Thanks to Hoda and Kathy Lee for wearing pants and long sleeves on this "Casual Friday". It was refreshing to see at least two female hosts eschewing their cap sleeved tight knee length dresses for one whole hour. Now if they could just give up the 6 inch heels.
I care about such a seemingly trivial issue not just because I despise showing my own upper arms but because I get the distinct impression that women are being...um...shall we say.. keenly encouraged to show some part of their body.
Navigating racks of women's clothing is kind of like playing fashion whack-a-mole; if I want longer sleeves I have to settle for a plunging neck line. If I choose short sleeves they won't come down past my bicep. If I find a round neckline, there will invariably be a sexy hole in the middle exposing my cleavage.
While clothes shopping, I often compare myself to a female celebrity sitting cross legged on Conan O'Brian's couch in a short skirt; self consciously tugging at the scant material barely covering my legs while another part of me comes dangerously close to exposure.
Critiques of female fashion, like pretty much everything involving women, are often tinged with blame; well if they would just stop "choosing" clothes with flimsy fabric and dress more simply like men, act like men, ask for raises like men and get paid as much as men, all would be fine. Other than being.. a tad too masculine.
Less political arguments say that designers prefer sleeveless bridal gowns* because they are easier to alter. Interesting point but please explain men's fitted dress shirts? Once again we are lead to believe that women's needs are far more complex than our seemingly easy going brothers.
*I once saw an episode of Beverly Hills Bridal, where a woman in her 60's tried on a gown with cap sleeves. She glowed while friends, family and shop owner cooed over how "amazing" she looked even though her upper arm skin was puckered and flabby. The dress was clearly not flattering as far as her arms were concerned. I thought they were all blind and I was the brat kid yelling "the Emperor has no clothes"! Then I felt like the worst feminist ever, for judging this poor woman's arms.
My personal clothing needs are quite direct; give me a longed sleeved T-shirt with a round neck, fitted slightly at the bust but A-lined at the bottom. The material should be mostly cotton with nylon for stretch. I have 7 of these (by Style & Co.) in my closet that are about three years old. I have not been able to find any more like them since and I cling to these 7 with my life.
Maybe it's where I shop--I steer clear of high end stores. Maybe it's where I live, a Toronto suburb where I am convinced gets rejects from the US. Maybe I'm not feminine or masculine enough, though sometimes I am a little of both. I do know what I want and I know what looks good on me. I too like being fashionable but I can tell when the-fashion-powers-that-be or the morning show moguls are manipulating me (through female hosts) into wearing what they consider proper feminine attire.
Please join me. Fight the powers. Take your caps off and take a stand for casual Friday all week long.
Just be sure to wear your low healed shoes.