‘Menfem’ or just too fem?

Last week, as I meandered through the oncoming crowd to the Central line at Oxford Circus - there he was, coming towards me - it was like the parting of the waves – at that moment I saw no-one else among the hundreds of commuters but him…This wasn’t because of an instant trigger of attraction - Hell no! I was taken aback for a very different reason. This 20-something man had the tightest, fitted outfit I’ve ever seen on a straight man that was not on a stage performing or a bodybuilder!!

Picture this...the skinniest skinny jeans that put the original wearers of the said jean (old school rockers like Iggy Pop or Steven Tyler) to shame. On top; his waistcoat and t-shirt had so much Lycra his girlfriend must surely wear them too. His footwear; ultra-pointy patent shoes – enough already!! Topping it off literally, his hair, styled and straightened to perfection into what can only be described as a forward-swept mullet. The look was ultra-fem.

Men’s fashion over the last decade has gradually taken on a female slant and the result, a blend of masculine and feminine that a lot more men are wearing with pride nowadays. After seeing that guy I asked myself why didn’t I find that look attractive? Why was I uncomfortable with seeing a straight man embrace this look and be comfortable in it? Am I too old school? Yes I am yet very new school. I love it when a man is groomed, tailored and stylish, what I don’t love is when this new-age masculinity is taken too far.

I study style and fashion on daily basis, and love looking at men and women and am intrigued by what people wear. I think of young teenage couples I’ve seen out and about in London, there have been so many times at a glance I thought were a same-sex couple, when in fact, after closer inspection have turned out to be a boy and a girl!!

These looks which I call ‘Menfem’ give men much more style choices as the fit creates a look that can really define personal style and I’m definitely up for that. It’s just not a look I’d want my man to adopt. I equate a ‘real’ man (whatever that means) with a more masculine tailored fit and look, skintight and girly just doesn’t do it for me. For instance, I’ve always loved Prince in so many ways, but his feminine look/style has never made me fancy him in the slightest. Am I being too narrow-minded? Tell me if I am, as I understand this is a sign of the times – ever-changing, morphed roles for men and women. This blend, switch or confusion is so evident and also reflected in fashion.

Look around you - what do you see?

© Karma-Style 2010

Mandela and McQueen - A tribute to two kings

Yesterday, the 11th February 2010 was a strange day of mixed emotions. A fashion genius passed away on the very day that Nelson ‘Madeba’ Mandela walked to freedom from his incarceration 20 years ago. I am old enough to remember that day, yet was too young at the time to truly understand its significance. My heart and soul felt it without me realising. My heart and soul felt it when I heard about Alexander McQueen. Two total strangers who have made an impact on my life.

My mind raced back and forth, full of random thoughts…..that Mandela and McQueen have real similarities – echoes in their characters. They were/are historic trailblazers, breaking down boundaries with the courage to stand up for what they believed in. Both were revolutionaries and revolutionary. Mandela, in his lifelong quest to banish social injustice and to free humankind’s hearts and minds. McQueen, in his lifelong quest to change the art of fashion and free its hearts and minds. Mandela changed the face of history. McQueen changed the face of fashion history, both succeeded with passionate rebellion! They were born to do it.

At some point that day, James Brown’s song “It’s a man’s world, but it wouldn’t mean nothing! Without - a woman or a ga-irrl..” filtered through from the next door neighbour and immediately Winnie (Mandela’s ex wife) and Joyce (McQueen’s mother) sprung to mind as well as the words strength and support.

Over the years they were given so many labels to define ‘who they were’; controversial, terrorist, bad boy, rebel, enfant terrible. In my eyes, McQueen was, in all his glory, a modern day Vivienne Westwood and an Avant Garde Valentino and Mandela, a JFK, Gandhi, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King rolled up in one.

I feel sad that a rare talent is gone so soon. McQueen’s creations will always show us that it’s ok to be different, a leader and a free spirit. A smile then comes to my face when the song “Freeee Nel-son Mand-del-laaa” plays around in my head..ummm a strange day indeed…

From them, there are many lessons we can learn, they have shown us all to live an imperfect and brilliant life – one that is truly and only ours.

The difference I do see is that all the tribulations Mandela has lived through he appears to have 'cleansed' himself of the inner and outer demons in his life. It could be said that McQueen possibly did not. Tragedy always brings about change but we must not forget so does Joy.

King Nelson – A true, honest, global king of humanity and equality and King Alexander – A true, honest, king of global fashion and art. Karma-Style salutes and celebrates you – Thank you for the inspiration.

© Karma-Style 2010