Thursday, December 23, 2010

Downplaying Girly Looks

John Marine | 12/23/2010 04:30:00 AM | |
(UPDATED: March 29, 2012)

Some people think there's a limit to how girly a female can dress. Some prefer seeing girly cute mixed in with some edgy pieces to show some character. Almost as if everything has to have some rock influence... including very cute looks. Some think a girl can only look so cute. And somehow, looking too cute or being too pretty in looks is a no-no, so you HAVE to go with something tough to not allow people to think of you as soft. I am someone who thinks a girl can look as tough or as cute as she wants to without anyone or anything telling her to show some toughness in her fashion.

But... if you're one who prefers showing some edge to offset cute/pretty looks, if you think there is a limit to how cute you can look, if you think every female should be and dress tough or rock-esque and stop trying to look cute/pretty... this is your blog post.


MAR 29 2012 - updated look of entire post and made a few edits

Before I begin with this section, let me backtrack to a related blog post. This will help set the mood before discussing what it is I want to discuss here.

(the following taken from "Bringing Pretty Back")

--- Why So Tough? ---

The main reason why to me is that no one tends to care about looking girly and cute. Everything's all about trying to be hard and rock and dark all the time (or at least most of the time). Whatever happened to just looking happy and cheery with fashion? But no, it has to be ditching floral designs in favor of skulls, fishnets, and combat boots. It has to be about being hard ALL the time.

This also goes back to me just thinking about rays of sunshine- positive looks apart from the negatives. Isn't it happy (and different) seeing soft colors and designs in fashions apart from anything trashy? Not a lot want to look and dress happy. Either that, or some just think that soft style is dead in favor of hardness. Or maybe some are scared or uncomfortable dressing up in subtle and chic fashions.

In fashion, we reward people who try to be daring and bold with their fashions. I think most fashion critics have no problem seeing the most gorgeous pieces on females of various ages. I remember one time watching "Fashion Police" on the E! Network once (I am a fan of Fashion Police), I can recall one of the hosts (especially Jay Manuel) being bored with the soft fashions and want to see some hardness. It is very possible to look hard and stylish at the same time. I think a lot of people just get bored of soft styles and want to go with some tougher styles. You can be tough with your styles, but I don't think anyone will really question your toughness just because you wear soft clothes and colors. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself without saying anything. You can't pass judgment on someone based on how they dress. So therefore, there is a need for some to go with tough fashions.

--- Bringing Pretty Back ---

Before I begin, I'd like to say that there is nothing wrong with looking either sweet or tough. It's just that I sometimes become a bit... not bored, but sad that not as many girls become enamored with looking cute. It's almost as if looking cute and stylish is boring and that rocker chic is the way to go. That's why I've been a bit disappointed a few years ago when fewer girls were wearing sundresses. It's almost as if a timeless feminine garment gave way to mostly denim mini skirts. I have nothing against mini skirts (or skirts in general), but the appeal of a basic sundress just seemed lost.

Times have since changed. Not as many girls that I see wear sundresses, but at least the sundress isn't dead. Why do I put so much emphasis on dresses? The main reason is because dresses have, and forever will be, a staple of beauty for any female of any age and of any size. I remember watching some very old episodes of The Maury Show in which boyish-looking teen girls wanted to get makeovers to make them more feminine and cute. I remember Maury asking if certain boyish girls ever wear dresses. This just shows the power and style of a basic dress. There are some females not comfortable with dresses. Heck, some aren't even comfortable in skirts. Why is a dress so celebrated? A dress is feminine and beautiful. The flow and charm of wearing a dress speaks to high volumes of femininity and feminine charm. I think dresses speak of great beauty that some skirts can't even equate to. Nothing wrong with skirts, but dresses can be absolutely beautiful. Taylor Swift wears dresses proudly and beautifully. This, even though Taylor once admitted she lacked the confidence to wear dresses because of her tall (she's 5 feet, 11 inches tall; she's just one inch shorter than my six feet, 0 inch height) frame. To read more about Taylor Swift and how she used to feel about wearing dresses before becoming more confident wearing them, read this Taylor Swift article on

Perhaps I am too much of an old-fashioned thinker. Maybe that's why I haven't accepted things like skulls (which I've personally never liked) and especially how fashions have tried to make skulls trendy, especially in the mid-late 2000s. However, I heard the whole skull trend was mostly based on pirate-based style. As for studs, I've been very okay with studs on various garments and accessories.

After reading this backtrack of thoughts of mine, now comes the main course of this blog post- downplaying girly looks. This is the real substance and meat of this blog post.

--- Downplaying Girly Looks: Discussion Thoughts ---

Some believe that there is a such thing as looking too girly. Some others even think one should downplay girly looks by wearing some tough garments. Some feel one has to add some element of fierceness to avoid looking too soft and cute. How do you pull this off? What qualifies as being too girly in looks, to where you need to wear something tough to offset cute looks?

NOTE: Please comment to this blog post after being done reading. I want to try to get some discussion going to have some more involvement to my blog.

--- Downplaying Girly Looks ---

Here are a few ways one can downplay looking very girly or cute. I may add more ways in future posts depending upon traffic and attention I get to this blog post.

Cute Dress/Skirt... With Tough Shoes.

girly dress or skirt with tough shoes
^ from: - girly meets tough example, courtesy of Hannah Montana.

There is no greater dichotomy in fashion than to add tough to cute. I find nothing remotely "cute" about a girly dress or skirt with tough shoes like combat boots. It is different to wear tough shoes with a cute dress or skirt as opposed to some chic shoes. However, I am just not as keen about combat boots or any tough lace-up boots to accompany a girly outfit.

