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Man...I Feel Like A Woman

by Hollie Moat

Backstage at Stella McCartney A/W 12

Tailoring is one of fashion’s cornerstones, and given its perennial presence on the catwalk, and the fact it’s so wonderfully appropriate for things like work and other such formal occasions, mean that you’d be hard pushed to find someone whose wardrobe doesn’t contain a neat little jacket or two.

But because of its menswear origins, and its use as a sartorial weapon to break down sexist boundaries, tailoring has a reputation for being stiff, sober and respectable – the smart choice rather than the sexy one.

But that needn’t be the case, tailoring’s capacity for flattering cuts and fitted shapes means it’s perfect for creating an utterly feminine and seductive look. That’s this season’s runway take on it anyway. So we’ve put together our top five ways of giving tailoring a girlish A/W 12 spin…

1.    Skirt Up
An obvious classic – but opting for a skirt immediately softens any suit, and getting your legs out gives you more freedom to be buttoned up and preppy when it comes to shirts and ties, without looking stuffy. And as Bottega Veneta demonstrates here, adding a front split and some heeled boots doesn’t hurt either.

Bottega Veneta A/W 12

2.    The Peplum
The skirt peplum has been rising in popularity for a few seasons now, and shows no signs of slowing down. This is no bad thing since it adds a playful twist to simple pieces and creates the illusion of curves. At Burberry Prorsum Christopher Bailey evolved this look even further – making the peplum more subtle but also more practical, and turning it into pockets.

Burberry Prorsum A/W 12

3.    Colour Pop
Men’s tailoring is associated with safe, conservative shades like black, brown and grey. Choosing instead a rich, vibrant colour will immediately give the most sombre of suits a feminine appeal. Nothing too gaudy – think eye-catching rather than cartoonish – but this season’s jewel tones work particularly well, like at Acne, where an over-sized blazer and trousers were given an injection of glamour with the use of a sizzling red hue.

Acne A/W 12

4.    Va-va Voom
Tweed, wool and stiff cotton are the favoured fabrics in tailoring, a good thing, since they’re durable, timeless and stylish. But they’re also very low-key and sensible, which means that in daring pieces like mini-skirts, hour-glass dresses and figure hugging jackets, they still look manage to look daytime appropriate. Just look at the wow-factor in this Stella McCartney skirt suit…

Stella McCartney A/W 12

5.    Style It Out
Sometimes going the full hog in tailoring actually makes it more feminine somehow – Diane Keaton became a sex symbol after going for top to toe masculine separates in Annie Hall. Similarly, this season Donna Karan sent out models in heavy pinstripes and morning-coats, even adding a formal hat for good measure. Though of course they did also have bare, shirt-free chests, that little detail is optional…


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