AKG

Posts Tagged ‘androgynous fashion’

On Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men

In On Details, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on April 26, 2012 at 1:30 am

First there was Coco Chanel and then there was the Le Smoking from YSL. Then came the la garconne dressing, and fast forward a few decades – the androgynous looks became popular. Now borrowing from the opposite gender’s wardrobe has become commonplace. The blazer, anorak, leather jacket, cargos, and boyfriend jeans – and now the boyfriend tee – pieces we have borrowed from the men – are all officially found in women stores now. There are tuxedo jackets for dresses – Glenn Close in Zac Posen at the Oscars. Menswear inspired womenswear is now seen on the street, on screen, and on the red carpet all the time now.

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Red Carpet

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Red Carpet

Take note, that menswear is never synonymous to baggy, no matter what it may seem like on the street around you. Take inspiration by mixing slouchy and feminine pieces with structured, tailored, and more angular pieces. It’s all in the balance. If you’re wearing a tailored jacket or trousers, make it your own by adding a sparkly, soft, or sensuous piece to the mix. Wear sky high heels and/or a statement necklace. Soft neutrals, jewel tones, or bright neons – they all look fabulous with black and nude alike – also consider the beautiful black & white combination with one other color in accessories.

Every book of style talks about the men’s shirt and how its cut looks so great when it finds its place on feminine curves. So many movies will showcase a man’s button down shirt on a woman. The key is finding an oversized shirt in a color (or white), print, or pattern that works for you – and defining your waist to ensure you don’t drown in it. Higher thread counts will look great thrown over your swimsuit at the beach.

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Street

Borrowing from the Boys, Guys, and Men - As Seen on the Street

The true borrowing lies in getting the details, and accessories right. I love men’s watches, especially those by Kenneth Cole and Michael Kors. There is something about the juxtaposition of a men’s large watch on a woman’s wrist that is very today. Sure, there is room for the delicate watch bracelets, but that isn’t for a contemporary look. Wear both, and see which you like on yourself more. This isn’t a costume. You should feel at home in what you’re wearing. Maybe try mixing it in with a bunch of bangles in similar tones or material. Work the watch into your look – make sure it doesn’t stand out like an awkward teenager.

Before investing in Michael Kors and Kenneth Cole, I borrowed my brother’s automatic Tommy Hilfiger watch for a while. Maybe borrowing from the boys may mean shopping in a closet without spending any money at the mall!

Waistcoats and vests. Black, colored, or denim – slouchy and/or tailored – these are always useful to throw on over a shirt or tshirt – especially in the summer when you don’t have to wear a jacket over the look.

Ties. Love love love ties. The ascot ties Miu Miu, featured in “Incorporating Androgynous Runway Fashion”, can be found in gorgeous bold prints to wear with printed or solid color shirts. Slim, bold colored ties look really great on women. I was working with a manager at Rugby in their operations, and she came wearing a white shirt with a slim navy tie and denim – the look was powerful. Themuseflash will someday make a post just about ties. But until then, just know that you can wear them pretty much anyway you want. And if you’re not into that, wear them as an interesting belt! (seriously)

Cufflinks are really interesting accessories. These are very personal pieces that I have to try on with what I intend to wear them with. For men and women both, cufflinks are usually best when they’re quirky, and very related to the wearer’s personality – they look best on simple french cuff shirt that suit or are tailored to your body.

Collection of Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Collection of Menswear Inspired Womenswear
^ So much love for these cufflinks ^

Oxford shoes are something I saw on Arshia’s pinterest. Whether in flats or heels, fabulous colors or neutrals, oxford inject ‘contemporary’ into your look. The upcoming post, we’ll devote entirely to shoes.

Until next time, make styles and pieces borrowed from the boys your own.

AKG

On Incorporating Androgynous Runway Style

In On Fashion, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style, On Styling for the Individual on April 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm

As androgyny in fashion becomes more commonplace, we see a strong variation in how much women want to borrow. Some women wear a tuxedo better than men – we saw this on Carrie Bradshaw at her best gay’s wedding in SaTC (btw, tuxedo jackets are a piece to hold onto this Spring/Summer 2012). Other women with a more feminine style feel that investing in a men’s watch or oxford shoes is a commitment. It’s worth taking a moment to study fashion history, as discussed in “Androgyny in Fashion” to figure out what degree of menswear fashion styling is best for you. There is no right or wrong here – simply a need to experiment and find where you feel most comfortable. The goal is to create a seamless transition that makes your style seem effortless.

