Comfortable and flattering: Woman discusses wearing men's clothing for a month

Welcome to the world of cross-gender dressing

Sarah Young
Wednesday 25 January 2017 18:54
comments

Nowadays, the gender binary is becoming less and less relevant, but nonetheless, many of us shy away from cross-gender dressing.

Sure, Jaden Smith might be wearing skirts and designers are increasingly sending genderless garb down the runway but, how realistic is it for a woman to wear men’s clothing in real life?

One writer, Lucy Rycroft-Smith, decided to find out, documenting her experience for feminist webzine The F Word.

She was inspired by the ‘Octieber’ challenge – a month long sartorial celebration of neckwear – and wondered, “What might happen if I wore a tie everyday?

Working in a big city and commuting for four to five hours each day, going shoulder-to-shoulder with men in suits – shirts, brogues, three-pieces and all –was going to be no mean feat.

But, as technically ‘masculine’ as tailoring might be, Lucy found comfort in menswear she had never been privy to before.

While Lucy documents that dressing formally as a woman typically means flashing more flesh, tight-fitting clothes and high heels, dressing like a man offered her a sort of nonchalance.

She found that the surmounting variety if outfit choices she faced wearing women’s clothing didn’t exist. Here, it was a matter of deciding between a few suits, shirts and a handful of ties.

The differences extended to footwear too as Lucy went about her business in shoes that were far more comfortable than she was used to.

After 30 days of wearing men’s clothes, Lucy became an ardent menswear devotee, ditching her bra and trading in heels for brogues but while she found solace in suiting, it left her disgruntled with the state of archaic womenswear standards.

“I’ve never worn clothes that have made me feel so comfortable, made it so easy to regulate my temperature and have been so simply flattering – never.

“Just putting on womens’ tailored trousers today – which at first glance may seem extraordinary similar to mens’ – makes me notice how tight and unforgiving the cut is.”

We might be a long way of completely genderless clothing but hyper-femininity no longer boasts the same credentials as once before, especially in the world of contemporary fashion.

While androgynous trends have previously focused on women wearing masculine silhouettes now, you can buy straight from the menswear department so, what should you be buying?

Aside from suits, men’s shirts have more structure and will give you a cool, blasé look. For extra style points, do the half tuck to show a little shape and leave the rest hanging loose.

Similarly, when it comes to denim, the trend for loose-fitting styles has soared of late so ditch those ‘boyfriend’ jeans in favour of an actual men’s pair.

This time of year also calls for chunky, oversized garb so opting for menswear knits, jackets and comfy tees will not only be super-comfy but also give your style credentials a serious boost.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments