Extreme Fashion

Leandra Medine is a freelance writer and founder of fashion blog, The Man Repeller. She's written for Lucky, Harper's Bazaar, New York Magazine, The New York Post, styled for Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Nylon, Bloomingdales, and has been profiled in The New York Times. She graduated from The New School with a degree in journalism in May 2011. Her blog currently hosts 1.2 million views a month, over 50,000 a day.


Animalistic Behavior

Here’s a serious question: do you remember elementary school classes reserved entirely to raise endangered species awareness? I do. One time I bought a t-shirt with a gorilla on the front that read “To Be or Not to Be.” I thought the Shakespeare quote under a hairy face was somewhat funny but my mother was not amused by my using the entirety of the only money I was allotted each week to purchase the tee. I suppose that right there is actually quite telling. Carrie Bradshaw may have skipped meals for Vogue but my twelve year old self was all about them mens sized monkey tees. Today though, wildlife preservation comes far easier. A certain swimwear brand has taken the notion of using ones body to celebrate endangered species (among other things like the Eiffel Tower and James Dean) and fashioned a statement.



Eureka! I’ve had my neon eye on the kitschy one-piece bathing suits fostered by We Are Handsome and have been meaning to throw these freaks on to Man Repeller for a while. I quite like this particular puppy face. With the ambiguous 90 degree days that come and go and a more recent advance: Moda Operandi hosting a week long trunk show for the aforementioned brand, I figured there’s no better time than now. See? Bear ass, literally. No moon shine here, pal. Black tiger, seaplanes, Scuba Steve, snow leopards, and an American Beauty inspired one piece. Now if that’s not expert man repelling beach side, do share. What is?

Also, should I get one for Pete? I’m thinking metaphysical flamingo on flamingo.


Compact Packing

Today we will discuss the luxury of packing in small.  A period piece, if you will. Here, here to the alienation of an entire species. Glad we got this out of the way. On to the purse: When I bought this little guy–composed of three small pouches snapped together and featuring a long arm strap–I wondered whether all my shit would fit inside it. Figure two phones, one fat wallet, the obligatory arm adds, house keys, an array of tampons and chapstick. As it happened, they did. And then some. Anti-biotics, on the rare occasion: mascara, larger cuffs than I had anticipated and even nun-chucks in one instance.

A Mary-Poppins bag, eureka! It got me thinking about how much space we really need and whether Olsen-sized handbags are necessary. I grazed upon this notion in a conversation about the minaudiere a few weeks ago but it’s a little ambitious to assume we as women will put down the luggage in favor of some weird ass shell-shaped boxes, for the everyday at least. I concluded that there’s something somewhat magical about roaming around without the entirety of your belongings strapped into your purse and onto your shoulder. The end of a posture fail, for one thing. But even if just for the sake of zen. Women often refer to the contents of their bags as their “lives” but should a mass of clutter confined into a big sack of your belongings really describe your life? Maybe you’re ultra-neat and crumbled paper receipts don’t infiltrate the insides of your purses but for the sake of my own sanity, I’ll assume you’re not and suppose that perhaps the answer to excess rummaging could be easily solved by a purse half the size. It’s just a thought though. Can you believe that two entirely different words can be cultivated by the differentiation of just one T? Weird.

What do you think?  Celine purse, MR DANNIJO cuff.


Aren’t these Jewels Ironic?

A recent appreciation for lip adorned chokers, bracelets, hoops sprawled an entire investigation that would look to the type of jewelry that has subjectively created a unique niche and sincere fan base. This ultimately equals success and so we can assume the brands in question are doing something right. The common denominator in those speculated is irony. And why? Because the beautiful, lust worthy fashion jewelry of today doesn’t translate beautiful and lust worthy when the item in question isn’t, you know, jewelry. It’s the weird details and imperfections that make them perfect injected with an important dose of rawness. Let me explain. Bugs, skulls, bullets, safety pins, roaches, eyeballs and you know I love a good pair of lips, for example: cool when dipped in gold, silver, brass, ox brass, you know how it goes. When in raw form, however, either mundane–cue the safety pin, or grotesque, cue the roach.

Noir batman studs, hand cuff, pelican ring. Delfina Delettrez column cuff, lips. Jennifer Fisherbullet ring, angel wing bracelet, safety pin ring. Aurelie Bidermann snake and leaf ringsMr Katebark bracelets, Made her Think studs with nail. DANNIJO skull earrings. Bijules cockroach brooch.

