Menswear Inspired Pieces on the Runway
Where can you find a chic and en vogue outfit this fall? Straight from your boyfriend, brother or dad’s closet.
Yes, that’s right, on the fall ready-to-wear runway the female models were fashioned in menswear-inspired clothing. So, ladies go ahead and steal your style from the men.
Women turning towards men’s clothing is not without unprecedented. Women first started wearing pants in World War I. When the men went off to war women took the reins on the homefront and held jobs previously assigned to men. This phenonmeon of pants for the fairer sex did not stay in the professional sector but spread to leisure wear in the late 1920’s and 30’s. Leading ladies, socialities, and actresses enthusically embraced this trouser trend. Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich were famously photographed in trousers, making great strides in women’s fashion.
The Western world then saw the return of trousers for women during the 70’s when the passage of Title IX of Education Amendments of 1972 ruled that dresses could not be required of girls.
This A/W of 2013, fashion is not only seeing the return of tomboyish trouser for women but also blazers, tweed vests, oversized-button downs, pinstrips, loafers, oxfords, and fedoras. Models stormed down the runway in oversized, masculine trench coats and tailored pinstrip suits topped off with fedora hats. Most collections were comprised of white and black minimalistic pieces. Huge bows and frilly skirts were rare on the runway. Blazers of a sleek black leather, a black and white herringbone wool, and a classic beige silk bombarded the runway. This fall fashion offers women a retreat from those waist-clinching skirts and bodycon dresses of the past.
Menswear-inspired fashion also allows women to expand their fashion boundaries. With a single-button, boyfriend blazer a woman is no longer trapped in hip-hugging, feminine designs. Though putting on a man’s watch of gigantic proportions and slipping into tan leather brogues may be intimadiating, women should boldly embrace what was once considered only menswear.
After all, finding your personal style and shaping your identity involves expermentation and trial and error. Once you let loose and travel into unknown fashion territory, whether its menswear or European lace lingerie, you will come closer to finding your true style.
Recently, I underwent some style exploration when I was at the Topshop on Union Square in NYC. I was in desperate need for an oversized, wool sweater since I was living in a well air-conditioned building (a.k.a. an ice-box). I saw a boy around the age of sixteen holding an amazing dark maroon sweater with my favorite WWII saying “KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.” I had to have it.
“Where did you get that,” I commanded.
“Um, over in the men’s section?” He replyed entirely confused at my intentions.
“I know that, obviously. Where exactly?”
“Right over by the checkered collared shirts,”he said in a quick nervous manner.
Without saying thanks, I charged over to the collared shirts in the men’s section to claim my gem.
When I wore my new, “gender inappropriate” sweater I received more than a few disapproving looks and a load of complements. Most of the negative comments came from my family and boyfriend.
“I’m not sure I like that baggy man’s sweater on you,” my boyfriend told me.
“Well, I like it,” I said simply.
I was going to reply with one of Betesy Johnson’s sassy quips and tell him, “Girls do not dress for boys. They dress for themselves and, of course, each other. If girls dressed for boys they’d just walk around naked at all times.”
But, I kept my truculent remarks to myself. What truly mattered was that I loved by oversized masculine sweater. I felt comfortable, content, and confident and that’s exactly how clothes should make a woman feel. I wasn’t dressing to please anyone else. I was purely dressing for myself.
Menswear-Inspired Pieces on the Street