Before we get in too deep, we’ll start with a brief history of menswear in America. Our timeline begins in the late 1800s, the late Victorian era, when men started ditching their top hats, pocket watches, and walking sticks in preference of a longer, leaner silhouette. Back then, the “normal” look for men was a three-piece suit consisting of a coat, waistcoat, and trousers.
(image via gentlemans gazette)
After WWI, when Americans had more money and traveled more, menswear became heavily influenced by styles in France and Britain. Throughout the 1930s, the attention was on impeccably dressed stars such as Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, and Gary Cooper. “For the first time, American men realized that clothing should not be worn to hide the natural lines of the body, but, rather, to conform to them, thereby enhancing the male physique,” explained Alan Flusser, fashion designer and author.
(image via vintage handbook)
Post-WWII life saw another shift in trends, as men began to stray from the tailored look, and manufactured, ready-to-wear pieces became the new thing. This meant that men’s clothing could now be mass-produced. As Americans transitioned into the 1950s, fashion was about conforming, or rather, looking the part. Gray suits dominated this decade.
(image via vintage dancer)
The 1960s brought new attitudes about menswear, which became all about breaking the fashion “rulebook.” This trend continued throughout the 1970s as homemade necklaces, flared pants, and disco funk became all the rage.
(image via lifestyle by ps)
By the 1980s, power dressing was in vogue, complete with suspenders, ties, and gaudy accessories. And from the 1990s on, as men have had more options and internet access, we continue to see some interesting choices made regarding menswear (we’re looking at you, Kris Kross).
You may be wondering why we’re going on about menswear, and the reason is simple: It belongs to the girls now, boys. Let’s look at a few pieces of menswear that women absolutely rock the heck out of.
(image via fashion makes trends)
As crazy as it sounds, women fought for years to be able to wear pants. Luckily, today it’s not uncommon to see women donning trousers, making it one of our favorite traditionally menswear pieces.
(image via girl meets gold)
Blazers and jackets were synonymous with menswear until the early 1900s when Coco Chanel started designing full ensembles that were complete with jackets. Today, blazers are a fun thrift-store find and can add sophistication to any outfit.
(image via vanity fair)
Women started rocking ties in the 1960s, but it would be several decades before they became a more accepted look. While ties might still not be the most common piece of menswear we see women wearing, we always think they look chic.