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Menswear For Women: 5 Key Pieces to Borrow From The Boys

For many, menswear as womenswear is a trend that seems out of reach. Here are five ways to introduce touches of menswear into even the most feminine of wardrobes.

Menswear as womenswear. Borrowed from the boys. We’ve seen all of these headlines cycle their way through the major fashion rags of late, and goodness knows the street style blogs are rife with riffs on the theme. Yet, not every woman feels at ease wearing menswear; I’m certainly one of those women and, if I am willing to admit to it, surely there are more of us out there than we realize.

However, over the past few seasons, I have been slowly introducing some key pieces of menswear into my wardrobe, and you know what: It really works! Based on my own personal trials, tribulations, and experimentations with incorporating menswear into my wardrobe, I bring to you the findings from my research on the subject.

The Five Menswear Pieces You Won’t Want to Live Without (Once You’ve Tried Them, That Is)

#1 Brogues

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They’ve been around a long time, and this is not news. But do you own a pair? I didn’t – until recently, that is. Lay aside your fears of them looking too masculine or making your feet look too big (which were my two chief concerns), and just focus on finding a really handsome, beautifully-made pair that really speaks to you. You can balance the masculinity of the shoe with a feminine blouse and a pair of boyfriend jeans, or perhaps a slimline midi skirt and cropped top. Seriously, give these a try. You will wear them, I guarantee it.

#2 An Oversized Men’s White Shirt

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Yes, just like the ones you always see in the movies where the love interest borrows the leading man’s shirt. Pair it with skinny jeans, roll the sleeves, add some funky jewellery, or do the full Sharon Stone at the Oscars and pair it with full-length ballroom skirt. There is something instantly timeless and classy about it, and when you are stuck in one of those “nothing to wear” days, it can act a fashion lifeline.

#3 A Trilby Hat

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I know that it has been done again and again, but even non-wearers of hats (me again) can appreciate the relatively low-maintenance profile and masculine charm of the humble trilby. Try a straw one in the summer to keep things cool, and up the ante in winter with a wool felt version. Just remember to keep the rest of your look fairly deconstructed so as not to look too “done.”

#4 A Tuxedo

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Granted, ever since Yves Saint Laurent designed “Le Smoking” (the first designer female tuxedo), the tuxedo can no longer really be considered simply a male garment. That being said, there is something very charming about seeing a woman dress in a tuxedo that has been tailored to fit her perfectly (Think Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt in their matching tuxedos at the 2014 BAFTA awards). The secret is in the tailoring. Be sure to invest in a good quality tuxedo and have it tailored to fit you perfectly.

Although technically this makes this item womenswear, there is still an undeniable masculine edge to the look, and it is best-tempered with a pair of feminine shoes, like a pair of patent leather stilettos. If your hair is long, wear it loose, and don’t bother with the cumberbund and tie. That said, if you want to take another cue from Angelina Jolie and wear an undone bow tie…well, perfection.

#5 A Boyfriend Cardigan

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Boyfriend cardigans have been on the scene for a few seasons now as well and for good reason. They are one of the most versatile clothing items imaginable. Pair it with a short skirt, boots, and tights in the winter to create visual interest with layering. Wear it over a hyper-feminine lace or floral minidress to keep warm and add a little toughness to a look, or pair it simply with a white tee or tank, skinny jeans, a pair of killer booties, and your favourite scarf and you’re ready for a weekend shopping spree. Check out my article on styling a long cardigan here.

These are but a few suggestions from my personal foray into the world of menswear, and are particularly helpful if, like me, you might be a little bit hesitant to go all-out with the menswear trend right out of the gate. Before long, you will undoubtedly notice that these items are getting worn again and again. Before you know it, you will likely point to some of these pieces as some of your favourite pieces in your closet. At least, that’s what happened to me.

About the author

Kristin Buchholz-MacKillop

Kristin is an American writer based in the Scottish Highlands. She is a saxophonist, an obsessive tennis player, a U.S. Air Force Veteran, and holds a Master's degree as an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner. She is the author of the online style blog highlandfashionista.com

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