- Cardigan: hand me down from SIL, embellished by me
- Dress: Banana Republic Factory
- Belt: Gap Outlet
- Pumps: Steve Madden
After I put this all together I realized that I was wearing floral, lace, and pink, all elements which, in recent western culture, have been coded as “feminine.” Interestingly, I don’t feel particularly “girly” in this outfit, despite the multiple “feminine” elements. My personal aesthetic is one that leans more towards graphic prints and lines and blocks of color, and I think that manifests itself here in the bold, flat flowers, substantial cording embellishment, and the admittedly random choice of shoe color.
Of course, as S. has pointed out before, pink and ruffles were previously cultural signifiers of masculinity and, as I argued last year, floral prints can and have had different cultural associations , like Empress Eugenie’s “political gowns” cut from floral patterns particular to Lyon or even my Caucasian father’s embracing of aloha shirts as business attire in Hawaii.This isn’t an outfit that’s going to change the world or radically subvert cultural norms, but when I realize that I am, in theory, wearing something similar to the fellow below, I have to smile and shake my head a little at how dramatically cultural signifiers can change meaning within a few centuries.
Portrait of a Man, Carle Vanloo, 18th c.
And yes, he is pattern-mixing his florals. Well played, sir. I’m taking notes.