Leandra Medine, author and founder of the ever-popular fashion blog Man Repeller, has an important message for women—and it's not just what to wear this summer (however, we couldn't help but ask). Medine is by far one of the most stylish New Yorkers, and after sitting down to chat about the outfits she would sport during some of the best things to do this summer (and how to be a badass business women) it's obvious that Medine, with her compassion and soft-spoken wit, has so much more to offer than just great fashion advice.
What are some of your fashion hacks for combating the summer heat?
I actually feel like I’m not the best person to be giving this advice, because I totally disregard the heat and just wear whatever I want anyway. That felt very disingenuous, but my hack is just to suck it up and let the sweat drip down your back. Who cares? But I do wear a lot of denim cutoffs! Linen shorts are super annoying when it’s hot. They get all creased, and it’s impossible to have them remain intact, even when you’re freezing in an icebox.
Yeah, and when you’re sweating in them, they get really gross.
It’s just weird, right? I feel like women can really identify with how terrible that grossness is because it’s like you just bled through your shorts. That’s why my hack is to just sweat it out. You missed your workout anyway.
What event are you most looking forward to this summer in New York?
I’m really looking forward to spending the Fourth of July in Southampton with my family. It’s not really an event—I mean, it’s an event to me—but it’s not really open to the public. I’m very much looking forward to the extended weekend and spending 100 hours or more with my mom.
If you were at a rooftop rager, what would you be wearing?
Is it like a rager, rager?
Yeah, it’s intense. Fist pumping and all.
I’d probably wear a black cotton tank top with high-waist denim cutoffs, a jingly belt—so you feel like a human tambourine—and gold lace-up sandals.
What would you sport if you snagged tickets to Shakespeare in the Park?
Oh, how fun! I’d wear a mini-sundress, probably something that wraps with a low V-neck and short-sleeves. I would have all-white Dr. Scholl’s sandals on my feet and some mini cat-eye sunglasses. I’m a big sunglasses person. I was looking into getting a pair of Transitions lenses because I have a stigmatism, but I only need to wear glasses during very specific moments. I wanted a pair I could also wear when I go outside. The opportunity came up for me to work with them, and I was like, "This is fantastic!" Transitions are a great way to rock multiple styles of glasses all summer.
How about sipping cocktails on boat bars like Grand Banks?
So extravagant! I would probably wear one of my caftans. I was on the hunt to find one that resembled a beautiful caftan I saw at the Row. I searched high and low until I found this Sleepy Jones nightgown on sale, so I think I’m going to wear that with a pair of loose-tie heels so that it looks like I’m not wearing shoes, like I’m just floating on my tippy-toes. My hair would be up and curly. You know what? My hair should be up and curly for Shakespeare in the park. That’s very Midsummer Night’s Dream.
How about when you’re checking out the Hills at Governors Island next month?
I’m wearing white Superga sneakers with a pair of shorts that look like they could be track shorts even though they’re not. And a Lurex striped tank top with sparkly socks.
Oooh, what kind of sock brands do you like?
I really like the ones at & Other Stories and Topshop. You get that '70s, athletic vibe when you wear them.
What does it mean to be a man repeller?
I think being a "man repeller" is taken too literally. A man repeller is very much an attitude. The company itself is a luxury media brand that just continues to promote the pursuit of the female voice and training women how to use it. Women shouldn’t feel like having an interest in fashion minimizes their intellect, so we’ve provided this safe space for women to connect and talk about whatever the hell they want to talk about. Being a "man repeller" just makes me feel really proud of who I am today. I want to be in pursuit of improvement, but not be too hard on myself.
What’s your current message to women?
I feel like women are constantly being told that we need to love ourselves more, but I think the real answer is to be a little more compassionate with ourselves. My mom always said to treat others like I would treat myself. I feel like the right advice is to treat yourself as how you would treat others. I don’t want to be treating people the way I treat myself. I’m sometimes super shitty to myself!
What is one thing you’ve learned about being a badass business woman?
You have to be willing to be vulnerable. There’s no such thing as an actual badass business woman. I've had some really rough weeks. Every day can be somewhat difficult. There were times when my husband had to convince me not to shut down. It’s more important for us to be honest about the difficulty. It’s one thing to share your struggle after you’ve compartmentalized, identified and put it away, but it’s another thing to be deep in the thick of the quicksand of disparity and talk about that. So I’ve learned to be more honest. That’s when you can be the most helpful and provide the best advice. Share your breakdowns. Express them. It’s okay.
What beauty products are you currently hoarding?
I don’t wear very much makeup, but I recently had my makeup done for the CFDA Awards, and the Director of Makeup Artistry at GLAMSQUAD let me in on this secret about NIVEA vanilla lip balm. She could only find it on Amazon—she can’t find it anywhere else—and it turns your lips this really weird shade of white. All of a sudden, it becomes this really beautiful, natural color. Also, my friend Emily [Weiss] has an incredible beauty brand called Glossier. I wear Boy Brow every day. I’m also really into the new Haloscope highlighter. It gives you a little extra shine.
We’re really big fans of Glossier here too. What’s one fashion item you wouldn’t be caught dead without this season?
I’m really into caftans. I guess that’s a good way to combat summer heat, right? Just wear those caftans proud. I thought I was going to be pregnant by the summer, so I created a mood board for this whole summer-caftan look. Now I have all these clothes [that are] perfect for bellies, but I’m not pregnant. Hopefully I will be soon.
That’s going to be one well-dressed baby with a cool mom.