So I just signed up for modepass – it’s pretty darn cool. If you don’t already have an account, you should definitely register! And be sure to add me as a friend when you do. You can find me at :: http://modepass.com/fashionnerd (my user name is, of course, fashionnerd). I re-wrote my advice from my previous post on achieving a menswear inspired look and posted it as an article on modepass; check it out and vote for it on my modepass profile. I also decided to re-post it here because, well, I’m kind of proud of it. 🙂
I’ve decided to make a new weekly feature post called “Style Guides”, where we’ll explore different trends and discuss how to construct them. Consider this the first installment! I hope you find it helpful… if you have any input (am I wrong somewhere? something you’d like to add? a question? anything!) please feel free to comment! In fact, any feedback you have for me would be greatly appreciated. This is my first detailed style guide – I want to make sure it’s complete and make sure that my future guides are up to par! I will also post the week’s Style Guide in a separate page (found in the sidebar under “my closet”), so you can find it easily if you miss it. Style Guides will be posted every week, probably on Sundays.
Here goes. Enjoy, and let me know what you think when you’re done 🙂
fashion_nerdom style guide :: issue 1
inspired by menswear, styled for a woman
The menswear look is definitely my favorite; it’s loose and flowy and comfy, but still very chic and sexy. Plus, it’s incredibly easy to achieve and looks great on everyone. There are some basic guidelines to follow when attempting this style; but remember – they are guidelines, not rules. They may not work for everyone, and everyone may not agree on how I feel about certain things. The best thing to do is to take this information as advice and work your way up from there. Experiment, play around, and find out what works for you and your body and what you’re comfortable in. Nothing in fashion is ever set in stone!
How To Get There
(in a hurry? check the bottom of this post for the abbreviated version)
the top half
Blazers provide a menswear inspired look in and of themselves, so if you’re just dipping your toes and you’re not sure you want to go all the way, a blazer + men’s watch are your go-to pieces. I would definitely recommend that you pick a blazer that has some structure to it and is a little over-sized (think boyfriend fit). Strong shoulders are also very in right now – I like small shoulder pads in blazers. For summer and spring, choose a blazer in a light color, like white, peach, light pink, beige, etc. For fall and winter, slip into something a little darker, like black, charcoal, navy, etc.go all the way
For those of us who prefer to swim in the deep end, trousers or tailored shorts (extra points for pleats) and a fedora will fill in the rest of the blanks. Remember, though, the look should be inspired by menswear, not make you look like a man. In spring and summer, keep it feminine with light colors throughout the ensemble (think light neutrals & pastels), pretty jewelry (I like gold touches and pearls with this color scheme), and sweet accents (like a straw fedora, especially one adorned with flowers, and a cute-but-subtle purse). A delicate, ladylike blouse balances out the other menswear style pieces, and nude wedges are the perfect shoe for this look – sky high wedges scream “I’m a woman” without distracting from the rest of the look, and when worn in the nude make your legs seem impossibly long. Wedges also keep things from looking too businessy (I’d advise avoiding pumps for this reason). In the fall & winter, swap the nude colors for darker ones to keep with the season, but follow the rest of the rules for keeping things ladylike.
Regardless of your tactics for achieving this look, a men’s watch is a must. It may truly be the key piece for this particular style. Pile on some pearl necklaces, bangles and loads of cocktail rings to complete your accessorizing. Don’t overdo it – if you jingle when you move, take off a few items of jewelry before you leave the house. In the fall & winter (or if you simply want an edgier look), when you’re wearing darker colors, you may want to trade the pearls and gold for chains and studs in pewter and silver, depending on the rest of your ensemble.
Choose a bag in that meshes well with the rest of your clothes. To many people view the purse as outside the outfit; on the contrary, especially when going for a menswear look, the purse is an integral part of your ensemble. A bag that clashes in any way (wrong colors, style, etc) can seriously break an outfit, while a bag that fits in seamlessly can make for an incredible ensemble. Small purses with long shoulder straps and clutches are very stylish right now, but the larger bags haven’t completely migrated off the fashion scene. Keep in mind though that larger bags tend to be more sensible for day time use, and small purses and clutches are more chic choices for evening outings.
