In many cases dressing like a man can seem so tempting. Practical, comfortable and unadorned, in our hectic everyday lives as an Oxford student these qualities can be rather appealing. Yes there are days when we want to swirl around in feminine skater skirts and saunter down the streets in figure hugging dresses, yet there are also days when anything tight and tapered or flirty and frilly just doesn’t fit the bill. Days like these call for the ‘borrowed-from-your-boyfriend’ dictum of dressing in slouchy jeans, grandpa blazers and anything really that is oversized. Jane Birkin, an icon of the androgynous approach to dressing says that its fundamental appeal lies in its ‘I couldn’t care less’ attitude, making ‘people think you have some sort of style’.
Such a look these days is an integral part of the female wardrobe. Often hailed as the instigator of this timeless trend, Coco Chanel generated a thoroughly modern and sophisticated look when she created well-tailored trousers and jackets for the lady which closely resembled those from her own companion’s wardrobe. A century later, the insouciant demeanour of this style lives on, proving it to be not just a passing fad. It could be claimed that the current unstable economic climate has only fostered an increase in its popularity. Scott Sternberg, designer for the label ‘Boy’ by Band of Outsiders asserts that such a look ‘feels protective and safe’, like a ‘cocoon’ in such tentative times, supporting the success of his masculine inspired line.
How exactly then should we wear it? What is great about this mode of dressing is that each and every one of us can pull it off by simply injecting a key item into our outfits; be it a pair of tailored trousers, a grandpa cardigan, an oversized shirt or some masculine style loafers. The key here is to infuse it with some femininity to ensure it doesn’t venture too far into male territory. It’s all a balancing act of ‘gender blending’. Complement the baggy with the tight- fitting. Unite draping and straight. Match the shapeless with some definition. Contrast the minimal with a statement piece. It’s about mixing these diverse elements in a single outfit- the art of fashion fusion. In the current cold snap, it’s definitely a style fix and I for one will be dressing in numerous combinations of this easygoing and versatile style. For some more inspiration on how to carry out this trend look to these ladies: Jane Birkin, Chloe Sevigny, Alexa Chung and Diane Keaton (as Annie Hall).