15 People Told Me What They Thought of My Outfit

Haley Nahman | October 17, 2016

Cool idea: ask strangers to judge you!

grown-ass-woman-month-series-man-repeller

1. “It’s not my style, I think you look a little crazy,” is what one woman told me between drags of her cigarette. She was 35ish, outfitted in sweats and supremely interested in the air directly behind me, which I respected.

I had run into her while I was wandering around Nolita in a colorful getup plucked straight from the imagination of Leandra Medine. See above for a skirt over pants and elaborate ribbon contraptions parading as shoes. My purpose? To essentially accost people for their unabashed opinions. Why? Amazing question.

The short answer is Leandra made me do it. This has happened before. The long answer is we talk a lot about communicating with our clothes here at Man Repeller, but how often do we really know what we’re saying? Or rather, what people are hearing? It was time to break the fourth wall and let the spectators do the talking for once.

Q for the people of Nolita! What’s your first impression of this outfit?

2. “You have a lot of style. You’ve got to have confidence to wear that,” one hip dude told me through his diamond grill. “I work in style, though, so I look at things differently. I don’t like the jeans under the skirt but I think you pulled it off pretty effortlessly. The Coveteur would think you’re killing it.” I asked if he worked at The Coveteur and he said no. Jury’s out, then, on why in the world he said that. My ego liked him immensely regardless.

3. “Uh, it looks like you made it,” a youngish construction worker told me. He meant in the craft project way, in case you weren’t sure. “I’m not really into that hipster stuff,” he explained. “I just like black and gray.”

4. One 65-year-old British woman begged to differ. “It’s really nice!” she told me as she breezed past towards the several better things she clearly had to do (in a cool way). “Just really nice. Colorful! Not crazy, very very colorful.” Thank you and love you and see you later!

5. & 6. Bless these older/wiser people. “Exciting,” is how one middle-aged man from the Midwest described my entire look. His wife: “My first impression is WOW. New York!” Loved her a lot.

7. This was precious: A Danish man in his 70s said I looked happy. My eyes lit up. “In other towns, you’d look crazy,” he said. My eyes narrowed. “But not in New York. In New York you look happy.” Eyes lit up! This was an emotional roller coaster.

8. The backhanded compliments were coming in hot. A young barista with a Spanish accent told me, “It’s really cute. I love the colors. It’s really fall. You look like a blogger. ” I asked what he meant. “Like maybe you’re trying a little hard. But it’s good. The glasses remind me of a disco ball.”

Let’s discuss that in ten. I’m still processing.

9. Another kid on his lunch break accused me of peacocking. “I noticed you down the block,” he said, “But for me peacocking isn’t bad, it’s a cool thing. You were naturally standing out, in a good way.”

Side-eye award goes to the teens.

10. “Uh, I like it,” a young woman in a leopard coat tentatively said. “The shoes are really rad. The pants under the skirt is a little weird, but not in a bad way. When I first saw you I thought you were fashion-forward and adventurous.” Fashion-forward sounds like a cool thing to be! Adventurous, too. I’ll take both.

11. The pant-skirt combo continued to prove controversial, though. “First instinct is I really like the colors,” a girl told me from the confines of a cool yellow coat. “I was like ‘YES! People wearing colors on a gray rainy day!’ But then I saw the jeans-skirt combo and I was like ‘Hmmmm…’ It would totally be an A+ look in my book if you didn’t have the jeans.”

Totally fair. I liked her a lot. She had braces. So throwback.

12. Here’s a conversation I had with an Australian man, who was also concerned about the pants:

Him: I’m getting 1970s.

Me: In a good way or a bad way?

Him: In a weird way.

Me: Would you change anything?

Him: Uh yeah, probably everything.

Me: Oh my god I love that. Why?

Him: It’s just ridiculous!

Me: Is it the pants?

Him: Yes. And the skirt. The shoes too. And the glasses. The sweater is okay.

Me: So you think I’m a crazy person?

Him: Um, not crazy. Maybe just lacking fashion sense.

What’s actually crazy is how unsure I am about whether he’s right.

13. “You look awesome. Super styled!” said an older Isreali grandmother whom I now consider family. “It looks like you put a lot of thought into it, that’s the truth. I love love love love love the shoes, I really do. It looks like you made an effort. We come from Israel where originality is really really respected!” My cheeks flushed, my heart swelled, we’re having dinner this weekend.

14. & 15. The last conversation was my favorite though.

“I love it. It’s absurd. It’s a little ‘fashion victim’ but so am I!” said a woman wearing all black, clear frames and a leather jacket. “I mean, I don’t think you’ll get laid but you do look fun! You know what I mean? Like if I were a guy I totally wouldn’t fuck you.” I started laughing as she turned to her friend and asked what he thought.

