|Fender T-shirt and Bass pants (thrifted); Jacket (Secret Ingredient); Fedora (Marigold); Leather brogues (Frye, Zappos)|
In high school, I found and fell in love with a sharp, double breasted black suit with crisp white pinstripes. It was at Goodwill. It was a man's suit. The pants were too big. The sleeves were too long. I bought it anyway. With enough safety pins in the right places, I thought it exuded a Prohibition era "gangster glam" look, especially with classic black and white spectators (yep - my obsession with the spectator began in my teens). Too bad I never actually got it tailored to fit...at least it didn't cost more than a half-hour's worth of tips from a weekend shift at Pizza Hut.
The oversized zoot suit was my first experiment with menswear, but certainly not my last. In college, I favored men's Levi's, slightly baggy and cuffed at the ankles, with silk ties from the menswear store where I had a part-time job. I actually just wore one of those ties recently (see it here).Twenty years later, I still like to pepper my wardrobe with menswear, though I pay a lot more attention to fit and tailoring now than I did back in the day. I also still like to check out the men's departments at thrift stores for hidden treasures that will blend into my own wardrobe. This Fender Guitar t-shirt and the glen plaid wool pants are two of my favorite thrifted purchases from the last year. I didn't buy them at the same time, or have any intention of wearing them together, but I really like the juxtaposition of a casual cotton T with classic wool flannel trousers. It's much less predictable, and far more "me" than plain old jeans and a T. The belted trench coat from local boutique Secret Ingredient and the Frye heeled brogues make the look more feminine, though even those items are also menswear inspired.
When you're trying to find your own unique style, consider options beyond what's on the department store mannequin. Thrift and consignment stores are good options when you want to experiment without making a big investment, and don't be afraid to throw a little menswear in the mix!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!