I’ve always thought of myself as a girly girl when it comes to fashion but recently something disturbing has happened to me: I’ve started taking style tips from boys.
My boyfriend’s wardrobe, usually somewhere that I wholeheartedly avoid, has become the fashion holy grail and I’ve started to covet his crisp denim shirts, plaid items and baggy jeans.
Androgyny is nothing new – fashion designers have been re-appropriating menswear items for decades. Coco Chanel revolutionised fashion in the early 20th century when she freed women from restrictive corsets and dressed them instead in jersey fabrics and trousers.
More recently, British designer Phoebe Philo is setting the fashion agenda at Celine with her menswear-inspired designs. Her minimal coats, shirts and trousers are stark and simple and look like they could have come straight from a bloke’s wardrobe.
I’m a little late to the party as previous incarnations of menswear-inspired fashion have passed me by without inclination to try them out. So what is different now? Well, fashion this season is polarised into two camps: the pastel and girly; and the menswear and sporty.
As lovely as the pretty lace outfits looked on the Louis Vuitton catwalk, they are just too twee for me to actually wear. And so, that brings me to the other camp, and to brands such as Rag and Bone, Acne and Marc by Marc Jacobs who cater to my new interest in a girl/boy, high/low way of dressing.
I’m calling this new look tomboy chic and I have a mental shopping list of items that I think will add a relaxed menswear flavour to my wardrobe. Firstly, I am on the lookout for the perfect pair of jeans.
I’m tempted by Cos’ relaxed fit ones which hang straight from the hip but are less baggy and distressed than a boyfriend style jean. I want to add a leather jacket into the mix – maybe one of Whistles’ classic biker styles. I will pair these with either a striped Breton top or a white shirt - and add heels for a feminine touch.
I’m also favouring shorts over skirts, shirts instead of blouses and avoiding anything overly embellished. The practicality of menswear-inspired fashion works for the way I feel like dressing now.
That said there are negatives to tomboy chic - namely leaving the house dressed almost entirely like your boyfriend, like a pair of his and hers fashion twins. So maybe the pendulum has swing a bit far in the opposite direction and I should start re-asserting my femininity sometime soon.