Bad Advice Women Get: Know Your Fashion Sex

As I was browsing Jezebel yesterday, I came across this post, which links to a weird article in Britain’s Sunday Times called “What is your fashion sex?” Intrigued, I clicked on the link and was immediately transported to a strange world where phrases like “aggro frog move” and “bodycon dresses” apparently mean something.

But the article’s vocabulary isn’t the only baffling thing about it. In the piece, author Shane Watson proposes that all women have a “fashion sex,” a sort of gendered style that comes naturally to them.

Confused? So was I. Watson tries to explain herself by pinpointing the “fashion sexes” of some celebrities: “Anyone can see that Scarlett Johansson is a Girl, who should stick to asset-flaunting bodycon dresses” (whatever those are), she writes, while Kristen Stewart is “a tomboy through and through” whose outfits should never clash with her “natural urge to look a bit rough, undone, cool and … boyish.” Madonna is another celeb who Watson classifies as boyish: her “DNA is probably 12% bloke — in a good way. It’s the reason she looks like a man in drag in a pussy-bow blouse, but fabulously hot in a pair of chaps,” Watson writes.

I guess what this really means is that, according to Watson, women are innately either traditionally feminine, a little more hard-edged (read: manly), or androgynous. These traits are “non-negotiable,” she says, meaning that an inherently girly girl should never wear “the leather trousers, jacket and peaked-cap look” that serves Catherine Zeta-Jones so ill in the picture that accompanies the article.

Of course, the thing is that in that picture, Zeta-Jones doesn’t look uncomfortable or inappropriate. She’s Catherine-frickin’-Zeta-Jones—even if she hasn’t made a good movie since winning a Best Supporting Actress for Chicago, one thing she does have going for her is that she’s still one of the most beautiful women on the planet (and a very lucrative deal with T-Mobile). I think she would probably look smoking even if she was wearing a burlap sack and one of those big, furry Russian hats.

The notion of fashion sex is totally ludicrous; having short hair or, in Stewart’s case, a curiously surly demeanor (does that girl just not know how to smile?) doesn’t make a woman un-feminine—look at a pixie-haired Halle Berry in that famous Oscars dress, for just one example of why Watson is completely wrong. Hell, even K-Stew looked pretty, classy and, dare I say, comfortably girly at last week’s Oscars. So-called “boyish” types can look great wearing frilly dresses, and so-called “girly” types can look amazing in jeans and distressed Chucks.

Every girl should wear whatever she wants without fear that she’s somehow going against “type,” whatever that means. There’s no sense in pigeonholing yourself to just one kind of look, especially if you’re only doing it because some crazy British lady thinks you should.

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