Following the Twitter backlash Donald Trump is facing over comments that his female staffers should ‘dress like women’, Alina Khakoo and Kitty Grady decided to take to the streets to ask Cambridge students and locals for their thoughts on gender and personality, dressing and comfort.
“I don’t think there is one particular way to ‘dress like a woman’. I make a lot of my own clothes so it’s when I’m wearing those that I feel most comfortable. I made this jumper, scarf and hat. I love it because I make clothes for my body and so they fit better. They’re so much more enjoyable to wear because I’ve made them myself.”
“The idea of ‘dressing like a woman’ enforces gender norms on clothes in a dangerous way. It makes clothing restrictive, rather than allowing freedom. If we’re speaking normatively I suppose I do ‘dress like a woman’, but I feel most happy when I feel it looks good on me – not someone else.”
“I dress quite androgynously. For me clothing should be comfortable and prioritise happiness above all else. Clothes are a way to express yourself and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, even if there are people who say you shouldn’t care about your appearance. I love Tilda Swinton’s style because she always looks great – whether it’s a tux or a dress.”
“Society imposes a lot of toxic concepts about what it means to look ‘womanly’. ‘Dressing like a woman’ means dressing like yourself because you are a woman. Wear what you feel authentic and comfortable in – there should be no confines to what that means. I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘tomboyish girl’ but even that is a stupid categorisation. Dress like a woman, dress like a cat, dress like you! I love camouflage patterns and things that remind me of my Nigerian culture like cowry shells. The people whose style inspires me are those who live their own truth.”
“If someone says ‘dress like a woman’, I automatically think of pencil skirts and high-heeled shoes. It’s not fair for women to feel pressurised to wear certain things. I’m all about comfort and I often go for pieces that are colourful and I really like the out-there things that people in Made in Chelsea wear, even if I couldn’t afford to wear them! Clothes might reflect something about your personality but they certainly don’t define you.”
Photo credit: Alina Khakoo