Blake Lively is many things—a former Gossip Girl and current Mrs. Ryan Reynolds, as well as a failed lifestyle blogger. (Seriously, does anyone else remember Preserve? It was bonkers.) Blake is also her own stylist, and that’s where things get dicey.
The Year of the Pantsuit
Blake has really been feeling pantsuits this month. During her promotional tour for A Simple Favor, the actress has donned elaborate suits, ties, and waistcoats in shades of eye-searing green or peachy sherbet. It’s debatable whether the look is particularly flattering, but you have to admire her commitment.
Blake follows in the footsteps of fellow actress Evan Rachel Wood, who began almost exclusively wearing suits on the red carpet last year. Emma Watson also favors trousers on the promotional circuit.
Blake Claps Back
When British Instagrammer fashion_critic_ commented that Blake was wearing “suit number 1,356 for [her] promotion of A Simple Favor,” the actress didn’t find the comment very funny. She immediately fired back that the blogger would never have noted the same thing about a man during a promotional tour. “No double standards ladies,” she concluded, peppering her statement with a few emojis.
Taking a Stand
If Blake sees her red carpet clothing choices as activism, then that’s all well and good. To her credit, she quickly smoothed things over after the fashion blogger apologized. “I totally understand the missed humor. I do the same thing sometimes,” Blake wrote. “Just looking to encourage women to do what men do without being teased for it. Yes, even in a space as material as fashion. It all starts somewhere…and everyone’s voice counts.”
Is It Really a Double Standard?
Of course, Blake Lively and other actresses often sign very lucrative contracts to wear certain designers—such as Jennifer Lawrence and Dior—or to promote beauty products. Blake herself was previously a famous face for L’Oreal. Men typically don’t sign deals like that, and so their fashion choices aren’t part of their brand.
Is it fair to call the way women are treated on the red carpet a “double standard”? The Representation Project started the #askhermore to encourage journalists to ask women about something more substantial than their clothes. However, those women are often given couture to wear on the red carpet with the understanding that they will promote the designer. Ultimately, the issue is too complicated to be solved by a few emojis and a vaguely empowering Instagram comment.