Fashion Advice Doubles As Deprogramming

Hadley Freeman, the Guardian's fashion writer, is usually on point, and never more so than when she addresses the concerns of a reader who hopes to achieve a "vulnerable Bambi-esque aesthetic" via "coltish" ankle boots:

Writes Freeman,

A couple of years ago, a fashion magazine ran the archetype, perhaps even the originator, of the kind of articles to which you refer in your question. In it, the fashion journalist explained that she loved ankle boots because she admired that "baby fawn learning how to walk" look. Now, this is surely the apotheosis of fashion magazine insanity, one that makes me want to throw one across the room and bellow, "Holy cats! Have I just eaten a big plate of crazy for lunch? I know this writer hasn't done so, because lunch doesn't do one's baby fawn-like legs any favours. Saints a-fricking-live!"

Listen, Hope. Fashion is supposed to be about giving grown women self-confidence, pleasure and maybe even a strut in their stride. It is not supposed to make them want to resemble baby animals who can barely walk across the room. This seems to be an increasingly common misconception. While long legs are, granted, aesthetically pleasant, it does not follow that these legs need to be thin to the point of vulnerability. Similarly, I would contend that looking like you can barely walk because your skinny-winny legs can barely support ickle* (a word that, when I am queen of the world, I shall ban) you is not quite as fabulous as certain fashion magazines, or at least certain fashion writers, seem to think.

On the subject of ankle boots, she's more equivocal since, as she points out, different boots will produce different effects. Her larger point stands: why would you want to achieve such absurdity in the first place? We know why, of course: for the same reason women have worn hoop-skirts and bustles and corsets: to increase the appearance of femininity by emphasizing helplessness. I speak as a committed lover of heels - but only those one can walk in. The Big Baby look has never spelled "sexy" to me. And if we're talking Bambi here, let's not forget that his enemy is Man - and that plenty of parents don't let young children watch it - it can be scarring. Just like toppling off ankle boots.

*Twee British slang for "little"

Is A Vulnerable Bambi-ish Look Desirable [Guardian]