Leandra Medine has made a name for herself by wearing whatever strikes her fancy – no matter how outlandish. The irreverent voice behind The Man Repeller ( manrepeller.com), her lighthearted fashion blog, is out with a new book, “Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls.” ($25, Grand Central Publishing). We interviewed her on her book tour. Excerpts:
Q: What can fans of your blog expect from your new book?
A: Writing a blog post is pretty pertinent. You can write about something that’s happening right in the moment, whereas when you’re writing a book, things can’t be as timely. They have to be a little bit more evergreen.
Q: Can you explain your “man repelling” philosophy?
A: A man repeller is a woman who dresses only for herself. She doesn’t want to impress anyone. It’s a matter of her feelings and being comfortable in her own skin.
Q: What’s your reaction to people who may not understand or like the way you dress?
A: I really don’t mind at all. I think that typically there’s always something constructive to be taken from criticism.
Q: How do you explain the effect of unappealing clothes looking good on someone?
A: I think that there is some value in something being so far from trendy that, if you’re the type of person that likes challenging yourself, it’s an interesting and exciting experience.
Q: Each chapter is organized by a single item of clothing you’ve worn or wanted to wear – socks, Bermuda shorts, a maxi skirt. Why?
A: It was the easiest way to organize my thoughts. Looking at this long road ahead of you that is writing a book, it’s hard to actually start writing without considering the big mass ahead. So I sat down and started remembering things. Everything I was remembering was charged by the outfit I was wearing.
Q: Your writing appeals to a broader audience than those who are interested in fashion.
A: I don’t really think I’m talking about fashion when I’m talking about fashion. I’m discussing the human experience. That’s always been my MO. I went to school for journalism, and I’m so fascinated by people and what the Internet is doing to my generation. All that stuff is imbedded in the fashion world. I’m using fashion as a vessel to convey what’s going on in my mind, but it’s not necessarily the actual subject matter.
Q: A lot of your readers look to your blog for advice on fashion and beyond. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
A: My mom always told me I should invest whatever money I had in shoes and handbags. I took that pretty seriously, because when you’re young, it’s really easy to improvise with meager means.