Fashion Choices that Make me Uncomfortable

Dear Readers,

When I started fashion blogging, I made a promise to myself that I would never be mean or judgmental in my posts. I share a fashion philosophy with the sweet and courageous Bill Cunningham, who basically says that if someone is wearing it, it’s “in.” Fashion should not be proscribed by an elite body of experts! Fashion is about expressing yourself through dress, full stop. Whether others think you look fabulous or fucked up doesn’t matter.

All this to say that you will never get a “Fashion Don’t” post from Carrie Leilam Love.  When people ask me for fashion advice, I never say “Do X thing given your body type” or “Wear such-and-such.” I say, “Who do you want to be?” and “What do you feel good in?” Because that’s what fucking matters, duh!!

The following post is about fashion choices I would not personally make, because they don’t fit with my aesthetic values.  But it is not a proscription! It is not advice about what not to do! It’s just about what I wouldn’t do.

Toe Ring Sandals

This style just makes me feel uncomfortable. It’s kind of anxiety provoking. I feel like the big toe is being isolated and constricted and I get a weird psychosomatic sympathy feeling between my big toe and pointer toe when I look at these sandals.

Anything Drawstring except Pajama Pants

Stella McCartney Resort 2012

Drawstring dress by Alexander Wang

Hannah Bronfman

A drawstring to me is the epitome of casual, and it never makes sense to me when people use it as an element in dress-up clothes. Or even anything that you wear not to bed or the beach. The dangly bits of string hanging from everywhere feel awkward to me.

Sweat Socks and Dress Shoes

Seeing someone wearing sweat socks and dress shoes feels like running into your ex and her new hot girlfriend on a midnight pajama run for ice cream and cigarettes. AWKWARD and embarrassing.  Dress shoes are made to fit with a thin sock or no sock. That means if a person wears sweat socks with them, their foot is inside getting all squished up and hot sweaty creases imprinted on it from being too tight in the shoe. What is more discomfort provoking than the image of hot sweaty creased feet? Nothing!

I am also generally made uncomfortable by socks of any type with sandals and high-heels despite this being a major runway trend of late. Every once in a while I think it looks really good:

and more of the time it makes me uncomfortable:

Either way, I don’t tend to wear this style because I feel like it cuts off the legs visually and I have a major fear of limb loss and paralysis. Also, I am not sure why I like the first picture and not the second picture. As for the latter, I find the whole Tokyo Lolita fashion trend extremely uncomfortable for the reason that it both infantilizes grown women and sexualizes children at once. But why am I ok with a grown white woman wearing little girl socks with floral wedges? I DON’T KNOW. Maybe I am not sensitive to non-racialized sexism. I SHOULD WORK ON THAT. Speaking of racialized sexism…

Weird Racial Shit

Model Miroslava in Prada Spring 2011

This category goes beyond making me uncomfortable and actually makes me angry. It goes beyond offending my aesthetic sense and offends me politically and personally.

Representation of raced images is always a sticky situation when you live in a culture that consistently and historically has oppressed and dehumanized people based on race.

Do I think Muicca and Miroslava are racist for designing and wearing this garment, respectively? Probably yes. Only in the sense that I doubt either of them considered for a second the significance of the image of a pitch-black sexualized figure with a giant pineapple on her head and how that image has historically negatively affected black women and the perception of their sexuality.  Does this make them bad people? No. Just ignorant privileged people.

Missed Opportunites

When people have access to expensive clothes and then come up with outfits you could get off the rack at Forever 21 it makes me sad. I am not dissing Forever 21, I totally shop there. And I actually really love that leather dress on the left.  But the open-toed platform bootie with fur/zippers/other embellishment is just so ubiquitous. And these are ladies with resources! They have the time and money to go out and get anything, and this is what they come up with? OK WOW THAT WAS REALLY JUDGY. What I should say is, if I had a choice between buying trendy stuff at forever 21 or buying trendy stuff that is expensive, I would buy it at forever 21 and spend the real money on high-end items that are classic or unique.

I find I am generally most excited and intrigued by a person’s style when they reference trends without speaking directly to them.  Full disclosure: I totally bought the Aldo knockoffs of the Dior cut-out sandals SJP wore in SITC I and wore them NYE 2009. It can be hard to resist the tide sometimes. Also sometimes something I already LOVE  genuinely anyway will become trendy (high-waisted wide leg pants!!!!) but generally speaking, overly trendy ensembles make me uncomfortable.

And there you have it. There are other fashion choices that make uncomfortable that I did not include here, most of them involve public nudity and I just didn’t feel like doing a google image search for “Folsom Street Fair Full Frontal” was going to send my day in a good direction so I decided to leave it alone.

Remember though, that if sweat socks with dress shoes speaks to your soul, or toe-ring sandals make you feel beautiful GO FOR IT. One girl’s uncomfortable is another person’s power outfit, so rock on. Except with the Weird Racial Shit. That you should just cut out immediately.




About Carrie Leilam Love

i love words, babies, and shoes better than everything.


  1. I think it’s good to get fashion anger out every now and then. I really like the way you did it. Mostly I’m glad cuz now I’m on the look out for weird racial shit.

  2. Pingback: Uncomfortable Beautiful and Pragmatic Cowboys « Ironing Board Collective

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