Saturday, August 13, 2011

Mens wear for women who dare

Women have been borrowing clothes from men's closets for years. It was not until the 19th century that in the Western World, women started to wear trousers for labor work. And it became generally accepted into the world of women's fashion in the 70s. For some women wearing trousers was a sign of emancipation.
But I am not going to give you a lecture on Women and men's wear. I just want to talk about pieces borrowed from men that I enjoy.

The Trousers:
I cannot imagine that women back in the days could not wear trousers. I mean I love dresses and skirts to death but nothing is comfier than a nice pair of trousers. You could run, ride bicycle without fear of flashing someone. It is true that trousers nowadays have evolved to fit women better. They are shaped in such a way that they reveal curves...Some even go as far as being outrageously sexy. But they still have a favorite place in my heart. I love almost all kind of pants from the jeans (I own several pairs) to the slacks, cargo, wide legs, cropped pants and even (particularly) sweats. Once they fit your right, they are a marvel.

My fave: Boyfriend jeans

The Shirt:
Do you know why most shirts have two buttons at the bottom (that seem useless to you)? Well, it seems that back in the days, people use to button those and make a kind of jumpsuit out of the shirt.
I like men's shirt because they remind me of my Dad. He used to wear an uniform for work so he had tons of white shirts. And he even had a wider collection of colored shirts that he would wear for parties. I used to dream of stealing his shirts and I was lucky enough that he would give me some shirts (he received as presents) he did not need. From that moment, I had the feeling that there was nothing better than a crisp white shirt (or blue)

Just too much trouble ironing it to get it crisp

The Tie:
My dad once gave me a tie. But I am always hesitant to wear it. I do like it but I think that I am not fashion forward enough to be wearing ties in public. I think loose bow ties a la school girl would be more my style. But I think that a woman wearing a tie is kind of sexy and dominating.

Colorful ties

The Vest:
Vests have been very popular recently. They made a comeback in men's fashion ever since JT brought sexy back. But they are also coming into women's wear. And they do not always stay in the preppy style. Many celebrities and fashion bloggers have been spotted wearing vests with maxi dresses or simple tees. As for myself, I do own two vests but I have yet to wear them. They are going to be my next challenge.

The Tailored jacket:
A men in a perfect tailored jacket is considered sophisticated, a lady in a perfect tailored jacket is absolutely stunning. She will turn heads wherever she goes. My mistake was to think that a tailored jacket was only reserved for work or a formal event. I am glad to realise that it is going in the streets, mixed with tees and skirts.

Tailored jacket at Zara for way too much

The oxfords:
I have coveted oxfords for a long time. I used to own a pair my Dad gave me (He did contributed a lot to my love of fashion more than my Mother, how funny). I would wear it with everything, particularly flower printed dresses. I just adore those shoes. Years later I found a similar pair in Seoul and I was bargaining the price when my husband intervene saying he was a greater bargainer than I was. Result: he ended up pissing off the seller who just shooed us aways from his stall. He promised he would get me another pair later. And to this day he has not. But I am not waiting for him anymore. As soon as I see a pair with the price I like I will indulge.
Oxfords at HM for less than 5000Y

The Fedora hat:
Blame Michael Jackson for my love of fedora hat. He was so stylish in his white one in his Smooth criminal video. Fedora hats inspire much more than style to me, they inspire mystery. There is something about how you wear it that makes you look so cool and/or mysterious. I should wear mine more often.

Summer's trend: straw fedora hat

The Trench coat:
Probably one of my favorite item borrowed from menswear. I dream of the perfect trench coat and I still have to find it. A woman wearing a trench coat oozes style and sophistication. And a little bit of mystery.

Burberry Trench coat 2011 - (for a $1000 I do not have and would not use to buy it even if I had them. Still want it though)

Some items borrowed from menswear did not make the list (polo shirts, boxers, watches anyone?). Yet that does not mean that they are not women' s favorite items nowadays. Sometimes, I wonder about the items men could possibly steal from us that they enjoy as much as we do what we stole from them. Any ideas?

PS: Well I thought this post was over but it seems like I forgot something. This is one of the most important menswear I used and covet to this day: the Sebago shoes (or Docksides). For those of you who do not know about these shoes, check the pic below.

Pure perfection

These shoes were the bomb in the 90s back home. Any self respecting teenager and man owned a pair. Mind you some of them were fake but we did not care. Some girls even began to follow the trend. I had a blue one in my teens and then moved to a brown one in 2000. My husband owned a brown pair for more than 10 years that was falling apart. I remember listening to my guy friends telling me that Sebago shoes must be treated with love. The sole being white, it was not made for our dirty roads back home. That is why most of my guy friends would spend hours erasing the dirt with small erasers. Yes, erasers! That was how much they loved their shoes.

