This outfit is decidedly more masculine in style. It's the kind of outfit Tomboy would wear, not to conquer the climbing of trees, but to scale the citadel of the Big Smoke, cutting a swathe through meetings and deadlines!
My go to inspiration for this look is Kelly from Alterations Needed. A fellow petite style blogger from the States, Kelly has EFFORTLESSLY nailed this 'inspired by menswear' style. I loved her How to Wear a Tie post from last November and it set me thinking that I could do my own twist on the theme, with one of my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge outfits.
I only own one tie - this Leopard Print Scarf Tie - which wasn't going to be right for the outfit in mind. I'd decided to use a thin black & grey patterned scarf and knot it as a tie, but as soon as I saw the sequin number, literally only a week ago, the black one got bumped! Sorry black & grey patterned scarf. Another time.
The scarf was tangled up amongst all sorts of odds and sods on a forlorn looking sale rack in New Look. You know, the rack that contains the last dregs of the sale that nobody seems to want. Clearly, people had completely missed this gem. However, the sequins sparkled just enough in the half light at the back of the rack to catch my beady eye. I rescued it and instantly knew it would be perfect for my suited and booted post!
What if you want to create a masculine look or find yourself drawn more to that style of dressing?
How can you achieve this without looking too hard edged?
The secret is to add a few, subtle feminine touches using texture, cut and colour.
We've certainly a few plays on texture here;
the softness of the wool beret,
the smoothness of the leather jacket and boots,
the mock croc effect of the tote bag and stitching of the gloves,
the sparkle of the sequins of the tie scarf.
Everything is streamlined and fitted. The single breasted leather jacket is reminiscent of a suit jacket and when done up, gives a nipped-in waist. Its structure is offset by the softness of the undone shirt.
I usually go for smaller bags being a petite but when garments are fitted, creating a column effect as in this outfit, then I can get away with a wider/bigger tote.
Originally, I wore the scarf as a proper tie but even doing it in a Windsor knot, the ends still dangled too low, at crotch level - oy vey - throwing the proportions. Instead, I folded it in half and looped the ends through and violà, the length is perfect, whilst still giving the effect of wearing a gentleman's tie.
If I'd stuck to just a palette of black and greys it could've looked too harsh, especially as I have pale skin. The three pops of the berry shades from the beret, gloves and skinnies, give the outfit just that right amount of richness to soften the look. Berry and wine colours are great alternatives to black, if your skin tone doesn't suit wearing all black.
A shirt in mottled shades of grey and a tote with a mix of black, grey and cognac also stops the look from being too monochromatic.
It's a beautifully made piece (it should be, it cost enough at the time!) with a luxurious silver lining and leather that's oh, so soft.
It fits really well but as it's quite heavy, it's too bulky to wear under a coat in winter but is often too hot to wear on warmer days, when you only need a light jacket. But, on a mild winter's day with hat and gloves, it's an ideal jacket to wear as outerwear.
Now I've seen how it really can work, I won't be thinking of selling it ever again!
Land's End Chilled Grey Print Non Iron Shirt Currently available in the sale.
Precis Petite Single Breasted Leather Jacket (old)
New Look Silver Sequin Skinny Scarf Currently in the sale.
New Look Grey & Black Mock Croc Tote (old via E-bay) Similar Black Structured Tote
Tu at Sainsbury Gloves bought half price in store. Not available online but some may still lurk in stores. Similar Marks & Spencer Berry Gloves
Accessorize Berry Colour Wool Beret Currently in the sale.
M&S Leather Boots (old) Similar Pointed Ankle Boots.
A few tips to bear in mind when styling a masculine look.
- Use boots, ties, briefcase style bags, single breasted and/or tweed jackets as your masculine features.
- Unisex hats such as berets or fedoras, are a great way of bringing in a masculine vibe. If I owned a wine fedora for example, you can bet your life I'd be wearing it here! One for the 2016 birthday list, me thinks!
- Waistcoats in Spring or Summer or under jackets in Autumn and Winter.
- Use different textures and pops of colour as your feminine touches to balance out the feel.
Now you know, you can go forth, suitably suited and booted!
Do you like outfits with a more masculine feel to them? If so, how do you style them?
Want to find out more about my Seasonal Skinny Style Challenge? You can read the story here.
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