“It’s awesome. It’s great. It’s a Thing, capital ‘T,'” he said from inside his drop-crotch shorts. “I mean, it could be a Thang but I think it’s a Thing,” I nodded because this somehow made sense. “The jeans definitely turned it into something. It’s confusing in all the right ways-”

“Who do you write for?” the woman cut in. I told her.

“Man Repeller? You ARE a Man Repeller! You are embodying the namesake!”

Styled by Leandra Medine; photos by Krista Anna Lewis.

  • Taste of France

    This is hilarious. The world would be boring if we all wore the same thing.

  • Harling Ross

    HALEY YOU LOOK BOMB

  • MG

    I honestly will never be able to get behind jeans under a skirt. Even in jest. I think I have ptsd from theater kids in middle school.

    • Same! The middle school flashbacks stop me every time

    • hilarious – I desperately want to make it happen!!! current wardrobe won’t let me be great. Also realised you can’t make it happen with casual shoes – a little height and some sens of formality on the foot is key

  • SC

    I LOVE the jeans, skirt, and shoes together. But I can’t get behind the sweater and how it connects to the rest of the outfit. Still a good lewk tho.

  • Elinor

    Love this. Love the outfit. Love the people.

  • Natalalaa

    Outfit inspo!!!

  • Sheba

    LOL, so funny. The colors are nice and bright but this outfit would be “trying to hard” for me. I do admire the courage.

  • Bailey Stark

    If I saw this outfit in the streets of New York I would run home immediately and try to recreate it.

    I love the all the different textures! The chunky sweater! The smooth leather skirt! DEMIN! The pink ruffle shoes! All of it is superb.

  • Ting Ting

    I love the feedback! Goes to show everyone thinks differently about what “well dressed” means. I think the outfit is great, but could do with a huge-ass shiny green belt. I love the shoes. Went to university in a frilly skirt over my jeans and a red wool cape last week and felt like a goldfish (the one from Pokemon with the sexy voice). I love my denims and I love my skirts, and some days double is just better.

    • Haley Nahman

      Lol. I love that you would add MORE.

  • Kelsey O’Donnell

    I love these bits. And Skirt, I’m in love with you. Call me?

    • Are you asking the skirt to call you?

    • Haley Nahman

      The skirt will wait three days and then call you

  • Ellie

    This is so fun! Can this be a regular thing????

    • Leandra Medine

      Yeah! Like 1x a quarter so we can tap into how the *~*people~*~ feel about our seasonal ideas

      • Stine Gammelager

        And please do a video! I loved the video you once did Leandra. Asking people in the streets. So fun to see how different people see different things in one outfit.

        • Rebecca Lake

          YES PLZ. capital everythang.

      • I’m so happy this is going to be a Thing (capital T).

      • elpug

        Thank you!!!

      • That sounds like a lot of fun! please, please do this
        http://www.talesonsilk.com

  • I think the glasses take it to another level. The shoes are my favorite thing in the universe right now.

    • Mallory

      The shoes are SO GOOD!

    • Haley Nahman

      They are SO Leandra

  • I like the look! But I personally wouldn’t wear the skirt over pants thing because I’ve tried and there’s just too much fabric for me to be comfortable in the midsection especially because the sweater is also tucked in.

  • grace b

    I LOVE THIS SWEATER. Hunting for it’s $5 doppelganger at Goodwill.

  • This is so much fun to read !

  • Andrea Raymer

    I love this outfit! I think it could also be fun to riff on this idea and go out in all designer and ask people how much they think the items cost.

    • Haley Nahman

      Haha, good idea. One girl did say “I can’t tell if this outfit costs a million dollars or three dollars….”

  • kitmcc

    I’m guessing the wearing it with confidence is pretty key to how people respond. It could alter ones initial response.

  • isa

    Really liked this post! people who are not in fashion are just the best at giving reports, not the bland “spice up the look”, “smart silhouette” that you can read in every single fashion article. that’s why i always look at runway looks with my brother!

    pd: leandra you look AMAZING on the shimmied ad! just saying

    • isa

      SHISEIDO ad*

  • Perla

    “I don’t think you’ll get laid but you do look fun ….You ARE a Man Repeller!” Loved this post!

  • T-Fierce

    Shocking that teens these days can’t appreciate a skirt over pants, while when *I* was a teen I thought skirts over pants were the height of fashion.

  • kevynryan

    Yeah i think my main objection is just that it looks cumbersome. But if you’re happy, I’m happy!

    • Haley Nahman

      Hahaha…that might be the way I’m carrying it…

  • Carrie Colbert

    Please make this a regular thing! I smiled and laughed through the whole article! Bravo.

