It’s time for a game of “Hot or Not.” Rompers: Hot or Not? Two-finger rings: Hot or Not? Denim button-down shirts: Hot or Not? Boyfriend jeans: Hot or Not?
Recently I surveyed a friend’s closet and found the above articles of clothing at its forefront. Said friend of mine is fashionable and totally, like, “in” with all the latest trends. Hip as she is, I perpetually ask myself what others think of her lumberjack-chic style (see aforementioned denim button-down shirt). I think maple syrup is delicious, and I think lumberjacks are cool. Ergo, I admire my lumberjack-chic friend’s biweekly ability to put together lumberjack-chic outfits on Thursday and Saturday nights. Even if the two-finger rings she sports are the jewelry equivalent of the lumberjack pickaxe. But do the boys that she seeks on Prospect Ave. appreciate lumberjacks like I do? Do they think her style is fashionable? Edgy? Put simply, do they think her style is Hot or Not?
This age-old issue is at the heart of a one-year-old fashion blog—one to which my friend adheres religiously—entitled, “The Man Repeller.” Leandra Medine, founder of the blog and man-repeller herself, defines man repelling as follows: “outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex.” Medine showcases the latest in man-repelling styles on the daily, styles she herself selects and models. A fashion monologue of sorts, “The Man Repeller” provides full coverage of man-repellent fashions on New York and Paris runways. Think harem pants, turtlenecks, clashing colors, capes, cape-lets, and shoulder pads.
Indeed Mendine not only provides personal anecdotes but also sees her blog as a form of social analysis—a manifesto on the role of fashion in our society. In a recent essay entitled, “Confessions of the Man Repeller,” Medine explains that “behind the blithe light commentary there is some semi-serious fashion research going on. I’m conducting social experiments that utilize both leather minidresses and green-and-purple printed palazzo pants.” She continues by urging her readers to, “pull together the most coveted outfits of [their] sartorial dreams and let the social experiments begin.” Lab goggles are the new sunglasses.
Mendine calls on us to fuse polka dots and Fair Isle, to build organic compounds of chunky knit and flannel. She implores us to—get ready—dress as we wish. It may in fact be okay to relinquish the metaphoric “token little black Hervé Léger dress,” as Mendine writes, in exchange for fashion liberation.
Seen through the lens of man-repelling, lumberjack-chic style is praise-worthy. My friend defies Street-wear norms; in a sea of tight-fitting skirts, her camper socks are conspicuous accessories. Yet they are distinctive in the best of ways. Her lumberjack look symbolizes her confidence and complete self-awareness. On the spectrum of Hot to Not, these qualities undoubtedly register as Hot. Let’s raise cups of Beast to *not caring what people think* and hope that lumberjacks proliferate on campus.