Fanciful bohemian vibes, entrance-making fringe accents, intimidating power-suits borrowed yet beat the boys at their own game, and all the floral and floaty fabrics one woman can handle…Vogue has proclaimed that Spring 2015 fashion is to be one for the record, with the most fascinating mixture of genres, time periods and statements I’ve ever seen in my years in the industry. But why wouldn’t it be so? After all, we’re approaching not the age, but yet another Age of Women.
Taking cues from some of the most assaulting and profound periods of history; the 20’s revolution of sexy dress, the 60’s liberated woman, the 80’s working woman; we’re sartorially gearing up for one of the most powerful times in history for women. And it’s about time we did. It’s been a rough few years, a rough few decades perhaps, since we called about a revolution and asserted ourselves as world leaders and game-changers. I don’t mean as a culture; I mean as women. It’s the same kind of sentiments I would like to think accompanied movements like women’s right to vote, the ceremonial burned bras (which, coincidentally, we don’t need with this season’s floral bohemian garbs), and every protest for equal pay.
Recently, Elle magazine published an article regarding the Broad City girls’ Dumb and Dumber outfits, and whether it’s okay for funny women to love fashion. As an unsolicited rebuttal both for and against the Elle article, I’d like to offer this thought: it’s seen as more socially acceptable for men to be many things, or more poignantly ‘wear many hats’, while women can’t. Elle and cited stylists described a social barrier prohibiting women in comedy from being fashion icons. Ironically, women in news often complain the opposite: that they are forced to take an interest in fashion despite their reporting chops, or at the very least go to extreme measures to look beautiful (as shown poignantly by this man’s silent protest).
In either case, the problem lies in this: that society is still having an issue with women being incredibly skilled at any one thing, and having interests or talents or abilities in other areas. She’ll be ridiculed and harassed if she is beautiful and works in politics. She’ll be criticized if she is funny and stylish. She’ll be ostersized if she is artistic and sexually liberated, open, or any other term for brave enough to sleep with whom she wants, when she wants. But if there’s one thing this season proves, it’s that we women must keep proving these stereotypes wrong, and will continue to have to do so for the unforeseeable future. For driven women with a love of fashion, this is actually good news.
If you doubt that this be the Age of Women, then strike as proof:
When the Chair, President, and Editor in Chief of one of the largest news sites in the world, The Huffington Post, is not just a woman, but one woman in all three jobs (the moving and compassionate Arianna Huffington).
When a young activist from Pakistan, and survivor of horrific violence, stands up in the face of fear and war, and named the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate, is a woman. (The incredibly inspiring Malala Yousafzai)
When the world prepares, with baited breath, for the possibility of the First Female President, as a former First Lady prepares to take potentially her greatest role yet, and forever change history. (Of course, the much debated Hilary Clinton campaign).
And so we women do what we do best: we take the lessons of all previous generations, of our mothers and our grandmothers, of their mothers and grandmothers, and we combine our strength with our compassion to change lives. We stand as both a protector and a nurturer. We cover ourselves with beautiful florals that captivate, while the dirt and soil in our souls and powerful sun of our minds fuels us and the world. We show beauty on the outside, and courage on the inside. We are truly powerful beings, and when history has asked us, we have risen, and begin to do so again today.
In every aspect of our current time, we have hate and fear. In politics, in religion, in medicine (IE Ebola), in sports (IE the NFL), in fashion (the body shaming debate), in art (IE Charlie Hebdo). Women are the teachers, the doctors, the mothers and caretakers. Like the mothers of fighting children, we must band together to create the peace this world needs. On a personal level, we have the responsibility to find peace, to create peace, and to share peace. We must, individually, offer peace which we cultivate internally, and give out externally, to fix the future for our offspring, regardless of what womb it comes from. Because as all women know, it takes a village…
Do not think that to be peaceful you must be quiet; that is not a necessary to be peaceful nor ladylike. Peace is not always calm. Peace is sometimes loud. Peace is sometimes demanding. Peace is sometimes brash and bold and clattering like lightening. Peace rallies, peace cheers, peace screams and slams it’s fists on the alter.
And to be ladylike, you need not be restrained. You need be collected; you need be intentional in your thoughts, in your words, in your ideas. You need be calculated, educated, you need know what you believe, know what you stand for. You need to stand tall, with confidence, with grace, with assertion.
So as you take the spring trends from the runway to the streets, remember the women that created them for you. Remember the free spirited aunts who danced through Southern California decades ago. Remember the grandmothers who proudly served her family, wearing her linens and lace. Remember your mother gathering the strength to to wear denim jeans, to redefine her role as ‘working mom’, not just stay-at-home mom. Remember the women who braved a boardroom of men and criticism to change our economy, who wore a suit instead of a pencil skirt, and refused to be a secretary. Remember the woman you once were, standing in the middle of the city, demanding her right to better wages, to vote, to create or not create life. She is you and you are her. Do her proud.
So whether your spring goals have you in a blazer to make your name in the boardroom, or a pair of jeans to tackle all your family’s needs as supermom, or a pair of pink sweatpants to brave the chemo suite for the next 8 hours, stand tall in your uniform. There is nothing dainty in femininity, except like that of a snake who moves slowly until it bites. Don’t be fooled by its softness. Feminine trends only prove our capability to be both kind and relentless.
Welcome to our age, sisters.
Met Museum series by LPK