ootd, style
Comments 29

Boy Oh Boy

Boy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

Steal his style?

Add some mannish flair to your closet?


We’ve all been accused of always wanting what we can’t have (no fibbing now), and that definitely extends to our wardrobe.  Or perhaps, to be more accurate, I should say it stems from our wardrobe?  And even though we own pretty, flirty pieces,  the occasional frou frou statement garment, and sassy numbers aplenty, there’s something about man-centric designs that simply calls to us, singularly and persistently, akin to the siren song of Black Friday sales.

Despite conservative (read: archaic) mindsets, there is no loss of femininity when she wears something that belongs to him.  When a woman wears what is traditionally male garb, she converts the garment into something that’s entirely feminine.  And it is the very paradox which makes the entire affair ever so alluring.  After all, who can say what constitutes men’s wear and women’s wear?  Suppose that women are not borrowing apparel from men, but merely taking back something that was once theirs?


Boy Oh Boy | Sheela WritesBoy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

Navy Blue Vest & Dove Baptismal Pin (borrowed from Pierluigi) | Camo Pencil Skirt with Tuxedo Stripes (Forever21, option, option) | Madonna Tee & Bangles (thrifted) | Heels (JustFAB, option, option) | Novelty Pins, Ring & Sunnies (Poshmark) | Great Expectations Clutch (Kate Spade NY, option, option)

The world has not been entirely cordial through the years to feminists who have worn male attire, however.  Say it isn’t so, Sheela remarks, with a mere hint of flippancy.  Joan of Arc made many enemies by leading the French Army to victory in men’s chain‐mail tights.  Novelist George Sand (nee Aurore Dupin) shocked 19th Century Paris by taking a male name, wearing men’s clothes and smoking cigars.  Closer to home, in the United States, parents were outraged when their daughters began wearing pantalets in the 1820s, and Amelia Jenks Bloomer upped the sales of smelling salts in 1851 when she began wearing her own bloomers in public.

How shocking.

How positively shocking.

Boy Oh Boy | Sheela WritesBoy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

At the turn of the century, when women started going to work, the shirtwaist, a blouse adapted from a man’s shirt, became all the rage.  In the 1920s, Chanel’s sailor pants and her celebrated suit were major advances in male styles for women (hooray, all ye suffragettes).  Meanwhile, in Berlin, actress Marlene Dietrich started an international trend by wearing men’s pants, shirts, overcoats, ties, top hat, white tie and tails, a style that has become synonymous with the classic, androgyny vibe to this very day.

Other pants‐for‐women pioneers include Tallulah Bankhead, Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, Amelia Earhart and Claudette Colbert, who, in 1935, raised many eyebrows by sliding down an amusement park chute in male garb with Marlene Dietrich, similarly attired.  I genuflect before thee all, I genuflect.

Boy Oh Boy | Sheela WritesBoy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

Antagonism toward women in men’s clothes was displayed as late as 1946 when men’s wear designer John Weitz created his first collection for women inspired by male styles, and was promptly booed by 120 editors at an out‐of-town showing.  And in 1948, when he designed men’s jeans for women with a front zipper and a tight rear fit, the designer recalls, “I was denounced by the clergy in New York for creating immoral clothes.

Good lord in style heaven, it was 1948, for crying out loud, not the 14th century.

As Gloria Steinem, one of the founders of Ms Magazine, declares, “There is no such thing as men’s clothes or women’s clothes.  As far as I’m concerned, there are just clothes — body coverings —without sexual distinction.”  Perfectly phrased, Ms Steinem.

Boy Oh Boy | Sheela WritesBoy Oh Boy | Sheela WritesBoy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

Remember that in various periods of history, men have worn far more ornate things than women, and never have their masculinity been challenged.  Personally, I find pants far more comfortable (and flattering) to wear, all year long.  The endless line-up of fabric weight options available effectively eliminate any possibility of “too thick“, or “too warm“, or “too sheer“.  I mean, seriously, there’s a pant for any season, any occasion, any size.  What I object to most on the whole subject of clothes is that they aren’t (supposed to be) interchangeable.  And that’s the part that makes the least sense to me.

Now, before you (completely) tire of my prose, welcome!!  To the first of a tri-part project between Jodie and her ladies, Eve, and myself.  Regular readers will be no strangers to these beautiful, strong women, with whom I’ve had the pleasure and honour of collaborating with on numerous occasions.  For this particular joint venture, we decided to take things a step further, and not merely wear something that was inspired by menswear but, instead, to actually borrow something from the men in our lives. To start things off, here we are, wearing an item of clothing temporarily hijacked from him.

Eve, Teens (the world according to eve)

The World According To Eve

Trust Eve to take her stepdad’s white undershirt and transform it into something completely street, completely edgy.  Yes, I kid you not, that’s Pierluigi’s undershirt.  Here, Eve has knotted it by the side to create a much more flattering silhouette and then bam bam pow, throw in those electric blue suede OTK boots, and she looks ready to slay it at a concert.  Or the runway.

Sheela, 40s (sheela writes)

Boy Oh Boy | Sheela Writes

It was challenging finding something to wear from my husband’s wardrobe because he has a massive chest.  He’s only 5ft 8″ but with a chest circumference of 45″, everything he owns drowns me.  So when I chanced upon this navy wool vest, it was an alleluia moment.  I added bits of me with the camo tuxedo skirt and, of course, the studded heels.

Jodie, 50s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie's Touch Of Style | Jodie

Here’s Jodie, wearing her husband Rob’s shirt, as a duster.  How clever!!!  And adding the belt promptly eliminated any possibility of a boxy silhouette.  Doubly clever.  I like how she’s also chosen to wear the shirt over a knit dress, giving it more of a colder-time-of-the-year vibe.  And to all pundits who claim we ought not match belt to boots, I say pshaw.

