Know what’s even better than arbitrary fashion rules? Appending heavy-handed assumptions about sexuality to the clothing in question! Why just scrutinize an outfit when you can cast aspersion on someone’s character, too? Allure’s “Life of the Party,” December, covers all those bases in the guise of helping us discern what, exactly, we’re supposed to wear to holiday parties with nebulous dress codes. (Festive casual? What the hell?)
And I love dresses by Kate Moss for TopShop. They’re really fancy but still fun and slutty—in a good way.
Oh. Whew. Well, as long as they’re slutty in a good way… We really, really wish Allure had pestered Young to expound on this point. The word “slut” has such negative connotations, but Young is saying to be “slutty in a good way.” Is she telling us to eschew society’s standards? Is she urging us to embrace our sexuality? Does she want to jettison such labels altogether?
Who knows? There’s no evidence Young herself has any clue, as she elucidates her slutty-in-a-good-way aesthetic:
Deep, plunging necklines are OK, as long as the amount of cleavage you’re showing is tasteful.
So a plunge neck is fine if it doesn’t show too much décolletage…which is kind of the point of a low-cut top. And where does the “slutty” part come in again? We couldn’t tell you, but we could point you to part where it becomes clear that using the term “slutty” was just for shock value.
I don’t like backless for cocktail parties, though. There’s something too risque about it…
And the appalling part:
…—in a way that low-cut in the front isn’t. It shows you’re definitely not wearing a bra, and it invites men to walk up and touch you.
Right, because not covering our bodies from head to toe is a direct invitation for men to approach us and touch us! It’s totally our fault for dressing that way if a man we don’t know feels ENTITLED to paw at us!
Here’s the unspeakably ludicrous part:
You know how a woman in lingerie is sexier than a naked woman? It’s the same sort of thing with this. A backless dress just means business.
Business, eh? We’re guessing she doesn’t mean the kind that takes place in boardrooms. How lovely to imply that women with bare backs sell their bodies for cash!
You know, there’s a lot of talk about reclaiming negative words and repurposing them as emblems of strength. If Kate Young was trying to do that with the term in question, we’d applaud her efforts. But throwing out the word “slutty,” stripping it of meaning with the “in a good way” disclaimer, and then using it to propagate outrageously judgmental, outmoded, and flat-out incorrect standards doesn’t do anyone any favors.
Least of all us—we have a holiday party coming up, and we still have no idea what to wear.