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He said, she said: Boyish charm for the fashionable femme

Aimee Brothman | Interrobang | Lifestyles | March 15th, 2010



As a child, I would opt for denim overalls, over frilly pink dresses any day! After all, how can you catch bullfrogs in the creek if you’re suited up with bows and a crinoline? As I grew into an age where I could shop for myself, I was still often found scoping out the boys’ sections. Comfy loose-fitting tees and androgynous ubiquitous Converses became staples in my wardrobe, as girls’ sections rarely offered anything that wouldn’t make me crinkle my nose in aversion (fitted flowery shirts? No thanks!)

Now that I’m all grown up, I shop in more “gender appropriate” ways (for the most part… I still love Abercrombie’s boys’ section!), but to my delight, I’ve had very little trouble finding garments that look as though they were borrowed from the opposite sex. The upside of this is that I’m still able to find some “guy-inspired” pieces, but they are just that: inspired, NOT made for boys. Hence, the tailoring is much better suited to a woman’s body; consequently, said items looks a little less, well, “boyish.”

Trends, especially as of late, have migrated towards a more masculine approach, with everything from jeans (the “boyfriend fit”) to cardigans (the “grandpa style”) being made to look like they were snagged right off of John’s back. Although I am definitely an enthusiast when it comes to “mannish” dressing, there are certain guidelines that one must follow so that she doesn’t actually end up looking like a gent (i.e.: getting called a “fellow” or “young man” is NEVER a compliment.) First and foremost, sizing is a major consideration.

The garment in question should be slightly looser, than body-skimming pieces. This means that jeans that sit a little lower on the hips should have about an extra half to one inch of bagginess throughout the legs and seat. Easy to cuff, comfy, and casual, “boyfriend jeans” look even cooler when they’re a little destroyed (which incidentally is all the better if one desires to play like a boy, without having to worry about ruining her latest threads). Masculine dressing on top is just as simple.

Longer, hip-length blazers have been “all the rage” for some seasons now. But you can make this style appear fresh by choosing unexpected fabrics, like linens or light wools, in grays and off-whites to mix it up. If you really want to make a bold statement of your own, find some bright or patterned fabric (in silk, satin or a polyester blend), and use it to line your garment, so that when you cuff your sleeves, said print will peek out.

School-boy blazers, complete with crests and piping also lend a boyish charm, and can easily transition you gently into this trend. A runway hit since Balmain debuted their shoulder-padded jacket last fall, shoulder-emphasizing/enhancing coats and tops are making a huge comeback with this style. Pouffy or squared, big shoulders create a more masculine frame, while boxier cuts take it one step further.

Other crazes, such as the “military look” and “tuxedo-inspired” pieces evoke the same idea, without being so obvious. A cargo-pocketed jacket, over your pink frilly dress injects the perfect amount of masculinity. Classic white button-down shirts, with tuxedo accents like silk-piping or black buttons, also hint at a little tomboy vogue, without shouting. The most important aspect of dressing like one of the boys is balance.

If you’re going for slouchy jeans, wear a more fitted top, and vice versa. Fit is also an important part of this trend: always remember that even if you like dressing a little bit like a boy, you’re still a girl, and should dress to flatter your frame.

Accessorizing is the best way to add some “girlyness” if you’re feeling like you’ve lost touch with your fairer side. Anything flowery, sparkling or sweet-looking can instantly add femininity. On the other hand, if you really want to go “all out” with this trend, add a big diver’s watch or some tough leather accessories. Now let’s go drink some beer, watch sports, and roughhouse around.
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