Growing up, I often turned to women’s magazines to get my fashion fix. Aside from various cross-gender trends, I liked to catch a glimpse of what fashionable men were wearing at parties – stylists, designers or musician boyfriends offered clues to what I might want to be wearing. Magazines such as iD, Blitz and the Face provided precious insights into London’s often DIY style trends, but the word fashion, when used in the media, generally referred to womenswear. Magazines for men, when they covered fashion at all, were about suits and watches, neither of which got me very excited.
Since then, there has been an explosion in fashion media specifically for men (in line with spending – men’s outlay on shoes already rivals women’s). And while some play it safe with the old suits-and-watches formula, magazines, websites and blogs now cover the whole spectrum, from the sober to the incendiary.
All of this has taken my eye off what’s happening in womenswear. I meet a lot of stylish women and I appreciate what they wear, but it has been a while since I have sat down and really analysed the women’s shows from a man’s point of view. Androgyny is often shorthand for women wearing men’s clothes, but with men’s fashion becoming bolder, why shouldn’t it be the other way round? If there’s anything to be envied in women’s fashion it would have to be the sense of experimentation fand the freedom of not having to worry about the strict rules and pseudo “science” of how men are meant to dress.
Styled in the right way, here are five items to inspire you to look into womenswear for options. Even if the items below are out of your price range, the high street is bound to carry a variation you can afford.
1. Miu Miu’s short rubberised mac in blocked colours
The Miu Miu collection was full of retro A-line skirts reminiscent of Courrèges, but this short rubberised mac with modernist blocked colours is a luxury spin on wet-weather wear – and there’s no requirement to wear a thigh-flashing mini at the same time.
2. Hermès minimal overcoat in sculptural, felted wool
Of course, it helps when a designer’s work sets an androgynous tone, and that was definitely the case with Christophe Lemaire’s elegant clothes. Slouchy tux suits, oversized felted coats with huge lapels and buttery leather blousons all gave a nod to male dress codes while upping the chic factor.
3. Paul Smith’s elegant pyjama jackets
They might be a menswear staple behind closed doors, but the pyjama jackets at Paul Smith’s womenswear show revealed their potential as elegant evening wear, or playful summer dressing. Smith’s were in bright tones with deliberately clashing stripes and paisley. While this look obviously benefits from the surprise factor of seeing it on the female form, I still think it’s workable over plain shorts in summer or slim dark trousers in the evening.
4. Rick Owens biker pants
I might be cheating with this one slightly, as if there is one designer whose aesthetic translates effortlessly to both genders it’s Rick Owens. While his menswear collection earlier in the year presented similar streamlined shapes in supple leathers and shearling, the body-conscious biker pants with futuristic knee pads for women somehow surpassed the baggy pants in his menswear collection.
5. Sacai’s tailored wool jacket meets biker
Sacai’s collection showed a series of coats and jackets merging zipped biker lapels with bulky wool tailoring, knitted sections and even curly Mongolian lambskin. The crucial twist here is that the tailored jacket is the dominant partner in the mix.