Written by: Brett Haynie
When Allie asked me to contribute to Before You Leave the House…, I didn’t have to look very far to find inspiration: namely, our combined closets. Allie loves sharp tailoring and menswear inspired pieces but still loves to feel girly, while I am a womenswear fanatic who is perhaps less ostentatious in personal style than the fashions I so studiously follow. So how do we add these gender-neutral items to our wardrobes without feeling overwhelmed and downright conspicuous? While I don’t suggest men wear heels (although I’ve seen a few totally work it) or women wear cargo shorts (Carrie Bradshaw aside), I do suggest pulling inspiration from the opposite sex.
Allie loves wearing a great men’s shirt; luckily for her, she’s a stylist and knows how to pull it off. I think an oversized shirt on top (mens or womens) calls for something slimming on bottom: think pencil skirts, leather skinnies, or your favorite pair of skinny jeans. But you can go beyond just styling a great menswear piece by adding an inspired piece: pair a sharply tailored blazer with a pleated skirt, throw on a beautiful combat boot with an oversized cashmere and skinny jeans, or add a leather biker jacket to a slinky slip dress. The key here is juxtaposition - a touch of masculine to a feminine shape or color palette reads super chic.
My male readers are probably wondering by now how I translate womenswear into every day mens looks, and the answer is simple: borrow sparingly. Mix up your suit with a turtleneck of the same color for a monochromatic look, swap your jeans for a cropped trouser and sneakers, or add a floral loafer to your shoe rotation. These three examples are ones I pulled straight from my closet and have worked for me, so take the risk and see what happens for you!
So whether you are stepping out with your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day or gearing up for a fun weekend away with friends, keep these style hacks in mind and you’ll be sure to catch someone special’s eye!