I'm sure we're all very familiar with the judgment or concern-trolling about what women choose to wear. If you aren't (and man, am I envious of you then) this will often come up in discussions about how bad heels are. Some man will roll in and say "ladies, these things are horrible for you and I don't even like them so you don't need to wear them." (Oh my, thank you sir; you are my savior!) Eventually a real, honest-to-goodness woman (women: not mythical creatures) will enter the conversation and inform the man-savior that she, at least, doesn't dress for men. And then a whole debate ensues, one in which the man is obviously right, over whether this is true. OBVIOUSLY you dress for the opposite sex, despite what you may say. (I'm guessing the claim is actually that you dress for the attention of whatever sex you're attracted to but these concern-trolling debates are always hetero-normative.)
I have two maxi dresses that I wear on a regular basis. We'll call them Dress A and Dress B, in honor of my Creative Writing minor. Until recently, I liked them about equally. They both existed as basic pieces of clothing that I could quickly throw on and then go out looking like I had put effort into my appearance. The world around me reacts very differently to the two dresses and this has slowly changed how much I like them.
Men LOVE Dress A. I get cat-called far more frequently when I wear Dress A. The worst was a couple weeks ago when two men started legitimately cheering as they passed me. Now, at the time, it was just the three of us so I know it was about me. They were staring at me and whooping and hollering. It was late at night in a nearly deserted train station. I was petrified. I felt gross. But even when it's not that bad it's still weird. I can go out with my hair a greasy mess, no make-up on, but wearing Dress A and I won't make it more than two blocks before a man tells me how I'm sexy, or fine, or whatever.
Women LOVE Dress B. Almost every single time I wear that dress at least one women will say "I love that dress" while we pass in the street. That's all they say. It always gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling. For at least a few minutes have the walk-by compliment I feel fucking kick-ass. Seriously. All of a sudden I feel great. It's not like I felt bad before but there's nothing like a random passing compliment.
I like Dress B so much more than Dress A now. Before I didn't really care one way or the other. Seriously, they were both simple, easy-to-throw-on dresses. Now Dress B is awesome. I feel better in that dress than I do in Dress A. I'm straight so it's definitely not about be trying to attract women. Maybe, just maybe, some women really don't dress for men. Even the straight ones.