocking horse shit.

Terrylene Thu 26-Oct-17 13:00:15

Well, last time I wore a dress was for a thing where I had to look nice and matching. I had a wrap over style (ie not wrapped over - just looks like that) dress in polyester with a polyester slip underneath to protect my modesty and nylon tights to cover the bruises. And £20 slingbacks to match.

The dress wasn't actually overly cheap (reduced from £55) but the whole combination slid upwards whilst sitting (apart from the tights that slide down) and necessitated the use of small safety pins to keep anything from accidently gaping. When I stood up, I had to remember to firmly yank it all into place.

Fortunately, it was only for a couple of hours.

I think a lot of the cheap fashion around these days relies on stretch instead of structure. It is all very well if you body is structured and the appropriate shape for the garment, but stretch is not a suitable alternative for good shape and structure in a garment for the majority of people. The trouble is, all the clothing is either cheap and unstructured and sleeveless and business make money on it. If you try to find something properly made in a decent fabric, the expertise and profits are not as easy to obtain, so they cost a lot, lot more.

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 26-Oct-17 16:16:38

I was driving in torrential rain the other day and watching people. The women had trousers dragging in the puddles, small jackets that didn't cover them up, ruined hair from the rain, heels that were hell in the puddles, carrying things because less pockets, skirts that made it difficult to run to shelter.

Men; short hair which is fine in the rain, big coats and practical clothes that were great to run to shelter in.

Doobigetta Thu 26-Oct-17 16:18:59

Fashion for men tends to be pretty ridiculous as well- skinny jeans don't look good on any of them, and neither do trousers hanging off their arses and showing their pants. The difference is that only the youngest and most foolish men go along with it- the rest wear the same things with minute variations in cut and colour year after year.

geekaMaxima Thu 26-Oct-17 17:43:13

It's exacerbated at the cheap end. Cheap, poorly-made clothing is all a lot of people can afford, and it tends to use a lot stretchy and flimsy fabrics, squarely cut, with flimsy fastenings. The problem is that for women, it tends to be uncomfortable and impractical (can't deal with variation in the bust, waist and hip ratios), whereas for men it's still passable (less variation in the chest to waist ratio, hips don't come into it).

Go upmarket, and you'll be able to find properly-cut clothing in more durable fabrics that can deal with all the above. For some body shapes, you gave to spend a lot of money to find something that fits right.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Thu 26-Oct-17 18:04:56


Stuff thats too short...whyyyyyy

SomeDyke Thu 26-Oct-17 18:07:38

As a butch dyke, so someone who doesn't wear a whole load of this nonsense, and never has, I give you:

High heels (well, womens shoes in general and stuff like ugg boots which are bad for your feet. Ditto many other styles of womens shoes that are bad for your feet.)
Tights. Stockings and assorted flummery.
Womens shoes in general -- given that when I was a teenager, even the 'sensible' girls shoes didn't fit my feet, so I finally went to the mens rack. I mean, shoes okay, surely, are thing that should be designed to be walked in -- not a 10 mile hike across ploughed fields perhaps, but at least ordinary everyday walking to and from bus stops, whilst at work etc. Yet there are even special cushions and add-ons women can get to try and make the ridiculous shoes more comfortable, rather than designing them for usability in the first place. Unless you are a male french aristocrat, or used to wear winkle-pickers, the whole footwear you can't walk in phenomenon seems to have passed men by.
Tights and socks are just then a sub-problem of the whole footwear issue!
And I haven't even got past the ankles yet..............Add in the trousers dragging in the wet, shoes that don't keep the wet out etc etc, and seems I never will.

Feet are a feminist issue, where can I find a good rad-fem chiropodist??????????

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:11:01

Terry oh yes that's exactly it! Certainly it's about cheap fashion primarily though that isn't to say you can't spend a lot of money and look ridiculous

Also everyone who said pockets, oh yes pockets, my god when will women's clothing get proper pockets?

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:12:43

While I'm on the subject did anyone read Chinamanda Adichie on designing her own clothes and getting them made in Nigeria? Now there's a good example of someone looking stylish. I don't think I've got time to design my own stuff though

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:17:18

Some Dyke, your post made me lol! Excellent user name btw. I am always in comfortable shoes these days. But not Uggs. Someone once offered me a free pair and I turned them down. I'd rather set my hair on fire than wear uggs.

RebelFreddyVSRogueJason Thu 26-Oct-17 18:33:03

Pockets!! Yes to pockets!!