So what is it about us and weird jewelry. The trend’s skeleton, so to speak, has been there a long time: snake, bug, skull silhouettes are costume staples at very least but the rest of it–why? Take a look at the Man Repeller and Dannijo collaboration. Six styles of jewelry, all adorned by eyes–and that wasn’t particularly a play on evil eyes. It’s actually more a salute to eyeballs in general, a sort of spin on aliens in outer-space, our taking the mundane and making it beautiful, giving eyes a way to look around, even when they’re not looking. Ya di ya di ya. This difficultly has no answer except maybe the transgression of irony in different fashion scopes but I really defer to you to figure out why we’re so enthused by the boring and grotesque in matters of wrist, finger, neck-wear. You’re up.


An Almost Cinderella Story

…If Cinderella didn’t wear that head band with her hair in an ambiguous chignon, and opted for ripped denim in place of an animated pouffy dress. Also, if Cinderella wasn’t Lizzie McGuire. And finally, if and only if Cinderella had fat feet and one particularly chubby pinky toe. I am who I am, people and this is the modern day telling of an old fairy fail tale. So many adaptations have been had, what’s one more:

Once upon a time there was a girl and while her story line did not include a certain evil step mother or equally evil sisters, it did include rags. Intentional rags though, cut outs and holey t-shirts were all the rage. Figure it a statement and less an obligatory method of dress. One day she almost met a man but before she could introduce herself, he dropped dead. Well, did not really drop dead but pretended that he did so she would go away. Her face was weird, highly accessorized accessories even weirder. As a result, she was all:

“What happened to you!” Evidently, he did not think his plan out all that well because after a while she learned he was still breathing. Eventually, he opened his eyes and proceeded to stand. She was thrilled that her ripped jeans had ostensibly resurrected him and once he could look past the particularly over-sized tee and recognized how darling she was as a mammal contributing to society in a very meaningful way, he asked out for burritos at Chipotle. She couldn’t go so they planned to meet that evening for instead a drink.

This garnered a la-di-da-di-da-I’m-so-happy song from her and her hair and then she realized she would need to get dressed and so get dressed she did with the help of a magical pumpkin. This wasn’t just any magical pumpkin though, this pumpkin had to power to transform itself into a sack shaped dress of any designer, make holes holier and high waists higher. A repelling pumpkin, if you will. Ultimately though, she didn’t change at all: baggy jeans and a large tee would do, she thought. Plexiglas shoes, too. After all, they would ultimately be the only string that tied this terribly configured story to Cinderella.

She waited at a service entrance, smile on face. Waited and waited and waited and waited and waited and then did some more waiting until she realized that she was being stood up. Stood up, I tell ya. He’s a no show. To take her mind off the notion that she had just become Cinder-no-fella, she played with her accessories and cultivated a new-age arm party that would, with a small sized hard shell purse, or clutch, or minaudiere, whatever, equipped with arm strap, wrap around her arm to pioneer the neo-arm party.

It was fun, a grand success if you will. One that deserved at least a singular thumbs up.

And so a thumbs up she did procure. From herself. Eventually, she left the service entrance more whole than when she had first arrived despite the current status: singular. On her walk home all she could think was: thank heavens I didn’t lose one o’my shoes, for she didn’t have the time to let a fake dead man wander around with her single Phillip Lim Orsay sandal, try it on many a foot to only weeks later have it returned to its rightful owner. Fairy tales are for babies anyway, she thought.

And so, Cinder-no-fella lived happily ever after. She and her Plexiglas shoes.
Maybe we can call this the first shoppable screenplay, unequipped in dialogue? Sorry, Azelia Banks. Credits: Acne jeans, L’Agence t-shirt, DANNIJO and Jennifer Fisher necklaces, 3.1 Phillip Lim sandals, Aurelie Bidermann lip adorned bracelet, Ferragamo clutch. All photos by Naomi Shon, text by my brain.

Sunnies So White

I hate myself for calling sunglasses, sunnies and even more for merging the fake word and story to create this dumb title. Maybe you hate me too but soon you’ll forget all of that and we will be party rocking in the house tonight. Yes, everybody will just have a good time. I digress. I’ve done pertinent stories on white shoes and then on white clothes, I suppose it’s only natural that a progression to white accessories–namely sunglasses–would follow. The infatuation started with a look at Celine’s classic wayfarer/cat eye hybrid lens in a very stark and opaque shade of white. I tried them on, the outcome read more elegant than it did wacky and so I got to thinking about the lenses and noticed that no frames I could account for in recent weeks didn’t include at least one pair of the white variety anymore. It seems they’re having a moment, but then again what isn’t? Call it a corresponding accessory for the fifties throwback, another salute to unexpected elegance among women or just simply an easy solution to summer-time man repelling when it’s too hot for layers. Whatever it is, the fact of the matter is simply that it’s good. And we are into good things.

