Bonnie J Brown
An ex-boyfriend of mine once owned a yellow Lacoste cardigan sweater. Whenever he wore it he reminded me of dreamboat Jake Ryan from the 1984 movie, Sixteen Candles. Not that he actually looked like Jake, but he did pull off the preppy look very nicely and, what can I say, having grown up in the 80’s I’ve always been a sucker for peg leg jeans on guys. Now I say that an ex-boyfriend of mine once owned a yellow Lacoste cardigan because I know he no longer has itâ€¦ I do.
The first time I wore the sweater was for necessity, I was cold and it was near by so I put it on. The next time I wore the sweater I attempted to imitate his look, peg leg jeans and all. The sweater was obviously much bigger on me so my attempted preppy look came across a bit more slouchy, but I loved the look none-the-less and will still wear that outfit for lazy days or when I’m running errands around town. And it seems as if I am not the only one who likes the idea of wearing my boyfriends’ clothing not only for necessity, but for fashion as well. For years now clothing companies have marketed â€œboyfriendâ€ jeans, sweaters and even underwear to women. Now you don’t even have to have a boyfriend to wear his clothing.
While this fashion trend is nothing new, what is new is the fact that the â€œboyfriendâ€ look has hit the runway for Burberry and Philip Lim 3.1 in their Resort 2010 collections. While both collections have their own aesthetic, each obviously has influences from men’s and/or boy’s apparel. This got me thinking of when and how this trend originated. As far as I could remember women wore clothing that emphasized their figures and men theirs. Even in the 1920’s when flappers attempted to deemphasize their womanly curves, their apparel was still nothing like that of the men in that era. In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was all the rage for girls to wear their boyfriends’ letter jacket and class ring, but again they were still wearing poodle skirts and dresses emphasizing their tiny waists. The 1980’s had professional women wearing boxy suits with shoulder pads. It was the era when the power suit was in full swing and women were looking to be seen as equals in the work place. They weren’t necessarily looking to be fashionable, instead they were looking to once again hide some of their feminine features and be seen for the work they accomplished and not for how cute they could look in a mini skirt.
While there could be any number of reasons why this â€œboyfriendâ€ clothing trend is so popular today, the original reason came from necessity. In the 1940’s during World War II materials and fabrics, along with just about everything else was being rationed for the military. No longer could women wear full, long dresses that had been in fashion. Instead fashion magazines and pattern makers where showing women how to deconstruct menswear and turn it into a woman’s suit. Women were no longer just doing the â€œwomen’s workâ€ they were taking over men’s jobs in factories, and women were supposed to be tough, recall â€˜Rosie the Riveter.’ Whether fashions evolve from necessity or preference, some trends are more fun to wear than others. Wearing the â€œboyfriendâ€ look, although not the most flattering of styles, is fun to wear. It’s almost like you’re putting on a costume, and isn’t that what fashion is all about?
1. Burberry Prorsum Resort 2010
2. Burberry Prorsum Resort 2010
3. 3.1 Phillip Lim Resort 2010
4. 3.1 Phillip Lim Resort 2010
5. Rosie the Riveter Image by Norman Rockwell
6. 1940’s Fashion Illustration
7. Madewell Ex Boyfriend Jeans Now $130
Image Layout: Khyra Cooper