Joining The All Boys Club

November 10, 2009 § 4 Comments

Women have long been borrowing from the boys for fresh additions to the closet and truth be told, we often look better in their clothing anyways. On the screen in Bonnie and Clyde, Annie Hall, and on the frames of Diane Keaton, Lauren Bacall, and Kate Hepburn for example. These and other glamorous style icons have adapted mens blazers, trousers, hats and neckwear in a decidedly relaxed feminine way that reads, ‘I nonchalantly threw this on…and that’s precisely why I look so stunning.’

I am a fan of menswear-inspired oxfords and blazers. Fitted, of course. Maybe wearing nothing but button-down shirts with a blazer and plaid skirt for 10 years cemented them into my style psyche. Bottom line: everyone looks good in a blazer. Everyone. The uniform-wearing days might also explain my recently resurgent fascination with mens oxford shoes. I love the black and white saddle shoes that the local prep schools require their girls to wear and I have a severe soft spot for suede bucks; so very preppy, so very east coast. I owned not only bucks back in school, but also a pair of black monk-strap loafers, during the 90’s…a little Winona Ryder in Reality Bites with her heavy wingtip oxfords and floral feminine dresses. I never desired to go as far as looking manly, or even androgynous, but loved toughening up my naturally girlie tendencies with more structured pieces.


Church's traditional brogues

My latest shoe craving is in the form of these menswear shoes, traditional brogues: a heavy shoe of untanned leather, born in Scotland and Ireland, usually possessing perforations and wing tips. The best known and best made brogues hail from the British Isles, arguably from Church’s. Each Church’s pair is hand made and has been since 1873, and brogues are their specialty. They’re on my desires list. See also Cole, Rood & Haan’s brilliant offerings.

Oxfords graced last year’s runways and the menswear trend is bearing heavily on fall/winter this year as well. For gents these are an easy, classic, can do no wrong shoe in my book, particularly with dark, clean denim. For the ladies, I think they’re the perfect complement to skinny jeans and loose knits, tights and sweater dresses, bare legs and shorts. There are many iterations: two tone, heeled, flat, smooth, wingtip. I’m craving a light tan, wingtip cognac pair. Not as severe as black, the lighter brown blends into the skin, elongates the leg, and it looks great with navy, my favorite color. (Am I too grown up to have a favorite color?)


Images via Gant, Anthropologie, J. Crew, the Sartorialist, Net-a-Porter

Go get a pair. Tell me how you’ve worn them. Maybe take a picture or two.

For a few more pairs, visit here:

Steve Madden ‘Melin’, Steve Madden ‘Tuxxedo’, J.Crew ‘Elsbeth Oxford’, Cole, Rood & Haan (multiple styles)


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