Who wore/wrote it best?

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I know nothing of this label, other than it’s run by two sisters, Deborah and Priscilla Royer, and the knit pieces are said to be made in one of France’s last knit factories (my hopefully correct interpretation of ‘one of the last’ being one of the last hold-outs against outsourcing to a deplorable sweatshop). My discussion of the following Piece d’Anarchive S/S 14 pieces, however, has more to do with my studies than their collection. The classical Latin poetry I’m writing my thesis on was written in the persona of a female, but exists in an otherwise male-dominated genre. While most today now believe that the female persona equals a female poet named Sulpicia, I’m in the earlier school of thought that it was a male writing as a woman. That said, the truth is unknowable and up for debate. In contrast, the medieval Latin poet I was just reading about, Hrotswitha of Gandersheim, wrote as a woman in various male-dominated genres, but was very clear and unapologetic (aside from the standard recusatio in each work’s preface) in her writings about her choice to write as a woman and about strong female characters. So, the question is: who wore it best? A man possibly writing/posing as a new type of woman, or a woman writing/posing as a new type of woman? Also, on a bit of a tangent, why is there such a double standard for scholarship on female writing? Granted, gender is a factor in many writers’ work. However, is it really more of a factor in women’s writings vs. men’s writings, and is it really a factor to be considered in every single woman’s work? If the scholarship doesn’t also consider gender as a factor in men’s writing, it’s quite hard for more than a handful of people to even consider what it means to have a Roman male writing in a female persona, innit?* But, if women can wear leggings as pants, why can’t men?**

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*Please excuse any future uses of ‘innit’. I’m not trying to pretend I’m British, I’m just currently addicted to Ricky Gervais’ brilliant Derek.

**Of course, if we embrace this, we may have to settle on one word for both genders to avoid any confusion: it’s either ‘leggings’ or ‘(long) underwear’. There is no difference.

(Photos via Style.com)

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