Fashion as Feminism: Musings on Bell Sleeves, Babouche and the Shrinking and Hobbling of Females









Did you know the Hungarian word for slippers is papucs? (Pronounced "pah-pooch") Well I did, because it's one of my favorite words, and one I still prefer to slippers. Slippers sounds like a bar that serves an extra side of roofies with their warm beer in plastic cups. It sounds like a practical joke you play on someone to make them fall. It does not sound like the pillowy softness and ease of a foot hugging wonder. Of shoes that do not pinch or hobble or make it hard to run and leap and play and dance all night. On my tongue the word papucs captures that feeling perfectly.

Babouche, the flat morrocan slipper currently appearing in a variety of price ranges on trendsetting sites like Reformation, Need Supply (where I got these from) and Everlane, is the out of house version of this. They slip on (no bending over lazy girl), they let your heels breathe, they somehow manage to convey comfiness with that insouciant IDGAF attitude that is so hot (or like whatever) right now.

And because when I go trendy, I just lean into that shit hard, I decided to pair it with a bell sleeve top. I like to think this trend is the fashion equivalent of this video - that being a woman isn't about making ourselves so small and thin and tight that we disappear. That we don't dare to take up space, not with our bodies and not with the clothes we put on them. That we must constantly be striving to chip away at ourselves, to make ourselves smaller and less. Bell sleeves are a glorious opposite of that.  They demand space in the universe. They dip and swoop and expand outward into space. They demand perfect posture (look how straight I am standing) in order to make more space around my ribcage for their protuberance into space outside my body, my full and radiant height reaching skyward. Not hunching into myself to be smaller.

While I am wearing very little here (I am hot, and I am a delicate flower with no tolerance for extremes of temperature, definitely not 70% humidity feels like 93 degrees at nighttime heat) this idea that I can be sexy AF while taking up space, while being big and bold, while wearing comfortable, kind of awkward but pillowy, dreamy shoes is amazing to me. These are the kind of trends I can get behind.