22 March 2011 – Floral and Lace

March 22nd, 2011 § 16 comments

22 March 2011 – Floral and Lace, originally uploaded by academichic.


  • Cardigan: hand me down from SIL, embellished by me
  • Dress: Banana Republic Factory
  • Belt: Gap Outlet
  • Pumps: Steve Madden

End Notes:

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.

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§ 16 Responses to 22 March 2011 – Floral and Lace"

  1. i adore this outfit! beautiful, spring-like, colorful. i’d wear it in a heartbeat. it’s funny how we feel when we realize we’re wearing extra “feminine” stuff…i almost always wear skirts and dresses, not necessarily to code myself as feminine (although i do like feeling that way) but because it’s what i like to wear!

    no idea pink and ruffles were traditionally thought of as masculine. thanks for the history lesson!

  2. Loren says:

    Very sweet ensemble. Loving the shoes and the lacy embellishment on the dress. Are you working on your ‘color blocking’?

  3. Bhav says:

    I love everything about this outfit…especially the pop of red! That sweater is a fabulous!

  4. Jackie says:

    Oh so cute! To wear spring clothes. But it’s snowing here today….

  5. Kyra says:

    I love the conspicuous consumption in the portrait, with the fabric cascading behind him. When is that painting from, 1740-50s?

    • The portrait from Louis-Michel van Loo was formerly known as Jacques-Germain Soufflot, and is not easily dated, but my guess would be the 50s.

      E, you totally made my day with this painting. I knew the work of his nephew (who painted several philosophers from the French Enlightenment) but this sartorial laid-back frenzy is the coolest 18th century outfit I’ve seen in ages.
      Thanks you SO much…

  6. NotaBene says:

    I love the sweater–the colors are great together.

  7. Rebecca says:

    Those shoes! They really make this ensemble fly off the screen! I’m also liking the cardigan but would like some explanation of how you amended it. Did you add the flowers, and if so, how? I’m not very crafty, but I have a cardi I’d like to embellish. Thanks!

  8. Karen says:

    I love this cardigan. I just might have to go back to the tutorial and spruce up one of my cardigans for the inevitable arrival of spring!

  9. [...] want to thank E. from Academichic, who offered this embroidery bonanza as a reference of the extreme variability of the (gendered) [...]

  10. I love the color combination here! Surprisingly enough, until you pointed out that the combination of pink and floral was a little “girlie,” I never would have thought it—it reads much more as “slightly off-beat” than girlish. I really appreciate the youthfulness, here: you’ve yet again shown that one can “dress up” to the occasion without seeming quite so, well, buttoned down.

  11. [...] E., on the history of floral patterns and on the history of the brand Bannana Republic [...]

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