I am a collector of many things, and I take great pride in my collections. I collect polaroids, notebooks, tea cups and ribbons; anything that I own two of might be coincidence, but a third or fourth indicates a real premeditation, and a liking for that certain form or concept.
It has come to my attention as of late, that I have a new collection. It is one that both alienates me and unites me with others. It’s divisive and entirely subjective; curated by with the most flippant yet discerning of eyes.
I call it my “Man Repelling Collection”.
When I first read of this collection’s namesake, the blog Man Repeller, I chuckled a little to myself, but then proceeded to forget all about it. It was not until recently that I realised how much it rang true in my own sartorial ventures.
The Urban Dictionary defines ‘Man Repelling’ as:
outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex.
In essence, only girls and gay men appreciate the way you dress. ‘Man Repeller’ lists examples the offending items, such as harem pants, clogs and overalls.
So here is my own collection, lovingly curated by an ultimate man repeller (who has still managed to acquire several boyfriends despite herself), and a firm believer that a woman should dress only for herself and perhaps her friends, but never ever for men. Although, every well-behaved bloke needs a break from fruit pants sometimes.
1 – The aforementioned fruit pants
My first acquisition that actually fostered public and outspoken hatred, they were the real catalyst for curating my man-repelling collection. Made by Gorman and heralded by shop-assistants and addicts of the label alike, I was told by the cool-looking girl in the shop that they looked amazing on. And I believed her, because, well they did. I then saw several other Gorman patrons wearing them over the next few weeks, and eventually acquired my own pair with some well-invested birthday funds.
Unfortunately, one day I discovered that my trousers were developing a small cult-like following of burgeoning haters. Unperturbed, I proceeded to wear them with higher frequency just to piss them off and make myself feel excellent. It’s strange how when wearing these pants, although I know all males will find me ridiculous, I feel even more untouchable than wearing a man-attracting outfit. They’re like my fructose-loaded armour; the path to a better me.
2 – A capsule collection: Clogs
This is in fact a collection within the collection: of clogs in ever colour of the rainbow. Initially a rejector of this trend, I believed it would accentuate my well-endowed calf muscles and make me look even shorter and stubbier than I already was.
Then one fateful afternoon I happened across a pair in tan, orange and green in H&M on Oxford St. In that moment, I vowed I would buy a pair before returning home, and have continued to wear, and receive compliments about my vibrant orange footwear ever since.
I also have a less attractive green Zara pair, bought in haste and passion; a natural pinkish coloured pair that cost $5 from a warehouse sale in Richmond, and have sadly recently broken; a blue pair on sale from the Funkis website; and a new nude Funkis pair to replace the broken pair. Ideal.
They are wooden, unattractive and to be honest, not very flattering. But they are comfortable, and despite being unable to give the effect of the perfectly engineered stiletto, are effing fabulous.
3 – Palazzo pants
Image stolen from here
I’ve never had any actual confirmation that these are man-repelling, but I’m assuming that they are, simply because of my intense love for them. Generally when I evangelise about an item of clothing, chances are it’s also perceived as hideous by members of the opposite sex.
But Palazzo pants are (dare I say it) flattering, incredibly comfortable and create an optical illusion of tallness and the mystery of whether you have skinny legs or not. They work excellently for business attire, and can be worn with massive heels for maximum impact to make you feel like Godzilla or King Kong stomping around town to great effect.
4 – Brothel Creepers
Not only do they have an excellent name, they also have a brilliant backstory. Originating in World War II, they were worn by soldiers in North Africa, and featured a hard-wearing crepe sole due to the climate and environment. After leaving the army, these shoes and their wearers found their way into the many nightspots (yes Brothels, not Fabric on a Saturday night) of London, and thus they found their name. There must have been a large correlation between North African war veterans and frequentation of brothels for them to have gained this infamous monicker, though.
Nevertheless, they were reinvented in 2011 in what Wikipedia calls a “resurgence of grunge culture with artists like Rihanna embracing them”, but I’m one up on Wikipedia. Because famous people like Rihanna don’t just embrace “grunge culture” unless someone like, say, I don’t know, PRADA put them in their new season collection and sells them for $1000+. I feel that’s a slight antithesis when we’re talking about “grunge culture”. Soz Rihanna.
But in short, and to get to the point, they look hilarious. As hilarious as my fruit pants, and the sort of thing fashionable clowns might wear. They are after all, flat shoes with uneccessarily large soles. Like, soles about five times the size of shoes with already overly-large soles. Word.
5 – Shirts with the top button done up
Once the choicest attire of Mormans, nerds and bums in the 1930’s, doing your top button up nowadays is a sign of hipster cred. I remember the days when doing your top button up was so near impossible you’d risk detention at school not to have to do that shit, because it was “choking you”. Not these days apparently, and if teachers were smart enough, they would acquire a new next line of defence. But most aren’t down with indie trends re:clothing.
Still, on guys I find this trend near intoxicating. It’s like my version of a really well-framed cleavage or the world’s best pair of tanned, toned legs. Top button done up? You’re probably a twat but I’d probably pounce on you in this tram in front of all the other shocked tram patrons.
On girls, however, the look can be strange, unflattering and incredibly off-putting. It took me a while before I was brave enough to slip that top button through its little home and let it shine there with pride: before 2011 none of my shirts had even been seen in such a state. The first day I ever did it, I went to a Uni tutorial and felt paranoid. Everyone was definitely looking at me thinking “Jesus, who does she think she is? Indie try-hard.”
6 – Other loud pants
Apart from my fruit pants, I also have several pairs of loud trousers. And I am constantly appraising and appreciating particularly excellent trousers I see on the street, judged by the “will I vomit or be very happy” scale.
My pants (british translation: Trousers) make me very happy. I have a corduroy pair featuring a floral print, scored on sale from Topshop Oxford St; a white silky pair emblazoned with red lips and the words “Life is love” and “Love is life” from Shag; a hot pink pair of Sportsgirl jeans; my spotted or blue palazzo pants (see #3);
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the only things these pants say loudly to men is “HATE ME. I AM UGLY. BLEURRRGH.”
7 – Clothes that look like they came from Grandma; in this case a sparkly green dress from a Vintage store in Barcelona.
I fell in love with this dress as soon as I saw it. With no care for the price tag, I bought it and stuffed it into my suitcase for the long journey home.
It doesn’t scream “I’m so sexy take me home now”; but more sort of wheezes “Maybe I came from a costume shop rejects sale, or your grandma’s wardrobe.” It smells a bit like it too. Which makes it all the more appealing to straight men.