Hats are the perfect way to top off a menswear look; my favorite are fedoras. Hats can completely transform an outfit – into something amazing or something hideous. They can be incredibly tricky to style, as hats don’t flatter everyone universally. Finding the perfect one for you and your outfit may take some work, but it will be well worth the effort when you find it. Some general guidelines for your hat hunting mission:
- If you’re using a spring/summer palette of light neutrals and pastels, try a straw fedora in a natural or cream shade.
- Embellishments such as ribbons, flowers or bows can add a uniquely feminine twist to a traditionally male accessory.
- In the colder months of fall and winter, when wearing darker colors, leave straw hats on the hook. Choose a fedora with a fun print, like pin stripes, leopard print, zebra print, etc.
- If the rest of your outfit ventures closer to the darker end of the color spectrum, feel free to add a pop of color with your hat – just make sure that it doesn’t clash with your outfit or your hair. It sits right on top of your head, so if it clashes with your hair it will be hideously apparent. Be wary of this if you choose a funky color.
- Try to choose a hat that is the same/is a similar color as one in the lower portion of your outfit. This will pull the look together; otherwise, it can look a bit random and out of place.
If you don’t have a blazer, you can instead opt for an oversized button down – add a tie for extra credit. Ties a little too much for you? Try a fun and unexpected twist on the idea, like a big bow (kinda like a bow tie, only better). If you don’t have one pre-made, DIY by wrapping a large ribbon under your collar as you would a tie, and tying it in a bow.
If you’re not comfortable in heels, or if they’re simply not practical for your day, switch to ballet flats (ones with bows or jewels will have the same effect as the wedges, but make sure they follow the same color scheme as the rest of your clothing). Even better, slip on some jazz oxford flats, like these from ThreadSence.com.
things to avoid
Don’t mix all three major players – blazer, oversized button down & tailored pants – as that could end up overpowering your womanly physique. Keep one or two items femme and play around with loose, boyfriend fits for the rest to create the perfect feminine menswear look. Some possible combos :: blazer + button down + skinny jeans; blazer + button down + leggings; blazer + ladylike blouse + tailored shorts; blazer + graphic tee + trousers… The possibilities are endless. Play around. Find what you like and work it.
I was able to purchase an entire menswear styled look from Forever 21 for about $110… It is absolutely my favorite outfit. You can see it in the photo attached to this article, or in my previous blog entry :: femme it up. I constructed the look using a peachy-pink blazer from their Love21 line ($27.80), a lavender-gray sleeveless tunic ($17.80, sale $8.99), taupe tailored shorts w/pleats ($17.80), nude buckle wedges (sale, $14.99), a straw fedora w/cream silk flowers ($12.80), a cloth floral bangle (sale, $1.00) & a gold & turquoise ring ($3.00). I completed it with a 3-layer necklace (gold chain, cream ribbon & pearls adorned w/a flower of cream ribbon), gold hoop earrings with gold & cream beading, and some other cocktails rings that I acquired on a different shopping trip. Everything except for two of the rings was from Forever 21.
so, to recap
- A men’s style watch is the key accessory for achieving a menswear style look.
- Structured, over sized blazers with small shoulder pads are a great way to add a menswear touch, without going all the way.
- Add trousers or tailored shorts to your blazer for the full effect. Pleating on these items make them even better.
- Let them know you’re a woman with a lady like blouse, jewelry & super tall wedges.
- Think light neutrals & pastels in spring and summer; blacks, grays, dark browns & other dark colors for fall & winter.
- Gold & pearls with ribbons & bows in spring & summer; studs & chains in pewter & silver for fall & winter.
- Cocktails rings are a must.
- Repeat after me :: My purse is an extension of my outfit.
- Perfect fedora = outfit perfection
- Avoid overkill; too much of any one thing (menswear pieces, bangles, cocktail rings, etc) will overpower the look.
- Play around. Have fun. Experiment.
True fashion is learning to enjoy yourself and what you’re wearing, finding a look you love and wearing with with confidence.
Style is the art of self-creation.