July 4, 2011
The ladies in our lives, whether we resist it or not, have a hand in molding how we dress: girlfriends, girl-friends, sisters, mothers, lovers. But oftentimes, these heel-wearing, flouncy dress-donning females don’t put their words to practice. You wouldn’t see your mother with her hair in the neat, clean barber’s cut she always eggs you keep, or your girlfriend matching the color of her socks to her business suit trousers the way she nags you to. But Melanie Berger, a fashion designer in-training, has an unusual penchant for menswear and knack for putting things together in ways that we guys can learn from.
Thom Browne jacket, Timo Weiland shirt, Citizens of Humanity shorts, Jil Sander bag, Sperry Top-sider shoes
Womenswear often takes cues from menswear, but menswear inspired by womenswear, not so much. However, I thought it could be quite amusing to flip fashion gender cross-inspiration over its head and take menswear tips from menswear-inspired womenswear. Here are our lessons from the lady:
1. Little dandy details keep things interesting. The polka-dot silk club collar subtly elevates the shirt from basic to beguiling; I could see it looking just as good on a guy as it does on her, perhaps even with the sleeves cut off.
sleeveless shirt with polka-dot silk club collar by Timo Weiland
2. A touch of DIY shows individuality and wit. I always try to step out of the house with at least one do-it-yourself item in the mix. Melanie’s DIY paper towel pocket square is so charmingly clever, and easy as peas. She took white paper towel in a texture she liked, folded it to fit, and stuffed it in her jacket pocket.
DIY paper towel pocket square
3. A pop of color livens up an outfit. If you are like me and resist having so much color close to your face, I suggest dipping your toes in a pair of pumpkin-orange loafers, or a bottle-green alligator briefcase for work. Pops of color do wonders at making you look more alive, and for those of you fashion folk who choose to don all-black everyday, more approachable.
mustard yellow handbag by Jil Sander
4. A sharp, iconic haircut makes you memorable. Melanie’s longish, blunt, highlighted bob may not be the choice haircut for most twenty-something girls in New York, but the fact that she rebelliously works a ‘do that might be more probably spotted on those girls’ chic aunts and grandmothers makes it quite interesting.
Melanie’s signature graphic liquid-liner winged eyes complement the iconicism of her look.
5. Reinventing classics keep them from looking stale. You may be as fatigued as I am with the boat shoes that abound, but this beautifully battered pair in light gold brings a hint of futurism to preppy Americana.
metallic boat shoes by Sperry
6. Find a small piece of jewelry that says something about you, and wear it all the time. I have my pavé diamond rose gold signet ring, go figure. Melanie has this string bracelet, a souvenir from summer camp many years ago, that never comes off. It used to be bright purple, but has since washed out, leaving only the very tips in the original hue.
string bracelet from summer camp, sandwiched by the red-white-and-blue detail on her Thom Browne jacket and the yellow handles on the Jil Sander bag
My dear female readers, any other tips you’d like to extend to the gents?