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The Psychology Behind Wearing “Men’s” Clothing

A theory.


Sometimes a random trend comes into my life like a poetic surge. It's a sudden, strong “I have to have it” feeling. I fall so deeply obsessed that I have to actually cut myself off from my bank account (like the time I slashed my credit card in half to stop myself from buying another trucker hat in 2007), and lock my closet doors as if everything inside will oxidize into pyrite and combust.


I fell victim to the same trend-obsessing restlessness the past two years. No, I’m not talking about pearl hair clips or neon headbands. This particular trend required more thought - I couldn’t shrug it off as another contrived, fleeting fad. It became less a “thing” and more of an allurement that I couldn’t quench. After all, fashion has an innate pull that awakens my subconscious.


Enter: Men’s Inspired Clothing.


Last week, while I was trying to figure out what to wear to a holiday party, I asked myself, "what is my obsession with menswear?" Blazers, pantsuits, ultra baggy boyfriend jeans, graphic tee's, long button down shirts... I mean someone should cut me off with all of the styles and variations currently residing in my closet. Is it the comfort and roominess of it all? Or the popularity of it on runways season after season?


Or maybe it has nothing to do with the actual material clothing itself, but a constant lingering feeling I need to convey; Rebellion.


Rebellion against the political and social climate still challenging women today: sexism, racism, economic inequality, lack of respect and resources for caregiving, trauma-centered feminism, lack of respect for our bodies and what we do with them. Just to name a few.


But, let's back up. Where is the connection? Why wear menswear to rebel against women inequality?


It’s no surprise for centuries social customs were austere in relation to women’s clothing. (Let’s face it - social customs are austere in relation to women periodT). Expected to sashay around the house in dresses and underskirts, and frolic about in painfully tight corsets- it seemed like society’s “rule” for women to dress delicate and feminine at all times was also society's way of suppressing them.


It wasn’t until the 1850s when women's rights activists stood up and fought tirelessly to say “screw you” to this concept and speak out against the modus operandi of proper attire. Further hammering the nail into the cement wall, Coco Chanel also dismissed the idea of feminine styling. She accelerated the movement towards female empowerment and paved the way for menswear-inspired clothing. Followed by the likes of Yves Saint Laurent, making tuxedos for women. YSL was crucial in this revolution because he didn’t feminize pants (or other articles of mens clothing); he was literally just putting women in menswear.

 

"I had founded a maison de couture. It was not the creation of an artist, as it has become fashionable to maintain, or the work of a businesswoman. It was rather the work of a person who sought only her liberty." - Coco Chanel

 

And now, decades later, mens-inspired clothing is everywhere. Runways, streetwear, office attire, movies, TV... you name it-I've seen it. It’s back with a vengeance, and I have to wonder if timing and the current state of our country played a role in its homecoming.


From the exhausting debates against pro-choice movements to the overwhelming number of rape and sexual assault victims globally - these issues have had daily real estate in the media for the past few years, which uncovers one sinister truth: the fight for women's rights is still on.


This is the primal reason I find the return of men's inspired clothing incredibly awakening. In addition to the comfort and ease of the actual vesture, this wave into men’s fashion seems like an act of rebellion, in which we refuse to lay down and obey societal expectations. Taking control of our self-expression as women, telling the world to “back the f*ck off, I am a force to be reckoned with.”


If you, too, have gloried in men’s fashion, consciously or subconsciously - whether it’s a pair of boyfriend jeans, a blazer dress, or even a damn trucker hat and combat boots - remember that what you’re wearing holds an opinion. One that should be heard.


So, continue to wear your truth, say what you need to say, and rebel against societal norms. I assure you, society is listening, even if the declaration is just perceived as “fashion.”

 

A few of my favorite takes on menswear inspired looks:


Structured Shoulder Blazer: throwing on a well-fitted blazer instantly makes you polished. Even if you’re just wearing it with sneakers and a tee.

Find (similar options): ASOS and Shopbop


Slouchy Boyfriend Jeans: fyi, mine seem to get baggier and baggier every year.

Find: Zara


Long Sleeveless Vest: I am all for a long structured waistcoat. *A tip for my fellow shorties: find a vest that hits at the center of your thigh. It'll help elongate your overall appearance.

Find (similar options): BCBG via Nordstrom Rack and Amazon


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