The Sart strikes back

Something is stirring in the air. I haven’t felt so puzzled for…erm, probably years! Yes I do dare to say ‘years’!


I may come from the deep north, but in Belgian terms speaking I am a Waterloo native, I studied 4 years in the Antwerp academy and after getting my Masters slowly made my way back to Brussels, up until recently residing in Saint-Gilles neighbourhood (yes, that’s where the party people live, I’m sorry) – a small part of the city immediately adjacent to the Brussels centre, well known for its derelict premises and filthy streets in the proximity of the South Station and the amazing monuments of Art Nouveau architecture where every street is a museum in high St.-Gilles. The kind of neighbourhood where you see a bag being snatched from an old lady by the youths of a questionable origin, and where the young families are settling in. If I could pick one neighbourhood to represent Brussels as a whole, St.-Gilles would definitely be it. Now, I’m not calling myself a Brussels connoisseur, but I know my way around the place and I’m familiar with the people.

Chapter I

Once upon a time the Sartorialist has charged at a very innocent Preen dress – notably for the somewhat exaggerated hip volume of the garment. A myriad of comments followed, many were nodding in agreement, but there were quite a few that very much pooh-poohed the whole idea of a women being a purely sexual object that deserved no other attention than the admiration of her slim body features, the aforementioned dress was presented by Scott as an antonym to success since it distorts the women’s body so much…well, it only had a couple of ruffles on each side, and there were people who dared to say ‘come on, leave the dress alone’.

Chapter II

Some time in late 2006 I was walking in the Brussels centre hand in hand with back-then a boyfriend, two young girls and a guy were right in front of us. Suddenly one of the girls pointed her finger at my legs adorned with a pair of lovely Pieter Pilotto tights I bought from the man himself at his first and last sale in Antwerp, just before his move to London…well, she pointed her finger and started laughing at the top of her voice pulling her comrades to have a look, a split second later they were all laughing so loud that people were turning their heads. I grimaced at her and walked on. With a corner of my eye I saw her charging at me and I turned my head just to be an inch away from a hard slap on my face! I clearly told her to go fuck herself, which she most likely did not even understand as she shouted something back at me in Arab.
My boyfriend pulled me away and I left in shock, realising I have just been SLAPPED because of what I was wearing in a city centre of the European Capital!

Chapter III

The Sartorialist strikes back with a plain boring shot of a girl. Please take a look, and explain to me if I’m missing out on something! She wears an odd coat that has weird short sleeves and a-line skirt, if it would have been buttoned up – maybe… Then she layers two shades of an icky brown and you lose the richness of this chocolate colour – I’ve seen both of these brown garments just way too often in real life to confirm that it does not look any good, and just makes your face to be the colour…well, the very colour of her pants really! The awkwardly ballooning blobs of mustard on her legs? I just love the comment:” What a beacon of joy on a dreary day in NYC! really never see anyone do the harem pants right, but she wears them perfectly”….isn’t it a bit like seeing a Japanese person in a kimono and commenting ‘I never see anyone do the kimono right down here in Argentina’... oh, and the shoes you can get on rue d’Arschot, me thinks…

Excuse my blatancy, but all I see is face-colour match pants-colour match the door on the background (look right), coat match turtleneck match shawl match piece of poo somewhere by that door on the background (no, it’s not on the picture, but you have to live ‘round here to know what I mean).

No, I do not see any political or religious issues.

And whomever likes to comment: “A beautiful Aladinette!! As a staunch supporter of Vlaams Belang I cannot bring myself to encourage this form of sartorial colonialism on the part of the Islamic world, but she does look nice, I will admit.” – should really get a life! What’s the point of showing your filthy stinky guts being a supporter of Vlaams Belang (those are the local Nazis, by the way), and letting the whole world know how much you are of a sell-out bastard for a pretty girl.


Fashion-blogging made easy: you stick a picture of a most ubiquitous character up, mix in some big words like ‘religious’, ‘political’ and ‘issue’ in one sentence, and collect wowing comments about the most unproportional and disbalanced outfit, as if it is now the new word in fashion.

Being well-dressed made easy: no need to think, because being snapped by The Sart makes everyone want your pants/coat/sandals/smile, when in reality they would never even notice you. People will easily consume what they are fed, so once again no need to think, because those who will comment with thumbs up on the obvious lack of harmony in an outfit do not really think much either.

Is it really OK to be a dumb sheep and wow in excitement to every image as long as it comes from the ‘reliable’ source?

Is it OK to debate on pseudo-intellectual topics of religion in relation to fashion?

The sad truth is that this time The Sart has nailed it with his portrait of a Bruxelloise! I can only confirm that this is a picture of the most typical female inhabitant of Brussels anno 2010. But I believe in beauty, which I am drastically missing on this picture, and I would like to keep believing that there is beauty around here somewhere, even if it is hidden and still unknown. Brussels is beautiful but judging by the comments the beauty still has a long incubation period before we can gently introduce it to the outside world. Carefully! Slowly! With caution! Because it seems that there are too many people who are at the stage where they haven’t seen anyone do the harem pants better than our new sartorial mascot.

P.S. Today once again I feel like I should quit fashion and join the army.


  1. The story is crazy, they all deserve x10 slaps in the face! I'm crying and laughing at the same time... what a build up...sadly a true story... but a great post...

    If only bad fashion and Nazis could leave our neighborhoods, but they're bloody everywhere.

  2. This was a really interesting and complex post and I'm not sure I can add anything of much substance right now after spewing out so many essays for uni this week but first and foremost thank you for posting such a thoughtful and critical piece.

    There are so many issues simmering under street style and fashion blogs in general that you have addressed so clearly here.

    So in response: No, it is not ok to blindly accept whatever a popular blog/site deems 'cool' or 'beautiful' or 'interesting'. And I think while lots of people do, if you search hard enough you can find people who are much more critical in their approach. Like you! Finding fashion blogs that have a different perspective is always exciting, and there are enough out there to make up for the thousands of dumb sheep.

    Speaking of pseudo-intellectual topics in relation to fashion...hmmm this issue is much harder for me to answer right now. I think it depends on how one approaches it. It seems most of the time these grand concepts or topics are used like accessories and thrown around rather than thoroughly and thoughtfully examined.

    And lastly before this comment gets WAY too long, I am in shock over your experience! It really does shock me that things like that still happen!

  3. Fashion is fleeting because it is fickle and tempermental in a sense. I agree the Satorialist has gotten much more boring over the past two years and it has turned me off to looking at his site.