There is something inherently sexy about a woman wearing nothing but a crisp, white Oxford shirt – Boyfriend Fashion.
Despite the attempts by Victoria’s Secret and Frederick’s of Hollywood’s to convince us that sheer teddies and lacy lingerie are the keys to seduction, sometimes it is the simplest things that are actually the most effective.
I’ve never had the ole’ Oxford fail, yet.
Part of the appeal is the juxtaposition between masculine and feminine.
There is also something powerful, confidant and sultry about a woman who can maintain her femininity in menswear.
It hints at lowered inhibitions, a carefree attitude and a willingness to buck traditional societal roles.
Uh, yeah. That’s hot.
Joan of Arc notwithstanding, menswear in women’s fashion has been around for a while.
Fashion icon, Coco Chanel, was heavily influenced by her sports-minded lovers and infused man’s aesthetic into her vision of a modern woman with ease.
At the same time, Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn were infamous for their scandalous, anti-establishment pant-wearing ways.
And for you fellow Children of the Eighties, how could you forget Madonna expressing herself in pinstripes or Annie Lennox with her fierce, cropped cut and slim-cut suits?
I’m going to gloss over the grunge, lumberjack flannel-wearing 90s.
I’ve burned all my pics and suggest you do the same.
By all respects, the fall/winter collections indicate that menswear for women is here to stay.
…never fear. Here is a list of menswear staples that are easy to mix and match with your current wardrobe.
Six o’clock shadow not included.
The Boyfriend Blazer
I love blazers.
They are a great way to add a tailored look to a pair of jeans on casual Friday at work. Remember Working Girl?
The Boyfriend Blazer is relaxed, so it creates a crisp look without the discomfort.
A looser cut reminds me of prep school boys who deliberately choose oversized uniforms to thumb their noses at the establishment.
(Of course, their mothers probably went out and bought them the correct size after the third time it disappeared into trend-spotting ex-girlfriend’s closet.)
Obviously, the blazer and jean combination, but try pairing it with the not-so-obvious, like a flouncy, short skirt, lace anklets (see my Glam Gams post) and high stilettos.
The Classic Tuxedo
Yes. A Tuxedo. When you’re looking for this staple, look for a quality, timeless cut.
Not the super trendy one with embellishments or ultra high-gloss sateen stripes.
Invest in a classic tuxedo, and it will serve you well for years to come.
I suggest a neutral winter white or basic black.
Like a suit, you can use the pieces as separates and pair white tuxedo pants with a red satin blouse for the holidays.
The light ensemble is a knock-out at formal affairs, and you don’t have to be Angelina Jolie to pull it off.
Earlier, I told you about the power of the Oxford shirt.
And if you don’t already own several, I suggest you go pilfer a man’s closet-I like them worn in.
The one thing I am mad for, though, is a stiff collar and crisp cuffs.
Starch is your friend.
Now, for the another Oxford. (You didn’t think I could write a post without a shoe reference, did you?)
And I did struggle with this quite a bit, having relived the nightmares of private school-regulation Brogues.
But, today’s versions are much more akin to my feminine tastes.
They have heels! I even found a quite affordable version at my local Target.
They pair well with a dark, straight denim jean, the other Oxford and a nice corduroy blazer.
Of course, it is me, and I had to keep looking for more.
So of course I found the not-so-affordable-but-maybe-someone-is-reading-this-and-wants-to-give-me-an-early-Christmas-present-version by Marc Jacobs.
I adore the tassel detail and the rich mahogany hue. It’s quite like an updated Penny Loafer, don’tcha think?
Toppers and Ties and Toppers
Anyone that knows me knows I love a good hat.
From Fedoras to newsboys, there are a lot of masculine-inspired looks to steal from at reasonable prices.
I’ve found a lot at my go-to hats at Target. But try taking a walk through your neighbourhood thrift or vintage store.
I recently found a great Fedora that I swear my grandfather used to own.
Hats are great for hiding the dry, frizzy hair that fall/winter often brings.
And ties! Don’t forget the ties. Ties are just skinny scarves, ladies.
Don’t be scared of all the knot talk.
There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how to tie the proper Windsor knot.
Believe me. I’m a single mom to an 8-year-old boy in private school I wouldn’t have gotten through Christmas or Easter service without the grace of YouTube How to Tie a Tie Video Tutorials.
If you’re going to wear a tie, I say go for it. Be bold.
You’re already making a statement.
So the conference you’re speaking at runs out of little orange glowy things?
Grab that bright orange tie right off the suite server’s neck, knot it up over your cobalt blue shirt and tuxedo jacket (I swear!) and get your picture taken with the CEO. Ha!
I’m talking about cufflinks.
Get your mind out of the gutter.
Cufflinks are probably something you haven’t thought about wearing.
But many great Oxford shirts have French Cuffs that beg for this bling. I, for one, don’t mind wearing the extra jewellery whatsoever.
Especially after I did some digging and found some crazy cool cufflink designs just for women, I love these for the added splash of colour, but also for the personalization.
Itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini cufflinks? Sold.
“Clothes make the (wo)man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” -Mark Twain.