series, the fab 40s
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The Fab 40s In Leather & Lace

Hard versus soft.

Delicate versus not so delicate.


When I wrote this post, my initial thought was to develop something along the lines of contrasts.  You know, the juxtaposition between hard and soft.  Between leather and lace.  That beautiful attraction of opposing textures.  But the more I started reading the headline, the more I began seeing how this could also be interpreted as a gender issue.


Some time back, I shared my views on Belle’s Emma Watson’s inspiring speech.  My takeaway from her words was a new perspective on how men too are treated.  With bias.  And I’ve maintained that same thought process to this day.  How both genders need to rethink the way they view each other and perhaps, just perhaps, we might get along a little better.


Think of it this way.

Men are expected to be in possession of their emotions.


Generally brought up in the falsehood that showing empathy or vulnerability is a sign of weakness.  That “real” men are tough beasts who never ever display anything but the facial expression of a seasoned juggernaut.

Ever heard of the expression, “Real men don’t cry??


Women understand all about bias and prejudice.  And being judged.

If we’re successful, we must have slept our way to the top.  If we’re strong, confident, empowered, we’re bossy and bitchy.  Oh and most definitely butch.  It’s inconceivable that we might have attained all those accomplishments on our own merit.  We are visually assessed, mentally labelled, and deftly compartmentalised based on how we dress, how we look.

I admit.  I’m often guilty of doing just that myself.

Looking, assessing, judging.

Sentencing and passing down verdict without evidence.


If she’s pretty, there’s no way she’s smart too.  Or god gave her an amazing supermodel body because, c’mon, let’s face it, there’s really nothing but vacant space between the left and the right ears.  And her face isn’t precisely Miss Universe material.  I know.  I’m fully aware of how fucked up all that sounds.  Trust me, I’ve kicked myself in the ass enough times, and I doubt I’d be stopping the self-berating anytime soon. I am very ashamed of myself.  It’s taken me a long time to recognise that I too was doing unto others the very thing I’ve written publicly to fight against.

The same mentality of generalisation applies to men.  It wasn’t too long ago that pastel shirts were a definite “no no” for the male species (it only took me 6 years to get my man in a lavender button-down), and heaven forbid if they showed any interest in grooming.  Oh no, taking care of oneself was effeminate and reserved exclusively for sissies.

If a man were to actually get his hair cut and styled, wiggle wiggle go the brows.  Imagine the gasps of horror, sorry, snorts of disdain should he invest in something as unmanly as a tailored suit or adopt a skincare regime.


So in all this, the point I’ve been trying to make is – no matter your gender, stereotyping exists.  It abounds.  It torments.  It.  Is.  Out.  There.  And it’s up to us to change it.  Sweeping generalisation of both the male and female species.  It has to stop.  It needs to stop.

Men need to be able to let their vulnerability show.  To understand it’s part of being human, you know, letting the world see your softer side.  That it doesn’t take anything away from your masculinity or your manhood.  Women, on the other hand, need to be able to present their fierce and driven sides without immediately being branded as intimidating, scary, bitchy.  I’ve had all three words shoved in my face and stabbed in my back throughout my career far more times than I’d like to count, to be honest (and yet I still think those thoughts of other women, right?).

As I said, it needs to stop.  And from here, from today, I’m going to work on it stopping with me.  With my fast-to-judge thoughts.  It stops right here, right now.  I’m actually going to try to be that champion of women (and men) that I’ve been portraying through my blog posts.  Make it real.

Here is also where I apologise from the very bottom of my heart to my fellow Fab 40 friends.  For being SO stupid late with this post (this was scheduled for January) due to technical issues and then brand commitments and just an overall lack of organisational skills.  I’m working on that too, my friends, forgive me?


Ann, Kremb de la Kremb


Diane, Fashion On The Fourth Floor


Jennie, A Pocketful Of Polka Dots


Mary, Curly Byrdie Chirps


Sam, Fake Fabulous


Veronica, CID Style File


Please join me in welcoming Kim of The Haute Life Now, our guest blogger for January.


Beautiful and exquisite are the two words that come to mind when I look at Alison’s outfit.  The details contained within that airy fairy, ethereal confection of a top contrasting wonderfully against that tailored high waisted pant.  Delicate meets hard personified.


Blush Leather Jacket (DKNY) | Black Lace Skirt, worn as dress (c/o StyleWe) | Necklace (Mirina Collections) | Black Combat Booties (Bakers) | Spiked Rose Gold Bangle & Ring (c/o Happiness Boutique) | Sunnies (Poshmark) 

And then, there’s me.

By the by, this marks precisely one year since I (a) worked with a professional photographer (b) ventured outside of my backyard to do shoots (c) posed awkwardly in the presence of others.  My first location shoot had me in a sunny side up and creepers, remember?

Don’t forget to link-up now!!!

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.


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  2. Nancy says

    Well, we can enjoy it now can we. I mean the post! 🙂 we all judge, there are a few people who don’t, but most off us do. Me too, and I hate that.

  3. Pingback: Galentines day Outfit! « Outfits « Go Fashion Deals

  4. shelbeeontheedge1 says

    Stunning, as usual! I, too, adore the contrast of leather and lace (in fact, the song Leather and Lace is our wedding song)! “Give to me your leather, take from me my lace.” So much interpretation there. And you completely nailed the issue as you always do. Well said, my brilliant friend. I will also begin working on myself in this same way. Thank you for giving me the perspective to do so.


  5. Goddesslily says

    If you ever venture to Los Angeles you must do a meet-up, not the boring kind like over lunch… a fun productive one like a photoshoot meetup!

  6. The FAB 40’s are looking very fabulous in leather and lace. I may be showing my age but Stevie Nick’s Leather and Lace was a favorite song of mine back in the day so the title of this post had me hooked even before I read the content. You bring up a great discussion about how fashion can play a role in gender identity and through our self-expression, many often try to blur those boundaries by borrowing from the other. Oh, whatever, leather and lace make for a great pairing in any case. Sheela, you are looking fantastic and I do remember those first posts you published with the photos taken by your pro photog. Thank you for sharing the inspirations and for the link up.


  7. robjodiefilogomo says

    I do think we all have those thoughts about people. But the important thing—is we are open to learning more, I think. I remember learning many times in my dental continuing education classes to NEVER judge a person—because even the poorest soul may want to take great care of their teeth, etc! And so we really shouldn’t to anyone—male or female!
    My husband has come a far way from his tan pants & plaid shirts —but he still says that he won’t wear his red jeans unless I’m with him—ha ha!!!

  8. I admire you your honesty Sheela. Opening up and telling it how it is, comes naturally to you my lovely. And talking of lovely, the leather and lace theme is exactly that. Your collection of beautiful ladies have all executed this with great individuality. Your own maxi dress in frothy lace is gorgeous and perfectly paired with your nude jacket.

    Thank you for visiting the blog – we must keep this up x

  9. alimackin2013 says

    Yeah it is amazing really that we still are having these kind of conversions in 2017. Sigh. And love this round of ladies, everyone has such wonderful style. And your black lace dress is gorgeous I have a similar one I got at Zara and wore to Paris.

    Allie of ALLIENYC

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