Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Looking the part?

Plaid Button-down Shirt (Husband's closet)
Grey Striped Vest (Gap)
Brown Leggings (Lefties)
Brown Leather Sandals (Target)

Alert! This outfit might categorize as a crash-and-burn of the sartorial variety.
My concerns with it are two-fold.

First, when I assembled this ensemble, I did not foresee the English student-related gags from coworkers.  Nor did I foresee the irony of wearing this outfit while editing a student essay in which the writer referred to "artsy, indie-chick, English majors[s]."  But that actually happened.  Me, at my desk, in all but thick-rimmed glasses and a blazer with leather elbow patches, suggesting that said writer exchange the term "indie-chick" for "bohemian."  The edit sounded more P.C. (or something), but it didn't alleviate the awkwardness I felt from simultaneously putting forth a stereotype with my wardrobe and refuting it with my ballpoint pen.

Second, I had intended to riff on the "boyfriend shirt" by stealing the real deal from my husband's closet.  This decision backfired.  My original logic?  Trans-gender styles like over-sized buttondowns and "boyfriend jeans" have gained popularity, so I thought I'd test the effect.  Normally, a 'masculine' garment on a female body creates a flattering androgyny, but attempting to execute this look with leggings - especially if you've overestimated the length of the upper garment - will most assuredly blow your casual cover.  Rather than breezing through a work day looking effortless, you will spend eight hours tugging fabric over your booty.

So the casual, cross-gender performance I intended to enact fizzled whilst I unintentionally performed an occupational stereotype.  Oh, the tensions.

  • How do you perform your occupation via clothing without looking costume-y or stereotypical?
  • How do you wear cross-gender garments like "boyfriend shirts"?  With what other articles of clothing do you pair them, and in what contexts do you wear them?


Scholar Style Guide said...

I'm not so sure this is a "crash and burn"... maybe more of a "never quite took off."

It sounds like your anxieties about this outfit are threefold: 1) you're not sure it was great for work, 2) you thought your booty might be showing, and 3) you were randomly assigned a task that made you feel self-conscious about your experimental outfit. All perfectly understandable.

I like the "boyfriend" look for tops (I'm not quite sold on the boyfriend jean), and I like the potential of this outfit. What if you added a short-ish denim or chino skirt? I can also imagine it with a pair of the short, cuffed shorts in a neutral tweed. And maybe on the weekend instead of at work-- I worry about trying to experiment with new looks on a work day, too.


Scholar Style Guide said...

When I revise this outfit, I will likely pair it with boots instead of sandals. And I will definitely search for a longer button-down.

Liz, I tried adding a skirt, but the look was too literally Cowgirl. A good idea, though.

What's your take on the boyfriend jean?


Scholar Style Guide said...

I'm with Liz on two comments. I think that the outfit isn't "crash-and-burn"; it just needs some revision. (Side note: I love that you posted it though! Taking fashion risks is fabulous). I also agree that the setting for the outfit (work) probably added to the problem.

I must confess that I don't usually wear the boyfriend look, though I do find it interesting and stylish on other people. I especially like pairing something masculine with very feminine pieces. My suggestion would have been similar to Liz's one of adding a skirt, though after your comment, I can completely understand why you didn't do it. I like the idea of boots with this, or maybe skinny jeans instead of leggings and funky wedges or heels, or maybe fun statement earrings?

I want to comment on the vest too, because I have a thing for vests, though I have trouble finding ones that fit me properly. I thought it was an interesting touch to this outfit that I appreciated.


Jennifer said...

I think this outfit completley works on you. At least from the picture. The personal issue of fit is a whole 'nother conversation, but it doesn't come across as custom-y at all. Yes, it's a little boho, but you're style is a little boho AM, and I love your style.