Nancy, 60s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie's Touch Of Style | Nancy

Look at Nancy rocking that Desigual shirt (ok ok, Rob’s Desigual shirt).  What a graphic statement, perfectly complemented with touches of contrasting denim at the cuffs.  Hers is a look I can easily see myself emulate because of how universally flattering it is.  And I especially love those boots, they add a laidback, glamping touch to the overall outfit.

Charlotte, 70s (jodie’s touch of style)

Jodie's Touch Of Style | Charlotte

How sassy and classy and kick assy does Charlotte look, pairing that shirt with a turtleneck.  It’s such a Katherine Hepburn move (read: timeless elegance with more than a hint of moxie and spunk).  There’s something to be said about men’s wear on a woman, and I think this outfit personifies the very best of both worlds.

Come back and see us on Wednesday as well as Friday, as we churn out further interpretations of female-styled-men’s-wear, incorporating elements such as accessories and jewellery.  I do so hope you’ll join the discussion and leave me a comment too, because many of my posts are inspired by what you say, and how you feel.

What’s your favourite men’s wear item?

Love, Sheela

Finally made the transition to AV and am now on YouTube as well as Snapchat (sheela.goh), would adore your support through subscribing to my channel/adding my snaps. 

Pretty please?

p/s my photos are by Sofia Touassa

I link up here.






  1. 🙂 Great post, dear Sheela, very informative and I like the idea that you added the 3 ladies form Jodie’s Touch of Style.
    Have a very HAPPY week 🙂

  2. www.nancysfashionstyle.com says

    Ha, what a fabulous subject! Great to see how you all wearing a men s thing! Eve boots are stunning!

  3. robjodiefilogomo says

    Ahhhh….I totally didn’t realize that your “book” was a purse when I first saw this, Sheela!!
    I did have that wonder of “why is she holding a book in her outfit photo” but knowing you there was some significance! But now that I know it’s a purse, it made me smile!!
    I love the pins you decorated the neckline of the vest with too—very subtle yet quirky!!
    It’s always such fun to see what other women will come up with we collaborate with a subject—it goes to show how individual we all are and so fabulous!!

  4. Another fabulous dialog, Sheela. My favorite and actually “borrowed” (more like stolen) men’s wear item is a bolero necklace that had belonged to my father. When it comes to stealing from men’s fashions, I have a fondness for front button vests, the ones that look like they come from a suit.


  5. My very favorite male piece is my pinstriped mens’ shirt that I turned into an off the shoulder top. Yes, it’s a overly trendy piece by now, but I like to take pride in having made my piece BEFORE it was available at Zara! Ha.

    As I write today, I’m in a very masculine straight legged pair of pants (granted I adorned them with gold buttons) and an over sized very masculine looking denim shirt. Oh, I’m in runners too. But, I hardly look anything but female! Even with my rocker mullet!!

    Great post Dear Sheela!

    Love, Ann

    PS I especially like Jodie’s styling! And I want Eve’s boots.

  6. jennie1969 says

    I could have just kept on reading and reading your prose about fashion and menswear…

    You each look amazing and I love that you stole the shirt off your men’s back! Great Expectations, indeed.

  7. Interesting post Sheela, you are an excellent writer! I especially like this — “When a woman wears what is traditionally male garb, she converts the garment into something that’s entirely feminine.” That is certainly the case with you, Eve and the lovely trio!

    Personally, I have too many clothes that I need to wear and many don’t make it out of the closet enough. So, I’ll let my husband wear his shirts, even though he has some really beautiful shirts. Hmmm? Who knows, maybe I’ll be tempted to steal one someday. 😉


  8. Sheela, You know i love the history of fashion and in this case, women who weren’t afraid to take risks. I do have to thank blogging for experimenting more with my clothes. I love a great fitted menswear vest, and just recently asked Santa for some fab pointed oxfords.. we’ll see. Love the navy and camo mix with those sexy shoes and how Jodie and company styled a men’s wear shirt. Enjoyed the read too!
    jess xx

  9. Sheela, thanks for inviting me over to see what you gals/guys are up to. I love this feature, in fact I wish I’d thought of it myself. Your vest top doesn’t look in the least out of place with that fab tuxedo skirt. Your cute clutch is adorable, but those shoes are my favourite of all. I love seeing all the variations of what you can do with a man’s shirt too. And Eve’s boots – wow, I mean WOW!
    Great post x

  10. Oh Sheela, I’m heading towards my husbands wardrobe and we ‘speak’! Interesting and informative read, thanks for this Hun. x

  11. This is such a fun theme! I’m not quite fashionable (yet?) to pull this off or even think of it in my outfits, but this post is definitely inspiring me to think outside the box!

    Chow Down USA

  12. Such a great post! I have talked with my grandma about when she was able to wear pantsuits. PANTSUITS! That’s crazy to think that someone I know used to only wear the feminine dresses. I am all about breaking barriers and wearing “male” clothes is totally okay by me. I love wearing sweaters and button ups for guys because they are loose and fit real well! And most people don’t even know the difference!


  13. I just adore those pins on your vest! I have been wanting to pick some up. Also, such a great read… I wish I could borrow some of my husband’s clothes… but, eek! He is just a t-shirt and jeans guy!


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  15. What an informative article. I learned quite a bit about fashion back in the day. I can’t say that I have any men’s clothing in my wardrobe but my hubby is always pressing me to get into the camo look. But, in the deep country of South Carolina is just seems commonplace and certainly doesn’t resonate fashion statement lol xo

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