Ladies, have you ever stumbled across an item in a downtown clothing store and wondered, "Is this a dress or a shirt?” Believe it or not, men are asking the same question when we see those items worn around campus.
Sex appeal is a prominent theme in women’s fashion today, which isn’t exactly novel. But one thing is certain: the ratio of fabric to skin has shrunk dramatically in recent decades, reopening the debate — famously held concerning the “flappers” of the 1920s — about how revealing is too revealing when it comes to women’s clothing.
The South is home to the Southern belle archetype: the young debutantes who dress in elegant, full gowns and belong to high society. Today’s Southern belles are trading in their ball gowns, sunhats and parasols for sexier outfits.
Is clothing, then, becoming too revealing? The debate is hot (no pun intended), and a quick tour of downtown clothing stores offers more insight. Almost every store — Encore, Fab’rik, Private Gallery, Pitaya and so on — carries clothes of similar themes, indicative of both local and national trends. Lace, feather-light and “sheer” materials are all “in” this year.
Blouses or shirts are typically the pieces showcased in lightweight or sheer materials, which range from translucent to nearly transparent. And despite the fact that we see women all over campus sporting the look, men may still be inclined to ask, “What is she supposed to wear under that?”
A bra does not seem adequate.
A camisole might work underneath, but just the bra? “Well, yeah,” is the typical response of the employees working in these boutiques. Some stores are even starting to carry inventory of decorative beaded and jeweled bras to be worn under sheer materials.
In pitching this story idea to my team at The Red & Black, I made the joke that “I don’t mind if women’s clothing becomes more revealing, but then again, I’m biased.”
This is a testament to the power of female sexuality, because it’s the truth: I don’t mind. But that’s not to say that I would seriously date a girl who dressed in such clothing.
Like women, men are certainly capable of separating sex from commitment at that fundamental level.
Women are able to catch mens’ attention by wearing revealing clothing — that’s not the issue. Women know they have our attention when we slap our friends on the shoulder to say articulate things like, “Dude, dude,” or, “Check her out, bro.”
But what these women don’t hear are the subsequent assessments of their levels of promiscuity and “risk.” Speaking generally, the more revealing the clothing, the more rigorous the assessment.
So my advice to ladies: figure out ways to highlight your sexiest features, but please make us (guys) work for it.
Leave some things a mystery, because the things that will hold our interest and intrigue are not what we can see right away, but rather what we have left to uncover.
— Keith Llado is a senior from Marietta majoring in public affairs and political science