Leandra Medine represents something of a fashion conundrum: the cover-up aesthetic she promotes on her Man Repeller blog has curated some of the most alluring trends and buzz-worthy looks. This is about being provocative through denial; she is a master at sartorially playing hard to get and turning heads in a major way.
She told the Times in December, she views the less palatable items she throws together as "sartorial contraceptives."
And her career has taken off since she started her blog in April 2010. Lucky has had Medine guest-blog as has The Cut, and Harper's Bazaar assigned her a feature in its December issue called "Can You Be In Fashion and Still Get a Man?"
Defining The Man Repeller:
The Man Repeller's shtick, as she points out on her blog, hinges on isolating high-fashion trends that might actually keep men at arm's length. She provides a definition:
"Outfitting oneself in a sartorially offensive way that will result in repelling members of the opposite sex. Such garments include but are not limited to harem pants, boyfriend jeans, overalls (see: human repelling), shoulder pads, full length jumpsuits, jewelry that resembles violent weaponry and clogs."
She cites an example conversation about staving men away through clothes:
Girl 1: What are you wearing to the party?
Girl 2: My sweet lime green drop crotch utility pants!
Girl 1: Oh, so we're man repelling tonight.
She attended Ramaz, the private Jewish Orthodox prep school, where she wore a uniform
Lives on the Upper East Side with her parents
She is a senior at the New School, where she majors in journalism
Her father owns a wholesale jewelry business
She won the 2011 BlogLovin' award for Most Original Blog
She has more than 12,000 followers on Twitter
She does Shabbat dinner with her family on Friday nights
Club of choice: The Jane
Drink of choice: Tequila with lime juice
On the moment she realized she was a man repeller, she told the Observer:
"The entire concept manifested itself while I was in Paris--that's where I really realized I was a man repeller. Like, in the middle of Fashion Week, we're leaving one of the after parties and I'm with two of my friends and we're looking for a cab and it's impossible to find a cab late at night in Paris. And I look at myself and I'm like, 'I'm wearing high-waisted denim cutoffs with ruffles on the bottom and a shoulder-padded shirt that would put Pierre Balmain to shame. What's is wrong with me?'"
[Geri Hirsch, Brad Goreski, and Leandra Medine, image via Chicago Street Style]
"I like the name. I own a few pairs, but I think they suck. I think they're so stupid. Just buy a Jean with a little spandex in them, you don't need to go full-out jeg."
The Harem Pant
The Lady Bowner
The Grizzly Suit
The Birth-Control Glasses
The Maxi Skirt
The Shoulder Pad
The Drop-Crotch Pant
The Man Repelling Philosophy:
As she told the Times:
"I think men like things tight and simple. It's not even about slutty, tiny dresses from Bebe because that's not very becoming of a woman either. But to guys, harem pants don't exactly shape the body, shoulder pads are unusual because you look like a linebacker and sequins are a cry for attention."
As Irina Aleksandr put it in the Times,
"There is a bit of Cindy Sherman in what Ms. Medine is doing: proudly obstructing the male gaze by disguising her body with androgynous or intimidating silhouettes. And perhaps there is someone out there who will be able to discern it as wearable art."
As she told Tablet Mag,
"Vivienne Westwood once said, 'People who wear impressive clothes live better lives,' and it really stayed with me."
"My styling tip for most people is to exploit a trend that you really love. If you love turbans, wear a really bright colored turban, so that it becomes characteristic of you. If you love flare-leg jeans, you make sure that those are some big flares coming out of those jeans. If you like bright colors, wear a ton of bright colors. If you love bow ties, try and layer your bow ties."
[Top image via Wearona]