Welcome to Refinery29’s So What’s It Really Like? where we take a look at all the topics that have the internet talking. Studying them closely, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try a trend like a tie, a viral product or an unexpected TikTok hack.
I never paid much attention to tape. On men, I always preferred the look of a bow tie to a tie, which I long considered to be just a swinging accessory that added nothing to an outfit and made me discourage any partner from wearing one. Still, I found myself drawn to a look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 collection that included a striped tie, paired with an oversize bomber jacketand – as many fashion fans can tell you – was unable to stop thinking about sports in September.
Ties on women are nothing new. Its history of the female body goes as far back as the 19th century. Figures such as the French writer Amantine Dupin, who wrote under the pen name George Sandwore ties to subvert ideals of femininity while the Gibson girl the look became popular in the early 1900s, thanks to the depictions of artist Charles Dana Gibson, who drew women wearing ties. The tie also became a symbol of suffrage movement in the 20th century, when women had the accessories to emulate masculine styles, when they started working in white collar. According to National Museum of American History, wearing feminine styles in the office “will suggest that you were there to catch a man, not do serious work.” In the 1980s and 1990s, it became a staple of celebrities such as Princess Diana and Diane Keaton, who regularly wore ties with button-down shirts and high-waisted trousers. Later in the Y2K era, others, like Avril Lavigne and Britney Spears, reworked it from business attire to pop culture subversion, pairing the accessory with baggy jeans, mini skirts and white tank tops.
I first tried a tie around that era, then Mexican telenovela Rebels first premiered and showed prep school teenagers in A uniform that included mini skirts, suspenders and a tie. While I mimicked their look constantly, the mini skirt and boots resonated with me much more than the tie and so I never wore it. It wasn’t until the Louis Vuitton Fall 2022 collection was revealed that I started to think that I might just need to find some new inspiration – and so far there’s been no shortage of it.
Take e.g. High snobbery editor-in-chief Willa Bennettwho is notorious for his use of ties (she has collected over 100 ties!), which she often combines with white button-down shirts, blazers and loafers. Or on fall 2022 runwaysincluding lineups from designers such as Ralph Laurenwhich featured models wearing tuxedo-like outfits with ties, as well as plaid coats with neck accessories, or Louis Vuittonwhich included a range of menswear-inspired three-piece looks accessorized with ties that transformed them as an “it-item” for today’s youth. Thom Browne, a designer known for his impeccable, avant-garde tailoring, also showed models wearing sports shorts and striped ties, paired with deconstructed suits. The Spanish singer Rosalía also served as an inspiration a recent Prada look who mixed a schoolgirl miniskirt with loafers and a black tie.
Still, the accessories looked foreign to me. Since I didn’t know how to integrate it into my everyday wardrobe yet, I chose to try it at a time when every fashion editor is flexing their styling muscles to the limit: New York Fashion Week.
It was the fourth day of the show, a time when I usually reach for sneakers over a dressy tie. But I grabbed mine anyway—a $7 black version that I got from Amazon to test the trend—and chose to pair the accessory with a white button-down shirt dress with an asymmetrical hem, black Mary Janes, and a red shoulder bag. The dress was a great starting point to venture into this trend as the feminine silhouette allowed me to easily contrast two sides of my personality (and style) in one outfit.
And then I left the apartment. On the way to the train I was pleasantly surprised at how powerful I felt with the tie and wondered ifpower suit” mentality extends to this accessory as well. When I finally arrived at the show, I was showered with compliments. “I love the tie,” complimented one editor. Another confessed that they now want to try it after seeing my outfit. And while I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I was essentially wearing the uniform of a theater usher, I had to admit that I was into it.
I still can’t tie a tie without a YouTube tutorial, but I have a new tool in my style arsenal. After a lifetime of stealing from my mother’s ultra-feminine closet, maybe next time I visit home I can read my father’s too.
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