Fashion Expression: Feminist Style

October 28, 2011 astridmartin1116

When people think of fashion, many imagine Louis Vuitton bags, skinny jeans, and signature perfumes. Never do they think about feminism. Well maybe that’s because many people envision hairy ugly women as feminists, but that does not have to be true.

Although fashion is seen as a conforming machine that enforces strict seasonal trends, fashion can be a means of self-expression as well…a way to stand out from a crowd…a perfect feminism tool.

Just as writers need a palette to express their thoughts and ideas, women need an outlet to express their inner empowerment. That is what our own unique style in fashion allows us to do. Forget about the rules about how feminists can care less about looks. Prove society wrong and use fashion as a means to liberate your inner self. After all, isn’t it time that we finally think about ourselves rather than what other people think of us?

According to a book titled The Fashion History Reader: Global Perspectives, Giorgio Riello and Peter McNeil, state that, “The semiotic power of clothing, that is to say the capacity to convey messages… go beyond the material things to create their own personalities and interact with other people” In fact Riello and McNeil go as far to explain how “the idea that dress has the power to ‘to express,’…conveys meaning regarding who we are in terms of cultural attributes, education, and taste, is something that is relentlyly repeated in nealry all texts on fashion” (19).  With this in mind, one could understand the magnitude power fashion has in our world.

You are your own canvas. Use this powerful weapon to your advantage.

As geeky as it sounds, after learning the history of the flapper girl, I was in awe at the idea of how much young women of the time used fashion to reflect their new status in society. Since women were allowed to vote, women felt the power to move away from the constraining hands of society and change their entire look. This meant goodbye to their constraining corsets, pantaloons, and luscious locks, and hello to revealing ankles…gasp. The one person who is responsible for this change is the one and only Coco Chanel–the embodiment of feminism fashion!

After reading the blog by Adrinarose titled Woman in Fashion, I was inspired at how Coco Chanel started a whole new trend for women simply by following her philosophy of simplicity, elegance, and comfort. Rather than clothing women in the typical layered petticoats, she felt that it was necessary to demonstrate women in a better light. From this day on, women are still wearing her “legendary Chanel suit and little black dress.” The idea that  Coco Chanel breaks the mold in the fashion world makes her the embodiment of not only a feminist, but also a woman who eludes feminism in her fashion trends.

Each one of us have the potential to do the same if we just believe in ourselves. But just remember rather than feeling empowered about the attention you get from men, find your own style to impress yourself. Otherwise you are falling into the trap of what feminism is against–conforming into our superficial society. Trust me, being unique and satisfying yourself is enough to call you a feminist!


  1. Riello, Giorgio, and Peter McNeil. The fashion history reader: global perspectives. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2010. Print.
  2. Woman in Fashion

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