Dressing for Yourself: The Man Repeller Style
I first stumbled across the term “man repeller” when introduced to the fashion blog of the same name, created and run by the hilarious Leandra Medine. A definition followed, with Medine describing the term as “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex”. Read: harem pants, shoulder pads and boyfriend jeans.
Interestingly enough, the photos Medine posts of her self-described “man-repelling style” on www.manrepeller.com are actually, well, cool. I, for one, would kill for her wardrobe of slouchy jackets, quirky sundresses and towering heels. But what do the men think?
In true journalistic fashion, I went straight to the source: my boyfriend. After all, who better to judge whether I would indeed repel the opposite sex if I too donned Medine’s wardrobe?
“I don’t understand why women dress like that, it doesn’t even look good. [Medine] is a pretty girl, but she is making herself look worse by wearing those clothes.”
Regardless of the male opinion, I had decided to take on the style head-on. My first purchase was a pair of tapered harem pants in a wild zebra print, with tucks and bunching at the elastic waist. I realize now how dreadfully awful these sound, but I believed them to be casually cool and hipster-chic.
I was wrong.
The mocking began the second I stepped downstairs. My cousin remarked, “I didn’t know MC Hammer was back in style.” My aunt delicately added, “That is an interesting look”, while petting the silky zebra-print fabric.
I must have looked hurt, as my mother quickly tried to reason with me. “Well, honey, you can’t expect everyone to love what you wear,” while my sister quipped that I was wearing zebra-print MC Hammer pants that were tapered and pleated.
That was the last time I wore the offending pants. Upon returning home, I promptly returned them and purchased a less-controversial eyelet skirt. But saying goodbye to the pants had me thinking. Were other women also purchasing a similarly controversial piece under the false assumptions that others would appreciate its fashion street cred?
A fashionable friend of mine, Courtney Richardson, tells me of an oversized purple shirt she once purchased, wildly unaware that after mere minutes of putting it on, she would be told by her then-boyfriend that she “looked like that girl from Willy Wonka who turns into a giant grape.” “Needless to say,” says Richardson, “I returned it.”
But not everyone is swayed by the haters of man-repeller fashion. Model Kristal Jones explains that she prides herself on buying items that many would consider daring to wear. “I think my purple pleather sparkly snakeskin leggings are the craziest item in my closet, and I always rock them with pride!”
Inspired by Jones’ fearless attitude toward fashion, I had a thought. What does it matter that everyone hated my zebra-print MC Hammer pants? If I liked them, I should have worn them with pride, proclaiming to the nay-sayers that yes, these pants are cool. Even more so in a flashy animal print.
And so, I sit here today, wearing a pair of neon-orange tapered trousers that have generated many confused stares and witty commentary, proud of my unusual fashion choices. I have embraced and accepted my man-repelling ways, and occasionally step out of the house in a wolf-print tee shirt or pleated wool trousers, much to the dismay of my boyfriend.
For more on man-repelling fashion, visit Medine’s blog at www.manrepeller.com