    Carrie

    http://www.wearwherewell.com

  • Alyssa

    This is A – AMA -ZING- the outfit, the responses, everything! Please make it a regular thing ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
    I wish I could wear something like this, but I’m from New Zealand and I feel like I’d get given the side eye for sure! But its very fierce 🙌🏼

  • Billee

    Love the jeans. Love the shoes. don’t love the sweater. don’t like the skirt with or without the jeans. IMHO for patterns/prints to work they need elegance or whimsy which these lack. it isn’t the styling i don’t care for…its the individual pieces.

  • Rid

    I would’ve been like… “This… this looks so… ARE YOU FROM MAN REPELLER?!”

    • Haley Nahman

      I wish you’d been walking around Nolita!!

  • Romy Phillips

    Looks too busy and bulky. Love the shoes on their own with something simple–solid color pants or dress–any fabric.

  • Nikelle

    There’s that self-frayed jean, is this Leandra inspired by the 2013 post posted earlier on FB?

  • Selina Moses

    Some of these comments are brilliant. I say ditch either the jeans or the skirt but overall I quite like this outfit

  • this is awesome and I definitely need more. I might do this in Cape Town actually. People love to talk about how progressive and creative the city of Cape Town is, but outside of the Fringe and Woodstock (where most of the fashion/creative people work) I get the sense that this would go down much the same as above. So curious…

    Side note: typo in #13 – “I looks like” should be “It looks like”

    • Haley Nahman

      Please do this and report back!!!

  • Omg I wish I was walking around Nolita that day

    • Haley Nahman

      SAME

  • Shannon

    So fun. Haley, I would have taken the “trying to hard” comment a way also. It feels like someone is calling you out for caring too much even when you actually do care. It’s one of those things that feels like only I should be able to silently say it to myself but when someone else says it feels like judgment.

    I was real distracted by how great that haircut and color is though!

    • Haley Nahman

      Love you for saying that!! I’m low-key dying to change my hair….

  • Natasha

    Not original, I know – but I would also ditch the jeans and let the skirt do all the talking. Probably that’s just because my personal style skews a bit more simple. LOOOVE everything else.

  • Cristina

    I would say you look fun and happy too! Like, to each their own. I know what that person means by that blogger comment though, or at least I understand it. Here in the Midwest/South, most people encompass blogger fashion. There is no form of individuality, everyone looks like the next bangle wearing, pumpkin spice latte drinkin barrel curled hair matte lipstick tory burch boots mk bag wearing Instagram blogger.

  • xeniar

    You guys make me laugh so hard! Love your way with fashion! Keep up the good work and THANKS!!!!

  • Fezzers

    I always imagined jeans under a skirt in a very Indian salwar kind of way- it’s been basically centuries that we’ve worn split-side long tunics and either poofy or slim pants underneath, depending on current Indian fashion trends. I like this outfit but I imagine if I was to wear it the jeans would be tighter.

  • Fezzers

    On another note, how does one walk in mules? I used to do ballet and I feel like all those muscles are reengaging to keep my shoes on

  • Michela Galante

    “She had braces. So throwback.”

  • My first thought: Love the look!

    After the reading the comments: I realized this is totally the type of experimentation I did in college when I read Tavi’s original blog and Kingdom of Style and TUMBLR…you know, that whole Grandma meets Kindergartener aesthetic where you have at least one element pushing it over the edge.

    Basically to say, I still love this look, but it’s true, if I were to see this outfit on the street, I’d think it was distinctively art student, hipster, set on making a statement on what PRETTY is, sort of outfit. It’s street fashion. You know, like that old lady who dresses in all green but with garments and accessories from various genres.

  • You pull it off really well Haley! It is a lot of “look”, but on you it looks effortless, fashion forward and very cool.. and while I am a big believer of us communicating with our clothes, this piece also reminds us that perceptions differ and that its ok if everyone isnt getting the same message.. so, what was the message you were trying to communicate via this outfit?
    http://www.talesonsilk.com

  • Erin Brown

    If anyone is a size 6/7 & vibing with the shoes these are a vintage take! I’d buy them myself but my feet are big as hell lol https://www.etsy.com/listing/264695346/vintage-1950s-burgundy-satin-boudoir?ref=related-0

  • Janna Sharp

    Loved this article, but hate this outfit! I can’t. It’s chopping up your body in a bad way, and the jeans + skirt + sweater + shoes together are just…everyone repelling. Love y’all, though!

  • Alexandra Williamson

    Loved this piece!! You look pretty darn awesome, too. You go girl.

  • Rebecca Lake

    my only thought is that you need more accessories. If you’re going to KABLAM an outfit like that you have got to “iris” it up… you know, tszuj it a bit more.

    maybe you need a fat bracelet or a long necklace…

  • Sarah

    Loved this ouftit !! it looks very original and i like your way with fashion !

    Sarah

    http://www.modeonly.com

  • Sindiso Tshuma

    The Marco de Vincenzo shoes 😍😍😍+👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