This year, if Jaden Smith sporting a skirt in Louis Vuitton’s first 2016 ad campaign is any indication of upcoming trends, men will continue to borrow from womenswear.
After all, 2015 was the year Gucci embraced red lace shirts, chiffon pussy bow button-ups, and high ruffled collars. And no, I’m not talking about the womenswear collection. But Gucci isn’t the only label who’s borrowing from the girls. Saint Laurent debuted heels — and the tightest skinny jeans imaginable — while Givenchy layered skirts over pants for Fall 2015. Needless to say, high-end designers are offering menswear with a feminine twist. But the mass market is still reluctant to embrace the runway’s latest looks. In menswear, the selection is scarce.
So, what’s a man on a budget to do if he wants to strut his stuff like the latest Gucci runway model? Shop at your usual fast fashion stores, but shop in the women’s department. After all, women have been shopping in the men’s department for decades. Your button-up shirts, your over-sized sweaters, your jeans, we’ve been wearing them (thank you). And now, all the pussy bow button-ups you can dream of, we have them (you’re welcome).
Sebastian Blagdon, model, stylist and Humber College fashion student, is ahead of the trends and knows a thing or two about shopping in the women’s department and embracing unisex staples.
“I pretty much always go straight for the women’s section,” he says. “I don’t really view fashion as gendered. If you like it and it looks good on you then, whatever, wear it.”
The reason he shops in the women’s section is variety.
“There’s so much more in terms of fabrics, and trends, and, like, silhouette is huge as well.”
He shops at your typical fast fashion staples like Forever 21, Zara, H&M and Topshop, as well as at vintage boutiques. Though what will perhaps surprise you the most is that the women’s clothes actually fit him better than the clothes available in the men’s section.
“I remember trying on some women’s jeans for the first time and I was like ‘omg, they fit so well',” Blagdon says. “I know a lot of slender men who have trouble finding pants. I tell them: Just buy women’s jeans, no one will know the difference.”
If you’re not convinced, I also witnessed a little experiment this weekend. My female friend and my male friend swapped pants at a party. I swear, his butt looked better in her jeans. True story.
In order to successfully wear this season’s latest trend and find items in the women’s section that will still suit your manly figure, Blagdon suggests you essentially shop for menswear-inspired clothes in the women’s section.
“There are a lot of clothes out there that are women’s clothes, that look like they could be men’s clothes, but they are just more interesting. They’re slightly more flared, or they have, like, some different cuts here and there, and they have different patterns,” Blagdon says.
Some examples of menswear-inspired women’s clothing include pants, jackets and blouses – essentially men’s basics. What you really have to watch for is cut and fit.
Menswear-inspired womenswear is generally cut more loosely. It doesn’t have a womanly fit – something Blagdon says you should wear with caution.
“I would never wear a corset with, like, a sweetheart neckline. You need a womanly figure for that,” he says.
Yes, it’s confusing – you’re shopping in the women’s section for menswear-inspired clothes. But, as I mentioned, women have basically been stealing from men. So now men are really just reclaiming what is theirs — in new patterns and colours. Let’s just say we’re even now.
Better Button Ups
Button-up shirts are a major men’s fashion must-have, but in order to get away from your usual checkered blue print, venture into the women’s side. If you’re gearing up for Spring 2016, you can get this Gucci-inspired look for about $30. I found it at Forever 21… in the women’s section. I didn’t spot it on the men’s side, though I did spot a lot of plaid.
Pants are another item you might consider buying in the women’s section, whether you’ve been looking for a more fitted look or are just ready to test different patterns and prints. If you’re a Dolce & Gabbana fan, you can get their Spring 2016 look for less as well – in the women’s section at Forever 21.
If your style is more avant-garde, you’re still likely to find something in the women’s section. If you like this Spring 2016 Bottega Veneta jacket, you can find it with the womenswear at H&M. I didn’t find anything similar in the men’s section.
In the end, whether you find them in the women’s or the men’s section, clothes are all just pieces of fabric stitched together. So if you really want to be on trend this year, give the women’s section a try.