Ah, February. It’s the most romantic month of the year according to retailers and greeting card companies.
As soon as the New Year’s celebrations have died down, every store starts pedaling red and pink goods, chocolate and sexiness. While the mass manufactured idea of being sexy includes lingerie and perfume, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to turn that idea on its head.
As a woman, I’ve been told by the media that sexiness is a pair of high heels and a little dress. Not only is that the image that’s been presented, but I’ve also been taught that I should actually care about having a certain amount of sex appeal.
As a teenager, fashion for me was less about self-expression and more about appealing to the gaze of my male peers. Fortunately, as my love for fashion grew, I realized that what I put on my body is actually not about showing it off. Instead, my personal style is about presenting the image of myself that I want to the world. While that image may change daily, it’s everyone’s prerogative to decide exactly what that image is.
That being said, I haven’t felt the pressure to be the standardized version of sexy in quite some time.
However, Valentine’s Day tends to bring about a certain amount of expectation. Even the most ardent tee shirt and jeans type people feel a bit of pull towards dressing up if they happen to be going out on February 14. But how attractive is it if your date is visibly uncomfortable in their attire, no matter how sexy it is supposed to be?
This Valentine’s Day, I’ll be sticking to what I know. To be honest, the wardrobe I have definitely misses the stereotypically “hot” mark. It’s something that I’ve had to learn to love despite a series of comments hinting that my outfits might be a bit “man-repelling,” to use the term coined by fashion blogger Leandra Medine of Man Repeller. I might not be able to rock skin-tight club dresses with any degree of confidence, but give me a collared shirt/sweater combination and I’ll feel so good that it won’t make a difference.
As I’ve reiterated in almost all of my columns, personal style is personal for a reason. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t wear a mini skirt and heels if that’s what makes you feel good. But there’s also no reason why you should feel pressured into wearing that if it makes you uncomfortable.
There’s nothing sexy about being uncomfortable, especially on a holiday that already creates pressure to be somehow more romantic and attractive than usual.
As for my opinions on Valentine’s Day, I’m all for it. However, I’d rather be festive by wearing a red sweater than wearing shades of pink and red on my embarrassed face if I were to attempt an outfit of heels I can’t walk in and a dress that doesn’t allow me to breathe.