Tuesday, November 29, 2005

No Girls Allowed?

How to borrow from the boys and still look like a girl...

Menswear styling for women is back in fashion yet again. Although there is a variation of this look that flatters every figure, it can be difficult to find a version that doesn't make you look too androgynous or masculine. The end results are worth all the effort, however; think of all the beautifully tailored suits, oxfords, herringbone tweeds, glen plaids, silk ties, ruffled tuxedo shirts, and the list goes on. But the question remains: how do you choose the pieces that will work for you?

The tuxedo jacket is a universally flattering piece. Its crisp lines work well with everything from flowy wide leg pants to beat-up jeans. They are also great for toughening up your more girly pieces. Since they are so tailored, tuxedo jackets can balance out really feminine or romantic outfit, making it appropriate for the office. Or you can just use them to add some versatility to your existing wardrobe.

Ruffled shirts can be a little more difficult to wear. The wrong one can make you look a pirate, a victorian dandy, or just too stiff and starched. However, the right shirt, one with an elegant drape with frills in flattering spots, can inject a dose of drama into just about anything.

Another menswear staple, the vest, is also popular this winter. Banish the image of those eaerly 90s scary sequined vests from your mind, and try a tailored vest under your blazer or on its own this winter. Mix it up a bit by pairing a tweedy vest with a brightly colored mini or sleek cuffed pants, and don't be afraid of unusual combinations - you'll never know what looks great until you try!

Accessories are one of the best and easiest ways to cash in on this trend. Cufflinks, big bold watches, briefcases, and even ties can work. Try a pretty silk tie loosely knotted over a button-down; the key is to keep the look relaxed and casual and the colors bright and fun. This is one time where it is definitely okay to mix patterns. Polka dots and stripes are especially cute together.

When selecting your menswear look, remember to maintain a fitted silhouette. You may be wearing the most fashionable menswear styles, but you need to show a few curves in order to keep the look feminine. Follow the lead of style icons like Katherine Hepburn and Diane Keaton as Annie Hall, and you too can successfully borrow from the boys.

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