Behold here, a selection of high and low, fancy and casual shades to induce the ideal white out. Ilove hate to make another reference to Coachella, but aren’t they surfacing at just the nick o’time? From left: Chanel pearl sunglasses–for when your phallic necklace needs a break. Prada Baroque sunglasses, $290. White furniture on your face, why not? ASOS round shades, $27. Linda Farrowsnakeskin–no, really–sunglasses, $725. At center: Dries van Awesome clad in green lens, $390, more of the Chanel variety, this time far more blatantly. Gucci square frames, $270. At right: Miu Miu, $340, Jeremy Scott white wings–and perhaps my favorite of the loot–$315, these, by ASOS are pretty fly too. And finally, a reliable pair of the good old Karen Walker sort, $250. Speaking of KW, this pair, not white, can bring new meaning to the cat-eye.

Give your face what it wants, dammit: a party. Will you give it a try?


Shoesday Stance

Though I hate to feed into the terribly on point stereotypes about myself, I’m a premature Carrie Bradshaw, shoe hoarder, freak who lives with parents in effort to afford shoes, juggler of many disposable talents, etc. What we have in the photographed below–won’t turn into a self evaluation of sorts–is the forerunning reason in form of platform that the chunky heel ain’t dead. In a sea of frail, elegant, near-ground heels, it’s quite refreshing to see (hehe) a shoe that may keep us far off the ground. And that notion just comes to show how quickly things can become fresh again in the fashion space. If this were a mere six months ago, these particular guys may have rendered dime a dozen, plain, a mere pun-induced step from Steve Madden knock off. Today though: sartorial genius. Now, the pertinent question here is: do I–and when I say I, I mean we–feed into this brand of trend, right now?


It was only but a couple months ago that I was advocating the return of pumps. It should be noted that Rochas is, however, most certainly having a moment. I’d even argue it’s one of the more relevant design houses in fashion right now. The silhouette is likely not going anywhere–you remember the chunky Miu Miu loafers clad in different sized cinder-block of the exotic skin variety that were shown for next Fall, right? Longevity, check. But is this a case of rose colored eye-wear skewing the image before us? I think not but my opinion is only as valuable at the thoughtfulness you inject into it, so, do offer your sense (and cents.) No, really, they’re $850. ViaNet-a-Porter. Discuss.


Shoes Are Actually a Girl’s Best Friend

Chanel pumps, Current/Elliott jeans. Photos by Naomi Shon


This week in a new installment called Shoesday: green cap toe, navy body, subtle glitter, dark wood. While working on my Russell co-Branded bookie wookie, I got to thinking about the relationship we have with our feet and the shit that goes on them. Maybe you remember the corresponding tweet attached to this sentiment. I have a few theories and speculations about why we’re willing to drop such large loads–brands will only make their footwear as expensive as the consumer can handle and loads of these guys run up some $3,000 price tags–on the little leather, often uncomfortable critters ultimately meant for no use more imperative than to drag across floors. Across floors.



Many a time, they’re even in fact overlooked in the grand scheme of presence. But my theories are just, you know, theories and they include the usual roundabout confidence, suspension of disbelief, strive to role play as a means of escapism, you know how it goes. Sex and The City penetrated the notion of a woman’s relationship with shoes quite heavily during the course of its six season run. In one episode, Carrie Bradshaw went so far as to fake nuptials with herself so as to regain a pair of lost silver Manolo Blahniks. In another, she had a pair stolen off her feet, literally. I’ll argue she deserved that one for not knowing where Houston Street was but that’s another beast to tackle at a later time. More recently, an entire movie–God Save our Heels–debuted during fashion week to outline the female attraction to expensive footwear. I saw it, I liked it–quite a lot–but somehow, I still find the question unresolved: what is it with us women and our shoes?

Would love to hear what you think.


So Clutch

I fell upon a photo of my arm from a Tommy Ton/Club Monaco hosted event last week and it got me thinking about handbags. The evolution of purse in recent years suggests ‘So Long Carry All’ been a long time coming. First it was a transition from the Olsen sized hobo to Olsen-sized clutch. Then it was a reintroduction of the pouchette of sorts–last summer’s favorite in particular:Alexander Wang’s Marion mini. Shortly thereafter Proenza Schouler’s smaller PS11 rendered more lust worthy than the previous PS1 and Celine’s trio, a triple zip threat will in time–here’s hoping–remove a certain large tote from the grand scheme of purse. While we see fashion reverting back to this place of sartorial modesty–silhouettes are far more reminiscent of the 50s than they are this decade–it only makes sense that the minaudiere would see shining time again too.
Here’s me. Re: minaudiere, that’s the formal word, as taught to me by the experts at Ferragamo, for baby-ass-clutch. Somewhere along this stream of consciousness I remembered that over fashion week I’d been trotting a small satin clutch and it was then that I resolved, not much more space than the allotted there is all that necessary. Forget the chunky wallet and spare pair o’shoes, various sorts of lotion, battery chargers, prosthetic limbs, etc. When push comes to shove the imperative remain: credit card, cellphone, tampon. Boom, ladies night! Below here find a few variations of the small silhouette no longer reserved exclusively for swanky evening parties.

