The Feminism of Fashion


The Feminism of Fashion

Written. by: Zoe Brown | Photographed by: Sidney Young | Photos edited by: Maddie Walker

Coco Chanel once said, "Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future." This is an eloquent way of saying that fashion is a way to exert control over one’s life through the presentation of yourself to the world. It may seem overly simplistic to assign so much meaning to clothing, but it is one of the only things you can control in your life. Why not assume that it can give you power?


For many women, fashion serves as a tool for empowerment. It is an underrated tool that possesses the power to unlock aspects of femininity otherwise left unmoved. Fashion has the power to empower.

It is a well-recognized notion that what you wear has an effect on you. As it turns out, this idea has scientific evidence to back it up. Studies show that clothing affects our mood, our health and our overall confidence and attitude. What you wear can point toward deeper things about you beyond whether you’re feeling girly or grunge on a day to day basis.


“fashion is a way to exert control over one’s life.”

What you wear can send a message about who you are and what you stand for. However, clothing can also serve to do the opposite. It can weigh you down or send a message that you don’t want to be conveyed. It’s important to address the wardrobe problems and effects that many women face. In addressing the problem, a solution can be found.


We live in a world where women are constantly fighting to protect our rights and prove our worth to society. We sometimes forget the tools in our toolbox that help us combat things like the wage gap, sexual assault and harassment, and mistreatment of women in general. Here are three wardrobe tips that provide empowerment, confidence, and accurate self-expression.


“Ignore the size, embrace the feeling.”

1. Wear clothes that flatter and fit your body.

Your clothing should work for you. You shouldn’t have to work for your clothing. Clothing should flatter you and give you confidence, not make you feel bad about yourself. Wearing flattering clothing doesn’t have anything to do with being tight or loose. However, wearing clothes to intentionally hide your body can mean that the way you see your body is different from the way others see it. When you’re shopping, don’t get caught up in the sizing. Your size is only a number. Find clothes that look great and that you feel great wearing. Ignore the size, embrace the feeling.


“Keep pieces with classic silhouettes or colors.”

2. Frequently get rid of clothes.

Hoarding clothes may be a sign that you are living in the past. Some outfits can take you back to a certain time in your life, for better or worse. Get rid of the bad memories and keep a select few of the good. Keep pieces with classic silhouettes or colors. Stay in the moment by giving clothes away when you get new items. Living in the moment is empowering. Aspirations are of the future, not the past.


“Break away from what is expected and surprise yourself.”

3. Wear clothing that highlights your personality.

Wearing dark or neutral colors may help you to feel comfortable but the best things in life happen when you break out of your comfort zone. Variety is the spice of life, so shake things up. Periodically mix in bold colors, patterns, faux furs, denim on denim or sparkling accessories. Don’t be afraid to draw attention to yourself. Break away from what is expected and surprise yourself.

Addressing and solving these issues can help you express yourself, gain confidence, and live in the moment, which are all things that help you become and stay empowered.


Sartorial Magazine