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Real-Life Style Challenge: Borrowing from the Boys


Oxford Shoes

This week’s Real-Life Style Challenge is inspired by our friends of the opposite sex. Menswear-inspired fashion for women has been making the rounds at fashion week for many seasons now. We’ve covered the menswear trend here before, but this week I’m taking the look to the streets and testing it for real.

The Challenge:

This week’s challenge is to style a week’s worth of outfits featuring menswear-inspired pieces, (or items that have historically been associated more with menswear than womenswear) including boy blazers, oxford shoes, and button-down shirts. Ready to see how it goes? Read on!

The Results:

Style Challenge: Borrowing from the Boys

  • Monday: I wore a chambray shirt tucked into my black jeans with a cropped gray blazer on top.
  • Tuesday:  I layered a white button-up shirt underneath a blue crew neck sweater. Brown pants completed the look.
  • Wednesday: Today I went for casual and cool, pairing a simple white v-neck with jeans. To keep with the boy-styled look, I threw on a letterman jacket, straw fedora and oxford shoes.
  • Thursday: Literally borrowing from the boys, I wore an oversized mens sweater taken from my boyfriend’s closet! To finish it off, I put on black jeans and brown boots.
  • Friday: Business casual again! Today I paired a blue pinstripe button up with a navy blue blazer and brown pants. To keep things feminine, I added a bow headband.

What I Learned:

While I had some idea of what menswear was — blazers, oxfords and button downs — I was amazed at how much fashion inspiration I got from the boys around me during this week!

I’m fourtuate enough to go to a school where even the boys take fashion seriously, so when I decided to do this challenge, I spent time looking  at the boys on campus to see how they styled their outfits. Sometimes it was the simplest outfits – like a sweater layered over a button-down with jeans – that didn’t occur to me until I saw them on a boy.

A few more tips I picked up from this challenge:

  • Menswear-inspired does not mean baggy clothing! “Inspired” is the key word here. For a menswear-inspired look that’s still fashion-forward, mix slouchy pieces with tailored pieces, like I did with my chambray shirt and blazer.
  • There are so many small accessories you can add to a look to get that menswear feeling. Invest in a good pair of oxfords, add a mens watch, or experiment with a bow-tie or suspenders. Or when it’s warmer, try rolling up the cuffs of your wider pants and adding oxfords for a cute, slightly androgynous aesthetic.
  • Remember to still stay true to your everyday style! You shouldn’t feel like you’re wearing a costume.
  • Still feel the need to go shopping? Stores like American Apparel have a great selection of unisex styles that will flatter the female figure, but still give you the boy-inspired look you’re going for.

What do you think?

Would you try this challenge? Which of my menswear-inspired looks do you like best? Do you ever rock mens clothing or accessories? If so, how? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on on March 9, 2012 / Filed Under: Fashion News / Tags: , ,

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25 Responses to “Real-Life Style Challenge: Borrowing from the Boys”

  1. 1
    March 9th, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Monday and Wednesday are my favorites. I like wearing women’s cut blazers and button downs. I generally pair them with skirts or dresses because my style is pretty feminine so when borrowing from the boys it’s a good way to stay true to my own aesthetic.

  2. 2
    March 9th, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Definitely love menswear inspired looks…Wednesday’s outfit was a cool twist on the idea.

  3. 3
    March 9th, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    This is great. I am a huge fan of button downs and oxfords. I especially love your looks from Monday, Tuesday and Friday.

  4. 4
    March 9th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    My boyfriends closet is actually where I go from most of my inspiration! So much so that I actually have staples in my wardrobe that come straight from his closet. It’s like having a second closet to shop from every morning ;] although I can’t pull off everything haha

    xx Great post love the weekly idea

  5. 5
    March 9th, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Love Monday & Wednesday! I think the farthest I’d go into mens clothing is a button up shirt, haha I like my skirts/dresses :) Great post!

  6. 6
    March 9th, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Love your Wednesday outfit. It is so simple and cool. And your boy-friend’s sweater is nice. I have stolen sweaters from my dad after they have shrunk in the wash, and I think that men’s sweaters are really comfortable and sometimes stylish. Then again, I have seen really hideous ones too, so there is really no telling.

  7. 7
    March 9th, 2012 at 7:37 pm

    I love menswear-inspired clothes. My style is pretty eclectic so you will often see me paring menswear-esque pieces with feminine looks (like wearing a flowy dress with oxfords and a boyfriend cardigan).

  8. 8
    March 9th, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I love menswear-inspired outfits! Some of items in my closet are even from the menswear section. Haha! I love the idea of mixing menswear pieces with the feminine items in my closet, like wearing a dress with oxfords or tucking a button down into a skirt… :)

  9. 9
    March 9th, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    I love menswear-inspired outfits! Some of items in my closet are even from the menswear section. Haha! I love the idea of mixing menswear pieces with the feminine items in my closet, like wearing a dress with oxfords or tucking a button down in a skirt… :)

  10. 10
    March 9th, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    You pretty much nailed my style on most days. I really like your Wednesday outfit, makes me wish I had a varsity jacket!!

  11. 11
    March 9th, 2012 at 10:06 pm

    I’m really loving this series! You always look adorable! It would be great if you could let us all know what you were planning to do for the next week – that way we could play along! It would be good way to try and plan some outfits!!

  12. 12
    March 9th, 2012 at 11:12 pm

    my style is in general pretty femenine, but i do own a boy’s sweater (my brother’s… who wont stop growing, and since it doesnt fit him anymore its mine now =), it’s navy blue and i love it! for some reason, girl’s clothes are always colder! i guess they make them thinner or something… but i love my brother’s sweater because it’s so warm! AND stylish. i usually pair it with tights and a belt so it doesnt look so baggy.

  13. 13
    March 10th, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Great post! I also take things from my brother’s and boyfriend’s closets! They have such great style – I can hardly resist!

  14. 14
    March 10th, 2012 at 6:23 am

    Wow girl, you look great! I love the third pic!

  15. 15
    March 10th, 2012 at 2:18 pm

    I buy almost everything except food and clothing from online auctions.

    Most people aren’t aware of the almost unbelievable deals that they can get from online auction sites.

    The site that has the best deals is saveonbuy com

    and I checked with the Better Business Bureau and was told that it is all legit.

    How they can sell gift cards, laptops, cameras, and all kinds of goodies that we all want for 50-90% off, I don’t know. I do know that I bought my son an iPad there for less than $100 and my husband a $250 Loews gift cards for $48.

    Why would I even think about shopping anyplace else?

  16. 16
    March 10th, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I LOVE absolutely LOVE Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. I’m from Louisiana and it’s getting pretty hot here but I’m already looking for pieces to recreate these outfits and getting ready for the fall.

  17. 17
    March 10th, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    If you don’t mind me asking, where did you get your letterman jacket? I love it!

  18. 18
    March 10th, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    @ Joelle- I’ll try to do that ! Thanks for the idea!

    @ Allie- The jackets from Urban Outfitters. And thanks!

  19. 19
    March 17th, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I love menswear. I think she looks cute. I like the button ups and the jacket.

  20. 20
    September 25th, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    i like your shoes, where did you buy them? ;)

  21. 21
    November 13th, 2012 at 10:27 pm

    You’re so little and cute! Hee hee :)! Or perhaps its just the photos…. nice outfits btw.

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