From top, left: Alexander McQueen, Diane von FurstenbergBCBG Max AzriaBrunoGivenchy,Lena Erziak, Judith Lieber. Credit given where credit is due: Alexander McQueen never saw nor accepted a death to the minaudiere–this particular version features a nice disconnect: utility suede on hard shell. Judith Lieber (bottom right,) cultivated an entire business on Swarovski adorned ornaments of sorts. And mixed among the aforementioned, you’ll find a few more options for when you’re ready to retire the massive sack. I am particularly keen on that little blue to pink ombre guy at right and the lucite apple, mid-bottom. Images via StylespottingJak & Jil.


Winter Backlash

We thought for just one moment you may have been taking a back seat this year in favor of more layering for the sake of layering not just for the sake of warmth but you did us wrong, Motha Nature. I told you that bi-polar season may mandate winter’s comeback at the drop of a snow flake. And while I spent the weekend radiating skin and what have you in Mexico it was somewhat debilitating to return home and get smacked by a cold front. I’m just kidding though, it actually felt quite nice: I’m vibing rouge-tomate chic right now and a little cold is good for that. So here’s a little look at the happenings of my balcony on this fine Tuesday morning, where the limbs freeze like botox. I feared this outfit may have rendered irrelevant when last week summer swooped in but alas, wrong. Sweaters, turtlenecks, inconspicuous hair and the obligatory high five seem to be an appropriate outfitting method of choice again.

Turtlenecks, not just for turtles. Thumbs up, not just for Terry Richardson. Silver shoes, not just for moon men. Tassels, not just for nipples. Slits, not just for hookers–or a crafts project, these come slit and finally, standing up right twenty six stories high: not just for birds.

Fupas, not just for mom jeans. La di da di da, look at me, I can’t see, la di da di da. I love movement and photos that capture it. My name is Man Repeller, bla bla turban. It’s a little bit pajama, a little bit convention, a little bit ethnic and a whole lot weird.

Vince turtleneck, Alexander Wang sweater, Asos pants, Alexander Wang shoes, Antik Batik clutch.
And finally, here it is all together. This may actually serve as a sort of good lesson in living in New York, dressing the part–that is to say not experimenting with very much color that doesn’t fall on the black through white palette–and still repelling. You’ve got to admit there’s something very Christmas-at-grandmas about a sweater and turtleneck paired this way. Really though, you’ll have to admit it because I don’t do Christmas unless Jewdolph the culturally ambiguous reindeer says I could. Crickets, crickets. Me thinks I left my sense of humor in Mejico. At least it’s somewhere though. Rrrrrriba. Photos by Naomi Shon.

A Gloomy “Blah”

The other day I tweeted a call for help that went like this: “hey! Let’s play a game called help me write my book, content suggestions welcome!” Exclamation points and everything. The game is still not over so do take this opportunity should you feel so inclined to interject an idea or two in the comment box below low low and behold hold hold. The feedback was great, appreciated, smart and funny, I particularly liked one idea though, not necessarily for the sake of a book filled with words not photos, but rather for right here, where dreams are made and crushed in one instantaneous click. The suggestion fell somewhere along the lines of a demonstration that outlines a how to of sorts: dress for “blah” days.  It’s a problem we all fall victim to, right? Blame it on the general notion of feeling uninspired or simply your body begging you to sit down and stop trying to socialize. Regardless, this morning when I woke up I looked out the window and saw hazy, grey, blah. Eureka! Here you have it: dressing for days you will inevitably feel like poopoo.

The science to it is a simple one: take your favorite garments from their respect genres–meaning, favorite top, favorite bottom, favorite shoe, favorite hair implant–and throw it all together. See what you get. Sometimes it works, often it doesn’t–and when this happens is usually the best. Still wear it. I have a general affinity for utility anything so that takes care of the blouse, white pants seem to be making all my outfits better this month and these are shoes with a happy story attached. Not much color, no, but there are bracelets. Add glasses if you have them, they bring character to the face and often hide whatever grotesqueness you’re projecting onto yourself. I am particularly keen on these guys because one of my eyebrows is obviously lower than the other and so it peeks into my frame. Still with me?

Joseph blouse, Paige Denim jeans, Alaia sandals, Reece Hudson clutch, Warby Parker glasses

Finally, boogie with your legs. Leg with your boogies. These photos were actually shot about a month ago and meant to illustrate the emulating of a certain someone. Can you guess who? The hint is, she really, really, really likes J. Crew. All photos by Naomi Shon, durrrr.