In yesterday’s Editor’s Roundtable on Body Image + Beauty Standards, Megan Ryland and Laura Fukumoto spoke about the idea that women are expected to regularly change up their look, and to have more styles and outfits than men. Ryland noted that the fashion industry is largely not hoping to make us feel content about what we have and wear, preferring instead to make us feel perpetually unsatisfied with our wardrobe, since such dissatisfaction can drive their profits.
Image above found here.
While women are always encouraged (by fashion books, magazines, style guides, etc) to stock up on classic basics like a white button-down shirt and the perfect boots, they are also encouraged to engage in following fashion trends and styles. Additionally, as style changes with the seasons, women are largely expected to vary their wardrobe appropriately, adding or shedding layers, switching shoe styles, etc.
The idea that women are supposed to have a natural flair for fashion trends (thus being able to change up their look with ease) is a belief that’s been around for a long time, but arguably perfected during the Victorian era, suggests Ellen Dayuk Rosenman, a professor at the University of Kentucky. She notes in her essay, “Fear of Fashion: Or, How the Coquette got her Bad Name,” that,
Victorian culture perfected a fashion double bind that is still with us today: women are required to invest themselves deeply in their appearance and then derided for this obsession. On the one hand, dressing well was declared to be women’s ‘duty,’ their contribution to the pleasures of society.
– from “Fear of Fashion: Or, How the Coquette got her Bad Name” by Ellen Dayuk Rosenman in Cultures of Femininity in Modern Fashion eds. Ilya Parkins and Elizabeth M. Sheehan
A good example of women and the expectation of style changes are celebrity style evolutions which regularly appear in magazines and on many fashion websites (see links below). This practice tends to not exist as much for their male counterparts. It’s a double standard, based on expectations of what a woman “should” be and look like.
Examples of Celebrity Style Evolutions
Glamour: Katie Holmes
Elle Canada: Beyoncé
Elle Canada: Jennifer Aniston
Chron: Victoria Beckham
While we love a great style chameleon, this post is all about women (specifically, celebrities) whose style never seems to change much. It could be considered a ‘signature look’ or sartorial preference as much as it could be considered an act of defiance. Now, we can never really know what the following women think about their look, but we’ll go ahead and recognize them as rebels at any rate.
Coppola is a BA enough, being one of the few recognizably famous female directors in Hollywood, a huge accomplishment in and of itself. As for her style, it’s a lot of black, white, cream, and grey, with fairly consistent silhouettes and accessories. Her hair pretty much always looks the same, and she’s infamous for wearing flats on the red carpet.
Degeneres is amazing, and she always wears suits or similar silhouettes. This tendency is often to the dismay of fashion critics, but we like that she continues to wear what she likes, and what she likes is suits!
Yes, yes, we know about her wedding dresses, but Wang is pretty great on her own. She used to work for Vogue, then decided to do her own thing, enjoying success ever since. Wang has never been one to steal the spotlight style-wise; she wears a lot of black and neutral colours, flowing layers, and is famous for always wearing black leggings. Her hair never really changes either-always long, straight, and black.