That’s Fashion, Sweetie: Alexa, play ‘Suit and Tie’

Art of Patrick Bateman face mask scene with a woman and a man.
Jessica Fu | Daily Trojan

I’m declaring it: It is officially the time of year where every week feels a month-long and telling myself “I just need to get through the week” is a bold-faced lie. We are in the notorious post-spring-break to finals grind where the weather is so nice you can’t help but procrastinate. And suddenly, every single assignment on the syllabus is due in the next three weeks. 

Upon my own mid-class daydreaming and internet surfing, I came across this fascinating article by Byrdie, titled “Why is Every Fashion Girl Dressing Like Patrick Bateman Right Now?” I first thought that it was wildly untrue: That most women in suits outside of business wear were only on the red carpet. 

Again, I was proven wrong upon my Los Angeles thrifting, TikTok-scrolling and Depop adventures. Not only did I realize the sudden increase of women styling ties, slacks and suits, but I was also saving and screenshotting various ties and tie clips. 

It’s not just suits though, as explained in the Byrdie article, but instead a “Wall Street” approach to outfits including matching sets, wool, pinstripes, trench coats and briefcases. Taking it one step further, makeup artist Fara Homidi shared on Instagram her backstage look for ECKHAUS LATTA SS23 as “glassy feels, the american psycho way.” 

Maybe my excitement from this article is a shift in mindset of my current dread of buying work clothes — I discussed this in an earlier article about aging wardrobes — but I also love the rise of mainstream androgynous approaches to fashion and the growing blend of stereotypical gender-binding clothes. While not a new concept, I believe it’s important to keep bringing maturing wardrobes up especially as we move into a metaverse where we have an opportunity to reset what fashion’s standards — or lack thereof — will be.

But I also believe that this trend goes far deeper than the sharing of clothes regardless of gender identity and instead about stepping into and embracing masculine energy.

Maybe it was my maneater era and surge of empowerment after growing up in an environment of strong women, being attracted to music artists like Nelly Furtado, Marina and the Diamonds and Lana Del Rey or rewatching films and shows like “The First Wives Club” (1996), “Coyote Ugly” (2000) and “GLOW” that made me this way, but I have always felt that I have been in tune with my masculine energy. 

At the risk of sounding too much like an Angeleno that Joe Goldberg makes fun of in “You” season two, I believe that we are able to switch between the two dominant energies of masculine and feminine. Whether this means having a 50/50 balance of both or being one or the other, they both affect how we think and how we act. 

In a recent dinner with two of my dearest friends, we discussed these varying energies and how they apply to love. While the conversation was very “Sex and the City”-esque, one idea that stuck with me is how the competing energies approached love: The feminine energy is more spherical, slowly incorporating and growing with their potential partner while the masculine has spikes — honestly, like a microdermabrasion roller — due to a more conscious, A/B decision of “in or out” or “yes or no”. 

They pushed me more on this thought, especially with the idea of the “maneater” — or rather, the woman who is able to step into her masculine energy to provide for herself, prioritize and detach. This woman doesn’t act this way to be immature or deflect love out of an “I hate men” standpoint, but rather to be independent and free to explore and switch within the competing energies. 

A very WizardLiz approach — I know — but I believe in what she has to preach and offer to those who are willing to listen. What she explores is not misandrist or anti-feminist and instead feels the exact opposite. I can’t even begin to remember the amount of times I was told to act more like a lady or dress in a more feminine way — that I should find a boyfriend or husband who will provide for me and help me do a, b and c. 

Maybe it’s because I’ve always been fiercely independent, but if I can accomplish tasks and achievements without external, masculine-energy-driven help by stepping into my internal masculine energy, why not do so? 

Don’t get me wrong: I love having help and a support system, love sharing success and growing with those that I love around me and being a passenger princess is always fun.

But I feel that it’s time to stop having to consider who can provide what energies that are unbalanced internally and instead start looking for situations, people or opportunities that can enhance the strength and flexibility of energies together: Rather, who I can push and pull with.

Especially as the semester comes to a close, there is no better time to prepare for the adventures of summer with a little self-reflection and self discovery. So while I’m not advocating for you to go full “American Psycho” (2000) into a blundering spiral of misogyny and obsessive behavior, I am advocating for taking time to reflect and explore your own feminine and masculine energies. But if you need to dress like Patrick Bateman to do so, I won’t stand in your way. 

Hadyn Phillips is a sophomore writing about fashion in the 21st century, specifically spotlighting new trends and popular controversy. Her column, “That’s Fashion, Sweetie,” runs every Tuesday.