One of the lovely things about being female in the modern world is that we can wear trousers all of the time if we want to. We can pair them with shirt, jackets and flat lace up shoes, short hair, waistcoats and a moody look. These models look very feminine, but comfortable. I love that we have the choice. Personally I tend to wear masculine shoes despite a fairly feminine aesthetic as I like to be able to walk and run. Men’s wear can emphasise femininity too, and elements of traditional male clothing can stop senior women looking too girly. I find it unacceptable that in this day and age men do not feel able to wear a skirt or dress. Sometimes a loose unstructured lower garment is just what we all want to wear. Many men drift around in dressing gowns that look like wrap round dresses, at home. Eddie Izzard has suggested,”Women wear what they want and so do I”, to explain his desire to wear dresses and nail varnish. The unisex trend of the 70s, and later the Metrosexual look, implied men wearing more feminine fabrics, colours and styles.
And why ever not?
When women first started “borrowing” their boyfriends cardigans, jeans and shoes it was a fairly radical act of defiance. For comfort and style. Here is Coco Chanel. Although, in the 1920s and 1930s, wearing a men’s hat or tie, tailored trousers or a Breton top with casual pants was slightly shocking, it soon caught on.
A more determinedly masculine look was pursued by others. Katherine Hepburn, for example. She wore jeans in the 1930s when this was unheard of, and usually paired her tailor-made strides with flat, masculine shoes. She was an individualist, with a 5’7″ athletic frame and an angular face and bodyline. Just the sort of shape that looks great in menswear.
As well as women who want to wear the pants some of the time, of course some women want to look decidedly masculine. In response to the demands of women marrying women there are now many companies specialising in tailored men’s suits for women. It is a trend I think is worth celebrating. The charming image below is from lesbian wedding site A Bicycle Built for Two.
If you want to wear men’s clothes go right ahead. Here are a few guidelines that might be useful
- male clothes look best on women with slim, straight bodies
- generally women’s clothes need a different cut
- unless you are very slim bust darts are necessary
- women’s shirts look better when they are closely fitted – Thomas Pink have a good range
- if you have a shaped, curved body then you may be better to take elements of men’s wear rather than going the whole hog
- tailored trousers with a shirt is a great look for work, but consider a feminine element – belt, shoes or jewellery
- masculine shoe styles or hats can give an edge to a feminine outfit
- high-waisted tailored trousers will emphasise a willowy waist
- consider a floppy bow, an undone tie, or a bow tie in pretty fabric
- “pant suits” as done by Hillary are a bit naff – coordinating trousers and jacket are better
- if you don’t want to look too androgynous wear make-up, feminine hair and earrings