Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Devushka Style

The Devushka (Девушка) style adopted by many young women in Ukraine (and those not so young) might be described as "hyper-feminine" in neutral terms or "neoslutty" in more judgmental ones. This is an edgy, sexy style that might bring out negative reactions in unfamiliar and insular Westerners, but especially people from Islamic countries who have more strict conceptions of proper female attire. In my opinion, it's rude and incorrect to conclude that she's immoral if she dresses Devushka: she just likes to show off her body. In the post-Soviet cultural landscape that is emerging in this decade, the old standards of dress and conduct are being challenged, and a more festive approach to life is emerging. To put it in another way, women are liberated from their socially-sanctioned roles as Heroine Worker or Tractor Driver or Party Official. The message is implicit: it's fun being a young woman, and I plan to enjoy it to the fullest.

What are the basic traits of the Devushka (Девушка) style?
First, there is greaer permissiveness as to what is proper: there is no such thing as clothing being too tight, too sheer, too low cut or too short.
Spiked heels is high couture: try to adopt those no greater in circumference than an icepick. Open-toed shoes, but preferably heels, is acceptable.
It is quite the mode to employ accents such as ruffles, flounces, bows, puffy sleeves and lace.
The distinction between day and evening wear is not recognized. Sequins, sparklies and rhinestones are just as appropriate standing in line at the aptek as they are at the most exclusive and toniest night clubs.
Bright, attention-drawing colors are preferred; and nyet to fibers that appear in nature. This is not a style for the nature-oriented set.
Foundation garments, if they must be worn, should be viewed as accessories. Thongs, if undergarments must be worn, are meant to be seen or at least hinted at.
Intriguing tees with non-sensical English phrases ("Punk It Up Rock Slacker," "Nuke the Whales"), coy witticisms ("Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir"), or classic tees (the Rolling Stones tongue).
Hints of nipples are acceptable.
Some aspects of a similar style to this independently manifested itself in Southern California, where the warm, sunny weather merges with greater acceptance of hedonistic lifestyles. As yet, the cultural and linguistic barriers are still formidable, but not totally unbreachable. Presently some aspects of styles like the Devushka are seen in Southern urban areas like Nashville, but the old norm of separate daytime and evening wear persists. After all, one has to have a day job.
One important consequence of the Devushka (Девушка) style is that it minimizes the level of anxiety associated with the Walk of Shame. Now no one knows for sure. But, even better, people are left hanging in wonder.


  1. A very interesting fashion note.

  2. Neoslutty. I like that. Both the term and the look.