Nearly every day an email from American style site Who What Wear drops into my inbox. For the most part, my morning scroll through my email inbox before I head off to the gym leaves me feeling informed and often inspired, but when it comes to emails from Who What Wear I generally end up pissy. And it’s because of article titles like this:
‘5 Items That Make Women Scientifically More Attractive to Men’ ― because of course the whole reason I get dressed in the morning is to be more attractive to men.
‘15 Items All Men Should Toss by Age 30’ ― um, what if those items make some men feel comfortable and happy?
‘The Styling Trick Every Fashion Girl Wears at Work’ ― so if I don’t employ this trick does that mean I’m not a ‘fashion girl’?
‘The 7 Zara Items Everyone Will Buy in 2018’ ― really, everyone? I don’t even shop at Zara, does that mean my 2018 wardrobe will be worse than people who do?
‘The Fashion Items to Keep and Toss in 2018’ ― should I toss something that I still love just because it’s no longer deemed to be ‘fashionable’?
‘These Are the Trends Everyone Stopped Wearing in 2017’ ― what if that trend was perfect for my body shape? Should I stop wearing it too?
Despite their titles, the articles above, once clicked upon, are largely innocuous and occasionally yield useful advice. However, with the world awash with more content than we can possibly devour, an article’s title plays a vital part in helping us decide what we choose to read. In the course of a day we read many more titles than we ever do articles themselves.
I know I sound a bit like my eighty-seven year old grandfather complaining about the state of content titles today, but titles such as those above raise a number of broader issues for me.
Firstly, they reinforce the notion that participating in fashion makes you part of an exclusive club. In order to retain membership you must play by a set of rules determined by higher powers that be such as authoritative media publications. The use of words like ‘everyone’ and phrases like ‘every fashion girl’ perpetuate this ideal, implying that if you aren’t dressing the way ‘everyone’ else allegedly is, the way you engage with fashion isn’t as valid.
Secondly, titles such as these, and indeed the articles associated with them, consider fashion with a trend-driven lens. Trends are an ingrained part of a fashion cycle, encouraging consumers to buy into a look or item that will help them fit in leading to a homogenisation of style. It’s worth noting that while Who What Wear is largely concerned with trends they also publish content such as 9 Steps To Defining Your Personal Style alongside articles such as those above.
Thirdly, some of these titles and articles champion fast fashion brands and suggest that fashion is disposable. What happens when a trend has passed? You ditch those old pieces and invest in the next set of trends of course! This way of thinking is dangerous for the environment, the industry and our wallets. If you are interested in finding out more, consider our publication ‘Building a Conscious Wardrobe’.
So if Who What Wear makes me so cranky, why do I keep engaging with it? Well my friends, I like to keep abreast of what all manner of fashion publications are up to even if I don’t agree with what it is and I enjoy having my views challenged from time to time.