We women all have articles of clothing lurking in the back of our closets that freak men out. Call it what you want — a silk turban, a floor-length leopard print dress, a sequined jumpsuit — but Leandra Medine wants you to embrace it. For the past 10 months, the 22-year-old student has seen her profile rise in the fashion industry thanks to her blog, The Man Repeller, where she publishes shots of herself (and other fashionable ladies) in her favorite outfits. Ladies dig ’em, while men are left scratching their heads. It’s been less than a year since her first post, but the articulate and witty brunette has already been profiled by the New York Times and featured in Lucky. We stole Leandra from her busy schedule to chat about her look, Wes Anderson’s influence, and her top 5 anti-dude looks.
What exactly is a “Man Repeller”? A Man Repeller is the type of woman who loves the fashion trends that men hate. She doesn’t really take into consideration what he thinks, opts to pair floral prints with leopard prints, gets a real kick out of non prescriptive lenses, enjoys a good harem pant, and loves a decadent turban. When given the choice, she always sides with ready-to-wear over companionship.
How did you get the idea for the blog? Well, several factors played into the evolution of my blog. It so happened that when I started blogging, I was dating a fickle guy that wouldn’t commit because he was convinced he’d live until he was 1000. Red flag number one. Because of that fiasco, I was complaining about the sad state of my love life to my best friend at Topshop one weekend, when she stopped me to point out the fact that at that very moment I was on line to buy a pair of acid washed harem pants and a sequined blazer while I myself was wearing a chambray shirt buttoned to the collar, high waist denim cut-offs, and a pair of suede black flat booties. I set up the URL that night. It’s easier to blame than yourself on failed relationships.
Do you have any personal experience with guys hating on your outfit? Absolutely. Just last week I wore a yeti-like Adrienne Landau oversized vest with a leather jacket under it out for dinner, and my date suggested we take separate cabs to the restaurant.
Did you grow up loving fashion? Duh!
Where do you find fashion inspiration? As far as artists, it should be no surprise that I take a cue or two from Georgia O’Keefe. Regarding films, I would say that I have been heavily influenced by the Royal Tenenbaums. In fact, I’d take it a step further and credit a lot of my existence to Wes Anderson.
What are some of your favorite man-repelling pieces that you own or would want to own? My favorite man repelling piece is definitely a burgundy velvet Dolce & Gabbana bow tie I snatched from my dad. Otherwise, I’m really looking to expand my suspender collection.
Are there any collections or pieces for spring that you’re dying to get your hands on? I’m smitten by Jil Sander‘s S/S collection, and I cannot wait to get my hands on that bright orange maxi skirt with the removable waist ruffle. I saw it in person, and it was like meeting a celebrity.
Where do you shop in the city? I’m totally on board the Barney’s boat. I also love Topshop, Rag & Bone, Intermix, and because Urban Outfitters carries Dallin Chase and Veda, I’ve been looming around there quite a bit too. Also, not for anything, H&M spring 2011 rocks so hard.
What’s the first thing one should do when creating a signature look? Exploit a trend you really love. If it’s prints, mix them together; If it’s belts, layer them; If its bow ties, opt for unusual fabrics and colors. Take what you love and really make it yours.
Tell me about where you’ve been featured as of late, who you’ve been writing for, and any upcoming plans. I was just featured in the March issue of Lucky—they did an entire blogger spread, so that’s exciting. Over Fashion Week, I’ll be writing for The Cut and Shopbop, and I’m speaking at the IFB evolving influence conference on February 10th, and doing various exciting NYFW related things. I’m also styling my friend Kimberly Taylor’s spring presentation next Wednesday night!
Up next, Leandra’s top 5 looks…
Sartorial Bartending: Learning to Mix Prints
A Lesson in Layering
Holy Lady Bowner