All of this, please. (Oh, except for that trucker hat.)
First off, thank you, Karizza Sanchez, over at Complex for writing this awesomely unapologetic piece. I’ve been mulling over the same exact first-person story idea for months and you took the words right out of my own fingertips:
Men’s fashion has a certain timeless quality that women’s fashion doesn’t always have. Trends for us last a season, two if we’re lucky. Some have told me this makes men’s clothes ‘boring.’ You can look at it that way, sure, but the glacial speed at which men’s style moves at means every garment has a considered focus on quality. And while there are obvious exceptions, menswear isn’t as overtly concerned with trends as its female counterpart.
Sanchez surely isn’t alone with her obsession over menswear and it’s funny that my first foray into men’s clothes and streetwear also had to do with dating a hypebeast back in high school and college. These days, I envy the closets of bloggers Stop It Right Now and India Rose. My idea of blouses aren’t your typical billowy silk tops from Free People, they’re structured button-downs from Equipment, Madewell, and Everlane. If I could live every day in a pair of leather pants, boyfriend jeans, or loose trousers, I would. I always offset my uniform of oversized sweaters or T-shirts with gold jewelry. But more inspired by the accessorizing of A$AP Rocky than say, Catbird‘s Instagram.
It’s not that I’m an actual tomboy through-and-through — I prefer the spa over sports — it’s just that I find my menswear-inspired pieces way more reliable and timeless than a peplum top or camisole. And the more that I think about, there’s been plenty of other instances, from childhood to present day, where I realized that I preferred menswear instead:
1. That time I dressed like a detective in third grade and then cried in the bathroom.
My teacher had us on a mystery books kick and so we had a special day lined up where we could dress like detectives instead of private school students. When it was time for all of us to dress into our costumes, mine was basically a complete replica of Diane Keaton from Annie Hall. All I can remember were the rest of the girls in their dark-colored dresses and wool capes (a very feminine rendition of Sherlock Holmes) laughing at me in the bathroom. I sat on the tile floor and cried into my checkered-print tie for a good five minutes, until I sucked it up and made my way to the classroom. At least my teacher was a huge fan of my look. (Thank you, Mrs. Schultz.)
2. That time my mom begged me to wear “something girly.”
I’m not sure what the occasion was — either going to church for Easter or some close family friend’s gathering — but I had come home for the weekend with nothing but black slacks and a few collared shirts. I figured pairing them with heels would make everything a bit more polished. When I went to show off my outfit to my mom (again, in the bathroom, what is it with me?), she suddenly went off on a tangent asking what happened to her “little girl that liked to wear dresses and skirts.” I reacted like any youngest child would, I did what I want.
3. The many times my current boyfriend described my style as something akin to a 12-year-old boy.
But I often find myself wearing his T-shirts and sweatshirts — because they baggily fit in the most perfect way — so he’s one to talk.
4. That time I realized I don’t own anything pink.
This most recent realization has a bit of irony to it. For my high school graduation party, I required everyone to wear a bit of pink with their outfit. (Apologies to all of the uncles who had to buy pink ties for the occasion.) Now, just the other week I received an email about having to wear pink accessories for an upcoming bachelorette party. I mentally scanned through my closet, jewelry box, and shoe rack to shades of black, gray, white, and navy. As a temporary solution, I have my eye on a pink clutch from Rent the Runway that I most definitely will return on time.
5. That time I was told I was in the men’s section by a concerned H&M employee.
Winter was approaching and so I was on the hunt for a good crewneck sweater to add to my wardrobe. As I was going through the selections of H&M, a sales associate approached me and said, “Excuse me miss, this is the men’s section,” his hands waving over the gender-assigned clothing racks as if he was some magical wizard. I immediately replied, “Yes. I know,” picked up three different sweaters, and had him lead me to the dressing rooms.
While I still own a handful of dresses (there are many weddings to attend at this point in my life, although I’ve been toying around with the idea of a long jumpsuit…) and skirts (and by skirt, I mean the skort that everyone has from Zara), chances are I’ll likely send them off to Beacon’s Closet in a season or two. But my collection of crewneck sweaters and sweatshirts? Those will stay with me forever.