Thursday, 23 February 2012

Leandra the Man Repeller

One of my favourite websites to check out everyday is called 'The Man Repeller'. It is written by quirky New Yorker, Leandra Medine, and relates to all things fashion in particular, outfits and clothing that "man repel".

"Man repelling" is a term that Leandra and a friend came up with when they realized that Leandra's way of dressing, while very fashion-forward and inventive, was not something that men really respond to. As she creatively explains on her site:


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.
–verb (used without object),-pell·ing, -pell·ed.
to commit the act of repelling men:
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?
*DISCLAIMER: the above conversation is not a dramatization, took place in this room 5 minutes ago.

I love the way Leandra writes. Her voice is different from many other fashion bloggers in that she doesn't take herself too seriously, and coyly acknowledges that putting outfits together is not finding the cure for cancer. However, she expresses her opinions about personal style intelligently and in a way that anyone can relate to. There is no need to know the intimate details about the latest collection from Chanel, for example, to enjoy her blog. She has a knack for speaking to her readers as though they are close friends, and is confident while at the same time blending a little charming self-deprecation. It is a delicate mix, but one that I feel she achieves with her dry sense of humour and strong writing skills.

Leandra's approach to the fashion world is also refreshing to me. She promotes the concept of women dressing for themselves first, which reaches into the feminist realm. Often fashion seems to be bogged down with expectations for women (size/weight, looks, brand-names to buy) so that they will  fit in with a stereotype of what is 'attractive'. It is nice to see someone who believes that women shouldn't worry so much about how they are perceived by others when it comes to what they wear, but rather make themselves happy first and have fun with it.

At the tender age of 21, Leandra and her website were profiled in the New York Times' Fashion & Style section, which identified that her site has drawn an increasing amount of attention from New York's fashion elite and glossy magazines. This growing interest in her work aside, I enjoy the fact that Leandra remains true to herself. There are no air-brushed photos or attempts to look completely perfect from her hair to her toes. Sometimes she looks beautiful and glamourous, sometimes plain; however, despite an ever-broadening audience, she remains confident in her self and her vision.


  1. This is a fantastic website. It's great to see that there are women in the world promoting fashion and self image as something to be enjoyed and to be creative with. Too much media bombards us with ‘advice’ on how to keep up with to the latest trends or on what to wear, eat, drink, think, how to loose weight, fix our hair in order to attract men. I really hope she continues to use photographs that aren’t airbrushed and that she continues to gain attention from media such as the New York Times and Harpar Bazzar. Truly inspiring.

    I thought you might be interested in a website I cam across recently called Body Gossip, They are currently running a campaign where they showcase people’s poems, stories, raps, songs in digital and traditional media. There are stories about ageing, adolescence, pregnancy illness, injury, piercings, ethnicity, eating disorders, and plastic surgery.

    It is great to see digital media being used in a creative way for a good cause.

  2. Thanks so much, Clare! This looks like a fantastic site. I'm really interested in voices/sites on the web that provide alternatives to the traditional portrayal/role of women in media.