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10.21.09

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Phaedra

BORROWED FROM THE BOYS: ChloŽ's fall 2009 collection is loose and comfortable with a heavy menswear spin.

What's His Is Hers

By Jessica Fromm


THE "boyfriend blazer," the "boyfriend cardigan," "boyfriend jeans" and now the "boyfriend shirt"? It seems that this fall, every article of women's clothing that is not elasticized into a body-skimming second skin must have been attained by raiding the closet of one's man-friend. In fact, this "boyfriend" label gives the impression that sartorially aware ladies will only be comfortable when they've picked something loose and billowy off their boy toy's bedroom floor and thrown it on before running out the door.

Fadish fashion terminology aside, traditionally masculine cuts are migrating back into women's ready-to-wear this winter. Though last year's holiday season saw more of a tight and tailored menswear trend, this time around it is expressed as much more relaxed and laid-back. High-waisted, tapered trousers held up by thin braided leather belts; generously cut, high-neck button-ups; and oversize double-breasted blazers are back in action for a decidedly Katherine Hepburn–meets-early-'80s air. Cold-weather-ready tweed and hound's-tooth fabrics impart a chic borrowed-from-the-boys aesthetic to these garments. The color palette for this manly trend is generally muted and neutral, with shades dominated by black, white, gray and tan.

It appeared as if Annie Hall was a huge influence on French fashion house ChloŽ's fall 2009 runways, where pleated, cuffed khakis and even blanket coats were seen paired with lace-up suede ankle boots. Designer Isabel Marant has said that she was inspired by "bad boys" for her most recent winter collection, where she brought together boxy, textured blazers and baggy pleated pants with one of this season's hottest footwear trends: sexy thigh-high boots.

Fortunately, the no-frills, more conservative outfits of this fall's menswear trend are also very versatile and office-friendly. Added androgyny imparts an extra dash of power to on-the-job ensembles, especially when one doesn't have to worry about binding pencil skirts and panty-lines.

Think of the gents when shopping for accessories for this look also. Avoid babbles and bangles in exchange for chunky metal watches, buckles, leather handbags or Western-look saddlebag purses. Footwear can range from Oxford-inspired flats to sexy stiletto booties, but make sure to shy away from exaggerated studding or fringe.


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