Monday, October 12, 2009

Fashion Trends: Get the Skinny on this Fall's Menswear Trends

Fashion is not just about the clothes we wear. It is about expressing ourselves and asserting ourselves in a world where we are capable of doing anything and going anywhere.

Virginia Woolf once wrote, “For most of history, anonymous was a woman.” It’s hard for me, and probably most of you, to even imagine a world where women could not voice their opinions publicly. There were definitely no Lady Gagas strutting red carpets in crazy getups or Katy Perrys proudly announcing their bisexual fantasies to the world; occurrences which have readily been accepted as today's norm in some parts of the world.

In centuries past, women were subdued both in attitude and appearance. Luckily for us, the days of corseted torsos and tight-lipped mouths are long gone. We’ve swapped out layers of crinoline and skirts in favor of leggings, jeans and, essentially, freedom. Now, we live in a world where fashion trends reflect our ever-expanding independence as an empowered gender.

That’s why I love this fall’s menswear trend for women. Being able to borrow from your man’s closet lets us blur those gender lines even more and give our wardrobes an added edge. There is something so subtly sexy and androgynous about donning your grandfather’s oversized cardigan or cinching a belt over your boyfriend’s white button down. And what better way to assert your powerful femininity than by proving that menswear can be worn by women, too?

This year, I find myself anxiously awaiting colder weather so I can break out my blazer and search for a pair of oxfords. Here are some of my fall favorites!

A really inexpensive blazer is hard to find, as I have found, but you can try shopping at kids’ stores, such as Gap Kids, for boys’ blazers. Urban Outfitters also has a reasonably priced selection, such as this Silence and Noise Boyfriend Open Tweed Blazer for $78. And, if you purchase online, you will get free returns and exchanges (a nice perk for nervous web shoppers!).

If you are in the mood for a splurge, J.Crew is also a great resource for well-tailored blazers. This Wool Schoolboy Blazer at $178.00 is a bit pricey, but it is a timeless piece that is worth the investment.

Our grandfathers started this trend years ago and, thankfully, we women have finally gotten wise to this comfy sweatshirt alternative. I seriously do not know what I would do without a slew of cardigans in my closet! Whether they are worn belted over a dress or paired with your favorite pair of jeans, cardigans transition so effortlessly from the office to the weekend. Get the look your old pops first made cool with this rich, purple cardigan from Old Navy that perfectly slouchy and budget friendly at $29.95. If you are going for a more subdued tone, it is also available in white, grey and black.

A classic, white button down is just so crisp and clean and, to me, is the key to the ultimate, power-wielding outfit. Who wouldn’t listen to you when you are wearing a casual, yet structured, shirt? If you’re afraid to keep dipping into your main squeeze’s closet, Banana Republic has the instant classic for $60.00.

Very rarely in life am I searching for good excuses to buy new shoes. But in case any of you are lacking solid reassurance, let these Deena and Ozzy Patent Loafers from Urban Outfitters make the final decision for you. They remind me of my first pair of penny loafers that my mother insisted were the only acceptable shoes to pair with my school uniform. For $38.00, you too can step into the menswear trend. I love, love, love this deep green pair, and they are also available in black and white.

Classic oxford meets updated heel in these Raleigh Tailored Oxfords from Etienne Aigner. I can never resist an amazing heel and these are the perfect way to get a dose of oxford without sacrificing femininity. At $49.95 on, these shoes are the right look for the right price.

But I want to remind us all of where we came from. If it weren’t for Virginia Woolf penning the progressive views of the modern girl, or Susan B Anthony championing a woman’s right to vote, or Hilary Clinton nearly nabbing the Democratic presidential nomination, we would not be standing in our adrogenous oxford shoes making our voices heard right along with the rest of society. Fashion gives us a lot to be thankful for, so the next time you slip into that boyfriend blazer, say thanks to the women who made it possible.

"Fashion Is Foremost Inspiration"

Erin Simpson

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