I can get over my excitement of ordering one maxi dress and discovering it had (big) pockets!! It was like Christmas day.
Also when a tshirt dress arrived and again not only the pockets weren’t just for show,they were a decent size as well.

As for style I have none,which is probably why I easily find (cheap) clothes. I probably look awful but I feel comfy and confident(because I really like them) in them, so that’s good enough for me.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:33:05

Mrs Terry Pratchet I also saw someone this morning in the rain when I was walking to work. After I started this thread. A couple in their 50s walking their dog. Man in dark green wellies, black thick fabric trousers, light grey waterproof jacket. Woman in baby pink wellies with flowers on, light yellow thin canvas trousers. Soaked through at the knees. Showerproof fashion jacket, a sort of imitation of the outdoor gear the man was wearing, too short to cover her hips, pink/purple colour.

The thing is, she could have bought something more practical but I think there is pressure even in your fifties to buy clothes that are feminine, even when that's not appropriate. Like women look ugly if they are sensibly dresses whereas I think it's the other way round.
I'm not kidding when I say that lately even very attractive young women wearing loads of make up and decorative clothing seem really weird looking to me. If I get talking to someone dressed like that I can't stop noticing the whole performance. I wonder if it's partly my age because I have better things to do with my time these days, so I'm used to the way I look. Natural. Comfortable. Not scruffy. Sometimes groomed but never done up. But I also wonder if it's the whole gendered culture thing, within which trans women have changed the conversation about maintaining a feminine surface. I think the emergence of trans ideology has made me more sensitive to how performative gender is and how artificial.

Gingernaut Thu 26-Oct-17 18:44:03

I'm with SomeDyke. Although I'm not a lesbian. blush

Wide, fat, flat, little feet and an increasing shopping list of things wrong with them, I live in trainers.

Socks which keep falling down, clothes without pockets, thinner, less practical coats with hoods that don't stay on in the wind, tops with gaping necklines that require nude coloured underwear and useless, stupid handbags.

I say we vote SomeDyke to be head of M&S Clothing division! grin

I go to Shuropody, btw. blush

DelphiniumBlue Thu 26-Oct-17 18:48:16

"Feet are a feminist issue, where can I find a good rad-fem chiropodist??????????"

Absolutely, I couldn't agree more!
I spend so much time trying to find flat shoes with decent soles and of an adequate width, but which are also reasonably presentable. And trying to find any that work with a dress is nigh impossible.
I've had massive arguments with people about this, my POV is that it is the pressure from society to look "sexy" which pushes women into wearing high/pointy/.thin shoes. I don't think women would want to wear uncomfortable shoes were it not for the expectation that they are somehow "less" if they don't conform to the stereotype of a successful, sexy woman. If you watch a programme like " The Apprentice" you'll see that it is assumed that business dress includes high court shoes, which are just so impractical.
There was a recent case where a woman fought a company's diktat that she should wear heels and tights as part of business attire - can't recall the detail, but it was the first time I have seen this debated.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:50:20

I second that! Some Dyke for president of M&S clothing and Timpsons shoes. (Is that still a thing?)

Gingernaut Thu 26-Oct-17 18:51:28

Stead & Simpson?

Timpson do shoe repairs, key cutting, door signs and watch straps.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:54:58

Yes Delphinium, a business look is high heels. Are they seen as smart? Luckily I don't work in that kind of business.
I used to love striding about in heels. I feel like I'm in drag now.

I do think the answer to most foot problems is Doctor Marten or Birkenstock though grin

Mxyzptlk Thu 26-Oct-17 18:56:04

I feel the same about women in makeup, especially young women who are gorgeous anyway.

Remember the "daring" makeup-free pictures a little while ago? I thought most of the people (women) looked much better without the makeup.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:56:13

Ah thank you ginger yes I meant Stead and Simpson. I've had a long day confused

geekaMaxima Thu 26-Oct-17 18:56:40

Women's shoes are generally awful. Hate them. I refuse point blank to wear any sort of heels, both because I'm not fond of foot torture and because I'm uncomfortable with their sexualised associations in a professional or social setting.

It's not an issue for me at work, thankfully, but weddings are more difficult. It seems to be seen as socially odd or unacceptable to wear flats with a dress to a wedding confusedsad

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Thu 26-Oct-17 18:59:24

Yes Mx those pictures were so strange. How is it daring to go to ithout make up? I think we just get used to the look of ourselves in it. But to others, they see the make up before they see the face.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: