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What Girls Like to Wear

Clothes are the most important thing to girls! I don't mean it in a shitty sexist way, come on! As a collective, on a daily basis, the choices of clothes and the style that they're majicked into create a meaningful dialectic of bodies and behaviors.
August 28, 2011, 12:00am

Clothes are the most important thing to girls! I don’t mean it in a shitty sexist way, come on! As a collective, on a daily basis, the choices of clothes and the style that they’re majicked into create a meaningful dialectic of bodies and behaviors: of overt aspirations (Louis Vuitton printed anything) and implicit socio-economic reveals (Juicy Couture as outerwear), of cultural histories (Crass patch) and cultural mis-reads (Crass patch; Nikes), and so forth. I think this is so cool, especially because it’s mostly ours. Boy clothes are boring, even in this era of advanced capitalism and marketing and gender expectations and everything else. What you wear or don’t wear is still the most potent public expression of who you are and who you want to be and how is that anything other than SO COOOOOOOOOOOOOOL? (Say it in a death growl and you’ll really feel me.)

In a casual review of sartorial girldom as witnessed outside the bus window on my way home tonight to drink a Bud Light Lime and write this (“Journalism”), it became apparent that my/our/your generation of girls generally fucking suck at clothes, still. I include myself, in my track shorts and Converse (“Journalism”). There are still capris (a firm non); there are still boxy, button-down, too-small-yet-too-big eggplant-colored blouses (no!); there are still one-inch efficiency heels (no, never, no). The only real distinguishing factor is that all of us (as in, vs. “them”) really like to wear long necklaces with one thousand charms or elements or crazies. These jangles (®Elizabeth from White Lightning) do as much as they can to be personal and fun in an endless clothes valley of lethargic mall purchases and the same-same of skinny jeans and how little effort normals are willing to put into shoes because, “Why bother doing anything,” right? A long chain of jingle-jang is just, like, this tiny, striving mouse-voice squeaking “Live free or die hard!” My own neck-charms include a fading-gold die from Marc by Marc Jacobs, which me and the other two members of my girl gang “the Golden Dice Triad” wear (we drink); a cross my nana gave me when I was confirmed into church (ha, ha); a ring that has something to do with a high school boy, and a “K” for “guess.” Is all this related to how much we like lists and quizzes and talking about ourselves? Yep.



The reason that this look is an eternal “Do” is because, like Mexican food, it’s hard to fuck up. HOWEVER, overwhelming male approval is not why girls wear it; girls wear it because it is the only outfit that strikes “sex” with the same emphasis that it strikes “comf.” Also HOWEVER, this doesn’t include literal pussy-riders or bad, Eastern European-flavored denim washes or Britney pockets. Class that ass!

Hahahahaha. “Nightie.”

If you’re queerly into the whole twee worldview, or like me are a never-to-recover book nerd in the direction of The Secret Garden and The Little Princess, may I suggest the following? Wear a long, white cotton nightie outside on the lawn at dusk. Play badminton, drink a Tom Collins, “frolic.” The idea of jeans is absurd now, isn’t it?

My friend Matt is an adversary of flip-flops because they are “two scoops of every reason you wash your hands after rubbing the sidewalk that’s coating the bottom of your feet and the webbing between your toes” and because they “send the message that you are so dedicated to being comfortable that you’re fine with looking like an early-90s Hawaiian heroin dealer in public” and also “that soul-stealing snuk-snuk sound they make.” Thanks Matt! He’s right, too: every pair of shoes you own becomes a shit (like actual feces) conduit the moment you cross the threshold of your home so even if you have to pee really bad, just take them off. Just fucking take them off! Or leave them on all the time and only go barefoot in your actual bed, into which you swan dive out of your boots, what the fuck do I care.


I definitely still own a lot of Havaianas because sometimes at the suburbs-mall on a Sunday it’s like “These will make me so relaxed and casual!” but I only wear them to get racist beauty treatments on my feet and when I’m spending three months alone at a hotel in Orange County (which was a really weird time for me).


If you must shop there
For rompers and belts and tops
Think of bloody sweat

A dress for ten bucks!
Is the industrial plea
For you to forget

That shit is heinous
Fits you weird and won’t stay nice
Rips in the laundry

Fast fashion feels gross
It’s not high and it’s not low
It’s just middlebrow

T-shirts from the boys’ department that stretch just so across your tits? Correct. A white t-shirt that you’ve Sharpied “Chanel” or “YSL” on? Correct, even though I’m not sure why I still find this so funny. T-shirt that costs between $80 and $200 but it’s so right? Correct. T-shirt of a band or singer you genuinely like, even if they objectively suck? Correct. T-shirt of a band or singer you don’t know much about but genuinely want to be affiliated with in some tangential way? Incorrect! That was a trick question, you weird little fucker!

Forget “put a bird on it”; putting ironic/meaningful/environmental (ugh, worst) words on a tote bag is JUST AS UNCRUCIAL. Want to hear my new expression for that mood where you are sleepy and allergic to fun and not fit for human consumption? “Totebag.”



I just watched the girl who was the most important pal to me from age 9-19 walk down the aisle in a sort of art-deco-plus-fluffy-jeuje Vera Wang wedding gown and I won’t hear anymore of this virginity/Queen Victoria/wahmbulance noise that unmarried olds like myself sometimes make about traditional dressing, never more traditional than a white wedding gown (not “dress”; what are you, poor?). My whole thing about “I’m going to wear black sequins with a serious Mugler-esque shoulder to my wedding!”? Less so.


I find these butchy good-time girls really off-putting but also reeeeally comforting for some reason. “Rest your head in my bosom, child” comforting.

Thank you for showing me the outline of your babymaker. I mean it: “thank you” like “I appreciate your willingness to wear a fabric so unforgiving that I can, in all of my unintelligible curiosity about the private lives of other girls, see your pussy like it’s on Google Streetview and I zoomed in so close that I can look in your window even if the details are fuzzy.” Thanks.

For sluts. (Which is fine. It’s just…. For sluts. Hot ones. Who cawes?)



Not everybody is as obsessed with their dad as I am (HI DAD HI DAD HI DAD! DAD! DAD! DAD!) but are you feeling this as an under-appreciated geyser of great girl clothes? When a guy wears his dadly castoffs it just doesn’t read in the same way. When a girl does it, it’s with a creepy, oversized sweetness. Plus, the whole idea of that sensible, classic style blog/A.P.C./Jenna Lyons-spearheaded J. Crew revivalism of Modern Preppies Stepping Onto a Boat is often at the heart of dad-wear, anyhow.

My collection of Dad clothes is vast, and is king-ed by a super-great blue-and-white-striped (speaking of blue-and-white stripes) and elbow-patched Hilfiger sweatshirt (no really/shut your whore mouth) that my dad gave me when he had “used it up.” The “cut before wearing” tag was still inside, but who am I to quibble with the sartorial whims of a 70-year-old man? The second best thing that used to be his is a blue-and-white-stripes (Theme!) t-shirt that I wore every single day for the month that I lived in my (his) car. I trade him my concert t-shirts that never really fit for his raggedy tourist t-shirts from Martha’s Vineyard, and everybody’s happy.

“I’m sorry”, says Canada, where they were invented. “Don’t be mad at meeeeee.” Vomitous ubiquity on this scale needs to be addressed by left-core political activists, right? Where are you guys?

Not technically clothes but I’ve really been after an avenue to address the tradition of girls getting tattoos that are intended to be, like, attractive. Like, Zzzzz.


Why all of the explicitly “pretty” imagery and colors and symmetry? Why all of the inspirational cursive? Like, “Breathe.” “Choice.” What? I have a meaningful tattoo, too, but fortunately I have forgotten what it means since I found it in a library book over a decade ago, and even more fortunately I cut myself in the middle of it so now it looks fucked-up and serves a different function. Tattoos should be explicitly for comedy, or to make you look hard or interesting. “Don’t front.” There is a tattoo for your forearm, dummy.

Anyway, please stop boring me with your indoctrinations about tattoo-femininity and just go full retard.

These items are extremely controversial in the girl community. However, at the last symposium, I made a motion to categorically approve these little numbers on the basis of “looks good on everyone” and “hilarious” and “the silky pastel-colored version that only French girls know how to do give me so much clit-frisson that the idea of ‘biting into a bunched-up pair of French girl harem pants and it tasting like a boxful of Laduree macaroons pressed together into one big, perfect macaroon’ is just always in the back of my mind somewhere.” The motion passed.

You have approximately one week left to wear these shits, so get on it. Oh, it’s not your style, because you’re really more into your sweaty jeans with the suction-cup ass-area and a raccoon tail or pigeon feather or a collection of dried poos like sausage links hanging off your waist? (I can’t tell the difference because I shield my eyes when I see all of this too-much-ness coming my way.) Fine. I understand. Black on the outside, black on the inside, I get it. I’m with you, most of the time. But an untethered, undone floaty dress in the summertime is the zenith of how you can put clothes on a girl-body and feel like an angel is all up on you. So good. Try it? For me?

Follow Kate on Twitter @KateCarraway

Previously: Girls and Guy Friends