Boy Meets World
Tomboy style becomes a fashion mainstay
Style / 19 Feb 2013
Women have been “borrowing from the boys” for decades but, as the influence of tomboy fashion continues to inform street style, retailers, and even clothing designers themselves, are increasingly taking note. New brands, independent boutiques, and even luxury collections are echoing this gender-bending sensibility by marrying the slouchy practicality of menswear with an eye for feminine styling.
: Named for the German word for “tomboy,” Wildfang is a forthcoming lifestyle brand for women who are tired of raiding the men’s department. Equal parts e-commerce and editorial, Wildfang was founded by Emma McIlroy and Julia Parsley, two former Nike employees who recognized a retail industry discrepancy between women who embody the tomboy spirit and stores that effectively hone it beyond seasonal trends. Employing the marketing know-how they earned during their corporate tenure, the duo aims to make the site not just a place to buy masculine garb cut for female frames but also a community for women who share said rebel sensibility.
Mill Mercantile
: Independent chainlet Unionmade has been dressing Californian men in heritage wares since it opened in San Francisco in 2009. But over the years, its founders noticed a curious thing—it wasn’t just men coming in for selvedge denim, classic button-downs, and sporty caps; and the ladies frequenting the shop weren’t only shopping for their boyfriends and husbands. Rather than simply stocking Unionmade with women’s clothing as an afterthought, they opted to conceive a spin-off boutique, Mill Mercantile, dedicated entirely to tomboy chic. The store specializes in high quality basics similar to those of its brother emporium, but in cuts more flattering to women.
Laurent Homme: A new name isn’t all that’s different about the French design house formerly known as YSL. For his debut menswear collection for the controversially reinvented brand, creative director Hedi Slimane sent a not-so-subtly unisex wardrobe down the runway. Not only were the clothes (slim leather pants, shrunken varsity jackets, structured blazers) tastefully androgynous—well, androgynous for the type of man who’d wear Saint Laurent—but Slimane went so far as to cast both male and female models to don the garments. With luxury men’s clothes being a tough sell, it may prove a clever way to market what are essentially two women’s lines.
©The Intelligence Group