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Tomboys Do It Best

In a recent Net-A-Porter newsletter, one feature caught my eye. In a feature they titled ‘Borrowed from the Boys’ they featured the most discerning female fashion editors and models: they’re all wearing menswear, or masculine tailoring. Check out French model Caroline De Maigret looking simple and striking below:

 

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Polish 90s modelling sensation Malgosia Bela also cut a dash in boyish tailoring, adding PVC trousers for a sexy twist:

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Of course, girls dressing up as boys or in their boyfriend’s clothing is absolutely nothing new. It’s gone on for time immemorial, for good or for bad.

When I think of the most stylish example of this, I turn to the divine Marlene Dietrich, who made dressing like a boy the chic, sexily outrageous thing to do. It was also all sorts of revolutionary back in the 1930s – she was the Lady Gaga of her time.

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But it was film star Katharine Hepburn who really made the trend accessible. As a star in screwball comedy films that were the popular precursors to rom-coms, Hepburn could reach the masses. Her taste for trousers (scandalous at this point) and shirts went well with the feisty, no-nonsense women she played in these films – women who despite their strength and independence always got their man. Women no longer had to worry that they wouldn’t be sexy enough in trews. 

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And when Coco Chanel picked up on the trend, it went viral. When the queen of stylishness starts wearing a garment religiously, you know you’ve got a fashion classic!

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Of course, dressing like your boyfriend wouldn’t always work. Even the usually impeccable Victoria Beckham fell short of the trend when sporting matching leathers with David. I bet even now she’d hand over half her husband's footballing millions to get these photos taken off the internet forever!

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But when a girl can pull it off, doesn’t she look like a modern Katherine Hepburn? My favourite inspiration for this is the fantastic, sneery, insouciant Coco Sumner, who seems far too cool to be wonderful but cheesy popstar Sting’s daughter. She makes dressing like a schoolboy seem the obvious, sexy option. Check. Her. Out.

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And, a little less schoolboy, and a little more rocker:

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But what do you think? Is tomboy dressing something anyone can pull off or is it strictly for waify model types? Drop me a line in the comments below.

8 years ago