Some famous women wearing menswear

Katherine Hepburn

Annie Hall or Diane Keaton

Ellen DeGeneres

My all time fave TLC: they made baggy pants sexy (needless to say that I follow that trend in my teens)

Why I should stop buying accessories

Did you ever enter Forever 21 or better yet Charming Charlie and lusted over every piece of accessories they had in store? Well, I have and I really should not because I have my own little Charming Charlie in my house except for the well decorated and color coordinated setting.
I have too much jewelry, most of it junk, some real good pieces of gold and silver collectえd and gifted from all over. I love accessories. It is kind of hard to know because I rarely wear jewelry. It is such a hassle to wear accessories. When I used to work, I would accessorize a lot, and as soon as I arrive work, I would start removing everything starting from bracelets and then rings and then earrings. I enjoy jewelry like the next girl but they are not really part of me as much as I would like them to be.
You would think that this should stop me from wanting more. No way! I lust and I buy. Then they get stored and some are never worn. Take this beautiful piece I bought at a Moroccan stall in an International Fair back in 2002.

Necklace made of beads, bought in 2002. Never been worn!

 I always die whenever I see it because it is so beautiful (and my best friend has or at least bought the same piece in another color with me that day). Yet, I never had the courage to wear it. I find it too fancy. And so far, I have not remembered to wear it whenever I was suppose to go somewhere fancy.
The other reason why I do not wear my jewelry is that (like my shoes stored under my son' s bed) I do not remember them. They are stored at random in several places around the house. I have some in 3 vanity cases, some in my tiny jewelry boxes and some other in biscuits tins. They are so disorganised that it takes me forever to find one particular piece. And sometimes I find that some accessories are broken or that my necklaces are all tangled up.

Some of my "jewelry boxes": pouches bought in Sandaga market

I arranged my jewelry in ziploc bag because it is easier to grab whenever I travel

But it is still a mess

Cookie box turned into jewelry box

Same here

Cluttered mess: my recycled black jewelry box under a jewelry box from Haiti gifted from M.

For this reason, and this reason only, I am on the hunt for a great piece of jewelry box, huge enough to hold all my accessories, but small enough to be set on top of my dresser. I am not going to buy anything new. I will look for something old. I am going to try my search in recycling shops (I got my actual jewelry box from a recycle shop) and/ or flea markets. I heard that there is a great Japanese flea market every month in Machida. Some of my friends did great shopping there. And I will have to check it out as soon as my shopping ban is lifted. I hope I will get lucky.

Some great ideas for organising jewelry

Put it on a wall:
Who says a wall cannot be used to display all your jewelry? That is not my style but it is a great way to showcase once jewelry. Plus once you see your jewelry every day, it is easier to remember them. You can get a huge frame from your craft store or thrift shops and find some hangers and put them all on your wall. Or just use plain wall hangers. Or use plain hooks. It all depends on your style

Get a jewelry tree:
Claire's used to have great collection of jewelry trees where you could hang your necklaces or rings. But I want to go the African route and get myself one of these tiny baobabs. If only I was crafty, I would make myself one in wire..

Baobab tree available at

Remold an antique dresser into a jewelry box:
 Just get any antique dresser your liking, and add velvet lining inside it. Or find some organising trays at Ikea and organize your dresser into a jewelry box by grouping items.

Recycle food tins, bento boxes or present boxes:
Sometimes food like cookies come in boxes made of tin that are irresistible. You could just reuse them. Find an organiser that would fit inside the box and rearrange your jewelry. Actually I use two boxes like that for my beaded necklaces and one big present box that use to contain Hermes perfume and soap set to hold my headbands. Japanese lacquer bento boxes are also a great use. Some of them already come with divided spaces.

Inside a bento box with divided space
Two-tiered bento box

Get a draw storage box:
Any draw storage box will do. Get one in the color your like or just repaint a simple one if you are crafty. You can even add glitter if you are into them. It all depends on you. As for me, I cannot stop lusting over this piece owned by Hijablicious

Accessory draw storage box owned by

One of my biggest dream is to collect jewelry boxes from all over the world. I have such an obsession with tiny jewelry boxes that whenever I travel, they are some of the first thing I check in markets. There so cute and fun. If it was possible for me to use them and remember what I put in them, that would be great.

What about you? How do you organize your jewelry?


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