Posts Tagged So Wrong

High Collars

I’ve spent a couple of weeks now categorizing my posts as So Right, as in those style choices that attract men. Now it’s time to introduce what’s So Wrong, a rundown of things that men don’t seem to appreciate so much.

The first of these is the high collar.  The magazines are predicting a big year for collars.  They are all over the catwalks, they tell us. They adorn our favourite celebs, from Alexa Chung to Michelle Williams to Zooey Deschanel.  The high street is literally crawling with collars, sometimes lacey, often rigid, always proper.

I, however, am not convinced – and I don’t think that men are either.

First of all, collars hide breasts.  You’ll hear plenty of men extol the makings of that secretarial/sexy librarian fantasy: a white button down, BUTTONED DOWN (wear a black bra underneath and it’s your ace in the hole), but a prim collar, buttoned to the top, peeking out over a cardigan or something equally obstructive?  No sir.  It’s too much of a challenge, mentally and physically, for a man to undress you.

Secondly, collars in our day and age are distinctly masculine, associated with executive position or industry uniform (and this is precisely why female executives suit up – to demonstrate equality). Imagine you’re a man, you’re on a night out and you’ve spent a long day at work – would you rather be reminded of your working day or the promise of the night ahead?

On an emotional level, a collar literally keeps your heart centre in check.  I do a lot of yoga (a sentence that I also find men typically like).  Shining a light on our heart centre is core to the practice; it makes you stand tall and keep your posture open to the world – two things that attract people of any gender.  Why would you want to close this area down unless you’ve undergone open heart surgery?  Search me.

Sociologically, I see something vaguely sinister about the comeback of the collar.  Distressingly, and potentially ushered in by the Royal Wedding and the subsequent focus on the posh party set, it is on trend to celebrate classism.  The prim propriety that comes with a collar seems to be a part of that trend, and any inequality raises the hackles of this feminist.

Finally, on the subject of raised hackles, some of you have asked if I am promoting styles that attract men who want to shag you vs. men who want to marry you, and I’m sure many of you feel that collars are acceptable to the latter. I will of course state the obvious:  the shagging kind and the marrying kind are not mutually exclusive – thank God.  I’ll remind you here that women also do the choosing, thank you very much. But more simply I’ll say that connection is connection. Categorisation of right and wrong might work for blog posts (I’m hoping so). When it’s applied to people at first sight, it will close more doors than it opens.

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Fashion ‘Holice Oscars Special

Welcome to the to the inaugural edition of the Fashion ‘Holice – the Soho’s very own take on celebrity style that attracts men.  Which styles draw rave reviews from women and repel men (hint: peplums) and which cross gender lines?  There were four key trends at this year’s Academy Awards that illustrate the difference between men and women, and within those trends, it’s a story of contrasts.  We’ve got sleeves vs. shoulders and demure vs. vampy.  Now let’s break it down.

Shoulders – Bridesmaid Kristen Wiig, The Artist’s Missy Pyle and model/actress Milla Jovovich nailed the rules of attraction by bearing their shoulders.  I’ve got a post on shoulders coming, so I don’t want to throw a spoiler into the mix and will keep it brief.  Men love a shoulder, even more so if you only let them look at one.  Leave them wanting more is the lesson (see JLo), so for now, I’ll leave some mystery for my coming post.

Sleeves – When Gwyneth Paltrow arrived in a cape, the Twittersphere started to buzz about a new trend – maximum coverage. I heard one stylist position this as an empowerment thing: women exercising control over what they reveal. I believe women are more or less in control of that anyway, unless of course they are celebrities, so my guess is that they opted for high fashion over high control. And to men, high fashion = high risk.  Any guy who saw Shailene Woodley in a bikini for most of The Descendants is wondering why she chose to cover all last night. As for Gwyneth, she was proud and statuesque and very grand dame. Women loved it, but I’ll bet that while some men appreciated the idea, the look left the majority lukewarm. Who got the reveal right? JLo. While her nipple received the most PR for exposure, the woman continues to master the fabric-to-skin ratio.

Demure – What a mixed bag. The gamine thing seems to work consistently for Natalie Portman, probably because she is so very beautiful. Known sex bomb Penelope Cruz looked a bit like a prom queen, albeit one with an amazing rack. But there were two standout fashion failures in this category.  It pains me to say that Emma Stone’s bow was not only derivative (see Kidman, Nicole) but is the type of feature that confounds and potentially terrifies most men.  Also, kudos to Michelle Williams for wearing attention-grabbing coral that showcases that alabaster skin, especially on her open back, but was that a… gasp – peplum?  I once purchased a peplum skirt after a fashion editor convinced me it was ‘timeless, elegant and fashion forward.’ When I tried it on for my… gasp – mother, she simply said, ‘Honey, that’s a boner shrinker.’ The tags hang on that skirt to this day.

Vampy – No surprises here; men love a vamp and a few celebs played the part last night.  Notably, we have Angelina Jolie in her go-to goth get-up with a slit that got her right leg its own Twitter feed. Men might have been amused watching her work it like a kickstand, but they do like an, ahem, slit.  She also had a good red pucker, ‘bedroom hair’ as we’ve come to define it and a surprising glow.  Analysis? She and Brad had sex in the car.  Rose Byrne also showed her edge in her black asymmetrical situation.  The jury is out on this one. While the dress is surely sexy, her stick skinny frame couldn’t hold it up.  I also wonder if that heavy fringe and parting scrambles a male mind – it’s entirely too intentional.  On the subject of confusing fringes and eating disorders, I give you Rooney Mara. Yes, Rooney, you’re edgy and you’re fashion, but was last night’s dress the success we’d expected?  Men may like her dominatrixy vibe but if you intend to show some skin, you might want to be a bit more flesh and less bone.

Finally, in the area of hair and make-up, I want to give a shout out to Jessica Chastain, who just looked outstanding.

So what have we learned? 1) When it comes to style that attracts men, ask first ‘What Would JLo Do?’ 2) If it’s got a peplum, think twice. 3) We need some male feedback on the fringe.

What’s so right? What’s so wrong? Over to you?

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