A few months ago, I found myself in the fitting room of Project No. 8 wearing a fashion adaptation of a leather butcher's apron and men's trousers. It was by far the most comfortable and chic I'd felt in a while. Assessing my closet, I'd say also almost half the pieces in there are now menswear. With Celine pushing tailored pants with Birkenstocks into the mainstream and post-gender brands like JW Anderson and Hood By Air emerging as the most buzzed-about young designers, fashion doesn't really feel like it should be divided into boys vs. girls anymore.
Shopping for clothes in the Lower East Side, where I live, can often feel like a struggle with poly-blend prints, flared miniskirts, and body-con dresses. The downtown-girl uniform can often veer too vintage, clubby, or horribly infantilizing (see rompers) for my taste. If you're drawn to clean lines and tailoring, like I am, you might find more appealing options in the guys' departments -- I love the menswear at Acne, Siki Im, and Topman. The cuts for men are now so narrow, I don't even need to get anything tailored.
Here’s a look at the men’s pieces getting lots of traction in my closet (plus tips on how to make menswear your own).
Look 1: The Hawaiian shirt
Hawaiian shirts made a huge comeback after Prada’s spring menswear show featuring 1940s silhouettes and a moody, cinematic palette of burgundy, teal, and purple. These deep colors take the tropical floral prints from island to urban -- perfect against the concrete grey of New York City.
Look 2: The sheer sweater
The sheer trend has been going strong for a few seasons now as a subversive way to be sexy, particularly in a looser shape. The dots on this Acne sweater have just a touch of humor and whimsy, and the men’s cut feels just oversize enough for me to get away with it during the day (I wear a nude soft bra underneath).
Look 3: The fashion apron
For girls who can’t stomach another skin-tight cocktail dress atop wobbly stilettos, this suede apron and trousers look by emerging men’s designer Siki Im has all my favorite elements of eveningwear: tailoring, nonchalance, and subtle aggression. Im showed a series of stylized butcher’s aprons last fall in wool, suede, and metallic leathers, elevating an industrial basic.
Look 4: The tuxedo jacket
Everyone knows that a black blazer is closet staple. If you’re looking for an evening version, a men’s peak lapel tuxedo jacket will always serve you well. My Balenciaga is a hand-me-down from a dear friend. To balance the masculine shape, I usually pair it with lace, something sheer, or a crop top.
Look 5: The sweatshirt
I live in this grey sweatshirt every weekend (and lazier weekdays). Sweatshirt dressing coincides with all the off-the-court sportswear that’s exploded onto the runways. I wear mine with a leather skirt and chunky heels or a light tailored coat, to keep the look sharp.
Anybody else like to borrow from the boys? Tell me your favorite pieces in the comments section.
Photos by Emily Anne Epstein