Show some hardness by wearing a soft dress with some hard shoes. Sometimes, the combination of a girly outfit with tough shoes can equal a surprisingly chic outfit. Some people get the misconception that combat boots (like of the Doc Martens variety) are only for those in the Goth and rock subculture. So imagine wearing some tough shoes to go along with a cute outfit. Some girls like showing this tough edge to compliment their girly dresses and skirts.

Chictopia has an article on how to dress combat boots. Here are ways to wear combat boots according to the Chictopia article:
* pair with a feminine outfit
* dress down a formal dress
* channel Yohji Yamamoto
* go full '90s grunge
* keep it simple

Personally, if I were a girl, I would NEVER downplay a party dress or cocktail dress with fishnet tights/leggings and combat boots. If I were a girl in a party dress, I'd be foolish to go rock or Goth by wearing fishnets and/or combat boots (or some other bold boots). A party dress is all about looking and feeling feminine and fun, and fishnets with some kind of tough boots just doesn't make sense. Alternatively, there are some chic ankle boots that would go great with a party dress to offer a sexy look. I'd save fancy dresses and tough boots for any Goth-inspired looks.

You can read more on each item on Chictopia by clicking here: How to Wear Combat Boots.

From, there is an old thread that was somewhat my inspiration for discussing girly outfits with tough shoes. Have a look here: Tough shoes with dainty dresses

The Motorcycle Jacket.

motorcycle jacket
^ from:, by way of - A motorcycle jacket paired with a top, a mini skirt, tights, and ankle boots.

Even if you don't ride a motorcycle, a quick way to add toughness is to go with a motorcycle jacket. A motorcycle jacket quickly adds some edge to your look. You may be wearing a cute dress and decide to go with a motorcycle jacket for some toughness. Often times, you can still be incredibly chic without being too tough style-wise. Want to add a little more edge? Go with a chic pair of ankle boots rather than go with some pumps or sandals.

Cropped Leather Jacket.

cropped jacket
^ from: - a cropped jacket, let alone cropped leather jackets, make for great garments to show girly charm while also expressing some toughness.
A cropped leather jacket is a nice way to still have girly charm while not looking too tough. Cropped jackets and boleros allow you to keep your shoulders and arms warm. Nothing is more girly than a cropped jacket or vest, and a cropped leather jacket is that right mix of girly and tough.

I couldn't find too many good images to use online for these next parts in my initial post, so just read along the rest of this post (unless I find good pictures to use in future edits).

Fishnets and Combat Boots.

Quickly go from "good girl" to "good girl with an evil edge" by going with fishnets and combat boots. When I prepared my "Party Time!" blog post while seeking inspiration from YouTube, one video suggested wearing a cocktail dress with fishnet stockings and combat boots.

Studs and Grommets.

Studs and grommets are instant toughness items, especially studs on black leather. They add some extra "bad girl" touch. I don't see too many of them worn anymore, but I remember when belts with grommets all around were popular to wear among many females. Studs and grommets on various garments and accessories provide that touch of toughness. Depending on the garment and how it's styled, it's possible to be chic and tough at the same with either/or studded and/or grommeted items.

Be Fierce!

Fierce fashion as meant as a happy medium between feminine and tough. Rather than soft and simple pieces, it's all about being and feeling hard. Boldness is the way to go in being fierce.

Edgy and Bold Hairstyles.

If you've read my vastly popular "Long Hair" blog post, you know that I find long hair to be very beautiful. If you want to be edgy, though, you'll have to go with a bold hairstyle. It may mean getting rid of your long locks of hair to go with a bob-style hairstyle. Think of when Rihanna went from her lovely hair to her edgy bob. Sometimes, a dramatic hairstyle instantly adds some edgy appeal. Since "Curly is Cute" as I say, going in favor of non-curly hair adds edge as well.


Whether you love or loathe skulls (I personally dislike them and get sick of seeing them as skulls became trendy), strides have been made to make skulls wearable. Nothing says tough like seeing skulls or a skull and crossbone design or pattern. The late Alexander McQueen specialized in making skulls fashionable. Again- I am not personally into skulls, but it is a great way to show some edge and toughness.

Go With Black Tough Outfits, Garments, and Makeup.

Black leather jackets, dark and smoky eye shadow, and things like that can instantly add edge. Black is almost always associated with toughness and character. That's even why you see people who love black-colored cars more than any other. It's a sign of character and toughness. This bit of advice basically encapsulates some or most of what has been discussed here.

Maybe the most important thing in trying to add some edge...

Be Confident in Expressing Boldness/Edginess.

If you're trying to be stylishly tough, the best thing you can do is express your bold style with confidence. Remember- confidence is the best accessory for ANY fashionable outfit.

These are some of a few ways to add some edge.

--- Final Thoughts and Discussion ---

Just to say one last time- rock your style however you please. It's okay to dress and look cute, sexy, tough, or whatever your heart desires. I am providing all of this to you all as a digest of fashion. And in so, I'm trying to be mostly neutral. I know when I started introducing fashion to my blog, I know that I wanted to offer my own commentary to where I am responsible for myself in discussing fashion whether you agree with my points or not. I guess I am too careful to avoid saying something that will get a friend of mine or fan of mine upset. But again- this is my blog, and I am responsible for myself and my views. So I am sorry for posting something you may not agree with. These are still my own opinions. You are an individual with your own sense of style. So wear your style proudly!

Do some of you females (and even some of you males) think there is a such thing as a female being too girly or too cute? If so, should a cutely-dressed female add some edge? How do some of you females reading this blog add some edge to your fashions (if you do)? If you do think there is no such thing as being too girly or cute, are you offended when someone thinks you dress too soft?

Thank you for reading!

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