Victor/Victoria?: The Menswear Trend in Women’s Fashion
All day I’ve wracked my poor brain trying to think of a fresh angle on fashion to bring you. I thought about it at the gym when I wasn’t calculating how many more reality TV “celebrities” will have to start working out there to outnumber the gay porn stars. And I thought about it on my hike to the Hollywood sign until I heard a booming loudspeaker ordering silly tourists, no doubt, to stop trying to climb the hill up to the letters. I swear, they should shoot just one of them and this perennial problem would be solved. They wouldn’t even have to aim for the head. The loudspeaker turned out to belong to a film crew working on a commercial but I’m still rather proud of my wildly efficient solution.
Finally, I thought back to what we discussed last week about the film noir element in this fall’s fashion and Marlene Dietrich popped into my head. She may not have been the best actress in the world but, damn, that woman had style. She and Katharine Hepburn stood the 1930s on its ear by dressing in sport coats and trousers and things that had been solely in the gentleman’s domain. There are earlier examples of this, of course, in such luminaries as schizophrenic militant Joan of Arc and nineteenth century novelist George Sand, but the fact that they are both French and also not huge movie stars in the Golden Age of Hollywood probably limited their impact on popular imagination considerably.
This season, we have a much more subtle appropriation of menswear than when a lady would throw on a tuxedo and a top hat and call it a fucking day. It is a trend of menswear both in inspiration and in fabrication.
First off, there is a return to the “power suit” but without those football pad shoulders of the 1980s. The jackets are slimmer and more tailored for the most part and worn with any coordinating piece, from the most pleated trouser to the most fitted skirt. Women don’t have to appear as masculine to be accepted as a powerful presence in the corporate environment these days but it seems they are still striving to look polished and professional and a great suit serves that purpose better than anything else. The men’s trouser that has been such a big trend in fashion is continuing but, regardless of the maxi-silhouettes that showed up on the runways, you should probably balance it out by keeping things slim up top unless you’re 5’11’’ or actually a man.
Second, the fabric choices of many designers this season leaned heavily toward the tweeds and plaids that have been typically reserved for guys’ stuff for decades. In most cases, a more feminine cut will check the masculinity of the textile as we see in the wools at Bottega Veneta and Carolina Herrera’s fabulous 40s tweeds or the lovely skirt suit in large scale tartan at Lanvin. Sometimes, there’s an all-out adaptation of a men’s look like they showed at DSquared2 and Stella McCartney and that’s fine, too.
Just make sure it doesn’t look like you raided your boyfriend’s closet to put together your interview outfit. Hilary Swank did a movie about that called Boys Don’t Cry and, if I remember correctly, it didn’t turn out so great. There are some pictures below that you can use for inspiration in creating your menswear inspired looks. As always, use what works for you and throw the rest out.