Early on, high fashion designers, such as Helmut Lang, Giorgio Armani, and Pierre Cardin hit the public mainstream with androgynous clothing. The trend that Coco Chanel started has now spread far and wide all the way to high volume, low cost stores such as Forever 21, Zara, and H&M.

Have you noticed the trend over the last decade? Men are seen sporting longer hair with hairdyes and highlights while women are seen sporting shorter hair – notice the variations of the pixie cut that Victoria Beckham and Halle Berry were seen sporting? Women are increasingly wearing boyfriend jeans and blazers while men are starting to wear “girlfriend” skinnier jeans. It’s hard to talk about modeling without talking about Andre Pejic and Agyness Deyn. And these are just some of the examples of how the line between genders has blurred considerably over the years.

Menswear Inspired Womenswear from 2012 Runway

Menswear Inspired Womenswear from the 2012 Runway - focus on the details.

This year, take inspiration from 3.1 Philim Lim, Helmut Lang, Derek Lam, Chloe, Alberta Ferreti, Max Mara, St. John, Theysken Theory, Prada and many many others. See how the structure is balanced with sensuous fabric and color, and in some instances sparkle. There are ties, oversized jackets, trousers, waistcoats, and hats in a multitude of colors, plaids, prints, and fabrics. At Peter Som, Jason Wu, and Tadashi Shoji, the looks for Fall 2012 are inspired by Marlene Dietrich – a woman who “wore pants, but still looked like a woman.”

Take inspiration from Miu Miu Fall 2012 - Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Take inspiration from Miu Miu Fall 2012 - Menswear Inspired Womenswear

Miu Miu’s runway had oversized, boxy jackets, waistcoats, ascots (ascot ties) – all in bold colorful prints. There will never be any excuse for a pantsuit to be boring every again. There are waist hugging belts, newsboy caps at Jen Kao, tilted fedoras at Giorgio Armani, and collars with ribbon “ties” at Barbara Bui and printed ascot ties and workwear at Miu Miu – while the ensembles on these runways are more difficult and expensive to incorporate into your wardrobe, these details will set you free.

AKG

On Androgyny in Fashion

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have heard “androgyny” in various contexts, varying from a scandalous or heated discussion to casual daily use. Androgynous traits are usually asexual or are qualities attributed to the opposite sex. There is physical, psychological, and fashion-related androgyny. To be clear, my inspiration is found in androgynous fashion and styling. Some people accept the idea, whereas many are steeped in traditionalism, focused on the idea that men and women are both supposed to look certain ways that are unique and separate of each other.

A rulebook from the older days for dressing and fashion etiquette (from 1965) includes rules that sound ludicrous today.

“It is disrespectful and unwise to deviate from the norm of those around you. It is not polite to stray from the costume worn by your date. If he is in street clothes, you are to wear a day dress or a dressmaker’s suit. […] You must always compliment your man.” “Mules, open-toed shoes, and ankle straps are in poor taste at all times.”

The writer and followers of this book would probably end up in shock if they ended up in any kind of gathering, party, restaurant, or department store today.

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Considering that these were the rules, consider how nonsensical the idea of finding pieces in “your man’s” wardrobe would be. Performers like David Bowie, Boy George, Prince, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, and Annie Lennox challenged the norms back in the 1970s and cross-dressing continued to become more elaborate through the 1980s. Leonardo DiCaprio wore the ‘skinny’ look in the 90s, resulting in a fad known as “Leo Mania”. Marilyn Manson wore female clothing and PVC suits that made him seem genderless. These entertainers started trends so that men and women could think outside of conventional styling and start to explore where they felt at home outside of the limitation of their own department at the store. In high fashion, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent became pioneers by encouraging women to dress in a minimalistic manner, freeing them from the bind of corsets and stockings. In 1966, YSL created the “Le Smoking” tuxedo, the first of its kind for women. Now, fashion on the street was changing and women were freer to find and wear what they liked most.

There is considerable societal redefinition of traditional gender fashion norms today due to the popularity of these artistes and the trickle-down effect of high fashion. Menswear inspired womenswear (and visa versa) has become commonplace: boyfriend blazers, boyfriend jeans, oxfords, and more.

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling
Disclaimer: All pictures are sourced - not mine.

Experimenting with androgynous fashion doesn’t mean you have to dress like David Bowie when he performed. But it’s certainly inspiring, isn’t it? See Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” or Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator”. Remember Katherine Hepburn? As current style inspiration, we have Ellen Degeneres, Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, and Diane Keaton to look to. These ‘celebrities’ incorporate menswear pieces into everyday dressing all the time. In the next post, we’ll talk about how they borrow from the boys. Arshia inspires me to learn to borrow from the boys, and experiment to define our individual style further.

AKG

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