12 Aug 2015

Style Notes: Turning Masculine Feminine

grace kelly in the film rear window, vicki archer

Masculine can be very feminine.

Wearing a masculine style and turning it feminine is one of the easiest ways to redefine an outfit.

A pin-striped suit, a classic button-down shirt, tailored trousers and the tuxedo jacket; all borrowed from the male but staples for any woman’s wardrobe.

On a “cost per wear” basis these are by far the best performers in my cupboard.

grace kelly rear window broguesgrace kelly rear window broguesgrace kelly rear window broguesgrace kelly rear window brogues

























































Let’s start with the masculine style of shoes.


I love a brogue, a lace-up, a loafer and not only do they look cute with trousers but also a lace-up can work with a dress or skirt and opaque tights during the winter.

The brogue accompanying a tailored trouser is not for the office alone.

I like the masculine shoe worn with a pant that is a little short, not Capri length but slightly longer where a flash of the ankle is shown. That is where the feminine comes in.

There is an elegance about tailored pants and a fine ankle peeking through. The balance between the texture of the suiting fabric, the shape of the ankle and the masculinity of the shoe provides contrast. This draws attention and adds that dose of “sexy” to a traditionally male outfit. The length of the trouser is all-important.

An A-line or slightly fuller skirt, a turtleneck and a pair of loafers or lace-ups are another way to add the masculine to the feminine. This is a sleek silhouette, with the flare of the skirt adding that touch of “pretty”.

I favour wearing the skirt and turtleneck in monochrome. Traditionally all black is my go-to but winter white when worn with black opaque tights and black lace-ups would be a striking change, topped with a dark “man-style” overcoat. Bring on the chill.

Men do know a thing or two about fashion.

The masculine flat is simply a more formal version of the sneaker; the same style rules can apply. And the best news of all, the comfort. xv

images of grace kelly from alfred hitchcock’s rear window 1954


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Mimi Gregor

I do love masculine inspired styles, like the tuxedo jacket, trousers, and brogues. I think that there are a few caveats on this subject, though:

The styles must be tailored to a woman’s body… not worn directly off the rack from the men’s department. A little nip in the waist of the jacket keeps it from looking like a cross-dressing experiment.

I think this style looks best on… how shall I put this… females who actually look like females. A feminine hair style as opposed to a butch crop. Makeup as opposed to a bare face. Womanly curves as opposed to stocky. That sort of thing. I’m sure we’ve all seen women who at first glance seem to be of indeterminate gender. This would not be a style that would help matters there. Unless, of course, that is the look that they are going for.

Anita Rivera

Oh you really know from what angle to approach any topic, Vicki. I totally agree and see how this works. A beautiful woman who exudes confidence can just about wear anything…..and look at the simplicity of these accessories, starting with the shoes. Not only are they masculine, but comfortable, sensible, and with just the right amount of skin showing thanks to the jeans, the feminine touch is so elegant, a bit sexy but not trying too hard. You are reminding me to go out to get a new pair of lace up shoes to wear with tights and a skirt OR a pair of cuffed up jeans and a blazer for those cooler school days. OH THE FUN!!!!! Thank you always for your fashion tips! Anita


Vicki I remember starting my first day of high school bearing Bass loafers! Some classics are forever! Love seeing you feature one of my favorite style icons, Grace Kelly!

The Arts by Karena
Artist Nicoletta Belletti

Cathy C

Hello Vicki,
I love this look too.
And of course, I love the pictures of the Grace Kelly – her wardrobe in “Rear Window” was just gorgeous.
With regard to borrowing from a man’s closet, I was not disappointed when my son left behind some of his button downs and a vest or two when he left for University at the end of last summer. I am not a fan of chunky penny loafers but I do love an oxford with a little bit of detail with tights and skirts in Autumn. No chill in the air yet, but looking forward to a bit of cooler weather.
Are you still in St. Remy? Is the heat relentless?

Terrel Drendel

This is something that has been on my mind for about a month. Let me tell you why. A month ago I ran into the Nordstrom Rack to pick up some fun socks in the men’s department for gifts for the guys in my life. As I walked by a rack of men’s suit jackets on sale I reached out and ran my hand across the shoulders. I just stopped and did it again as I instantly was aware of the fact that the fabric was just amazing. I took one off the rack and tried it on and was amazed by how well these jackets are constructed, far superior to most of the women’s jackets I have tried on in the past. The wheels started spinning and a few days later I stopped in to see one of the few men’s tailors in town to ask about fitting a man’s suit jacket to my body. I felt like I was standing in front of my grandfather, who was also an Italian tailor, with the same beautiful head of silver hair. So remember you are not going grey, you are all going silver. Well you should have seen the men’s jackets on sale in his shop! Amazing fabrics! Last week I told my friend about this idea and she told me about all her husbands handmade suits sitting in his closet since he retired. All with great linings so that when you roll up the sleeves you can have a flash of color. She has two daughters, both who work in jobs where you have to really dress and so now there are two young ladies raiding their fathers closet, going off to a tailor and he is so happy! I love your site. It is so wonderful all the thoughts you share that make me think about my life and how to make it better.


A great alternative to Blazers or men’s jackets is the equestrian jacket. Hunter/Jumper show jackets are cut in an extremely feminine and flattering way, with nipped waists and a slight flair in the hip. They are normally three button jackets with double vents. The fabrics of the higher end jackets are the same as those of fine men’s suiting.


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