Saturday, July 14, 2007


At the moment, all I want to wear is a thin white cotton mens' shirt, sleeves rolled up, roughly tucked into mannish trousers, no jewellery, no make up except polished fingers and toes (back into rouge noir). I'd wear my old petrol blue Prada Oxfords on my feet but I somehow managed to separate the uppers from the soles (my shoe guy assures me they'll be fine) - Although the look I'm veering towards owes a lot to the photos of people during the Depression by Walker Evans, I don't actually want to look that much like a poverty stricken depression era farmer. By way of the strange osmosis that often happens, recent posts from both The Sartorialist and Jen at Simply Photo are on the influence of the FSA photo project that documented those years.

Maybe it's the lack of summer here, the way that a cheery dress just doesn't feel right when the sky is uniformly grey, the sun never shines, it drizzles intermittently and can't decide whether it's cold or unpleasantly humid. I just feel like wearing the very perfect stripped back basic of everything. So I've adopted this kind of androgynous uniform, not that I've really noticed anyone else doing a similar thing. It's a jumble of references, but I know what it isn't: It's not Annie Hall and it's not really as glamorous as Katharine Hepburn. I'm reliving the Helmut Lang years in a way, and god do I wish I'd bought more H.L. back in the day (as in actually designed by him) when I had the chance, but alas, not the bank balance.

Maybe it's not something that would appeal if you worked in an office where business dress is compulsory, (thank you, thank you, thank you, much gratitude, oh, thank you Universe that I don't work in an office) to then spend the weekend wearing what is basically what most men wear to work. I believe that without a good manicure, perfume and carrying a smallish bag (not the enormous Anna Corinna tote I usually lug around) this style could be almost indistinguishable from that of a male office worker. I was quite enjoying the slouchy crumpledness of it all, then looked around at about 5pm last Friday to see a load of blokes standing outside the pub holding pints (outside is the new inside since the smoking ban) dressed pretty much the same as me. My concept of slouchy crumpledness was hastily re-defined and refined.

So, since I'm not in much of a shopping mood - there may be a forthcoming post about the merits of different brands of mannish trousers - I've decided the only thing to do is get a boyfriend so I can nick his clothes. Only he'd have to have a lot of Comme des Garcons shirts/Raf Simons trousers for me to steal. And how is such a boy going to be interested in a girl wearing no make up, and deliberately asexual clothing on a Saturday night? I'll let you know.

*EDIT: Later that evening...Ahem, in the course of walking down the street from my flat to the off-licence dressed in this way I received an, "Allo....gorgeous." Then after exiting the offy with a bottle of wine - from across the street outside the pub I heard, "You shoulda come in 'ere, I woulda bought you a drink."

Walking back up the street a VW camper van passed by and emitted a huge wolf whistle which I swear was made by some kind of siren rigged up to it, which is really rather sad.

However, it is unlikely that either of these charming young mens' wardrobes would be of much use to me but, hey, the androgyny thing seems to be a hit with the fellas.

I'm just sayin'.

Or maybe it's the humidity making them crazed.

{Image 1 from old Italian Vogue, image 2 from old Paris Vogue.}


Bombay Beauty said...

I quite agree - boyfriends are useful things. There is a utilitarian beauty to men's clothing (as opposed to men's fashion), but when worn by a woman it transformed in to something much sexier.

I used to have a uniform, the same outfit which I wore every day for about 10 years, with some variations of color, but it was bespoke, not off the rack. It had many advantages. The what do I wear question was one a few simple variations. Also people got to know me just by the look. Even people who didn't know me, knew me, if you know what I mean...

It is also true that I used to eat the same dinner for about 5 of those years, so perhaps it's not such a good thing after all.



Anonymous said...

OMG-- J'adorrrrre this post. Cosmic ordering the Raf Simons was *such* a good idea! XO, LC

Iheartfashion said...

Love that androgynous look: mannish trousers, button downs, Raf Simons, CdG, Helmut...swoon.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a great look. And from the mouths of these certain fellows you have mentioned, I guess they agree too.

gracia said...

A little bit Katharine Hepburn, a little bit androgynous... all flung together with seeming ease... how that look has alluded me for years. Sadly, like the perfect white shirt, it seems to be one I can only long to pull off. One day, one day.

Enjoy those invitations alluring... see you, g

Eileen said...

It's a great look! I actually wore it yesterday =]

jennifer :: the make lounge said...

it's my favourite look, too! lovely post.

Chase said...

There's totally nothing wrong with the business androgynous look! My mother used to wear that to work everyday, and it's definitely on its way to breaking down some sex-typed clothing assignments!

Rock on.