I like to raid my partner’s closet.
His is a closet made up of quirky graphic tees, color-blocked polos and a healthy arsenal of waspy button-ups. I can spend entire afternoons attempting to turn his cardigans into off shoulder tops and transforming his graphic tees into makeshift crops. As delightful as it is to try and repurpose his clothing and siphon it off into my own closet, the reality is we are different sizes. Without pinching, tucking and temporarily pinning every item he owns under the sun, I look mostly like a small child lost in papa’s wardrobe.
While I used to think of my quarterly partner closet raids as a byproduct of style boredom, what I’ve come to realize is that I love traditionally masculine silhouettes. Perhaps it’s the structure, or maybe it’s the fact that men’s clothing doesn’t have to be skin-tight to be considered attractive.
Integrating traditionally masculine silhouettes into my current wardrobe has stretched and expanded my ability to express who I am through my clothing. The advice I give my clients is to ignore trends and to lean into what they love, and that’s what today’s blog post is all about for me. Style is about experimenting and finding what brings you joy, not following a set of antiquated rules lorded over you by a scarcity-peddling hack. If you look good in skinny jeans, damn it - go on and wear your beloved skinny jeans.
So this week, I’ll take a page out of my own book and lean into what brings me joy. If you’ve ever been curious about integrating more masculine silhouettes into your rotation, this might just be the style inspiration you need!
Raid 1: Sweater Polo
This sweater polo combines the silhouette of a polo with the button-up of a traditional cardigan sweater. It’s colorful and high-contrast vertical stripes give off 60’s retro vibrations with a modern-day twist. I like to treat this polo like a cardigan sweater and wear it unbuttoned.
To bring visual interest to its looser shape, I pair it with a form-fitting black crop that shows the slightest hint of midriff and a pair of black voluminous palazzo pants. I tie this ensemble all together with a fun pair of braided, square-toed sandals. I’ve let the sweater polo take center stage as I’ve opted for a monochromatic backdrop that creates a long vertical line and elongates my frame.
My rule of thumb when venturing into traditional men’s wear is to go down a size. Since I am typically a women’s medium, a men’s small usually fits like a glove.
Raid 2: The Short Sleeve Floral Button-Up
This is one of my favorite floral button-ups! it’s intensely floral, but its blue backdrop saves me from looking like grandma’s love seat. If you are wondering how to choose a winning floral pattern, reach for ones like these where the pattern sits against a solid and muted backdrop. I like to button this all the way up to the collar as it creates a bit of makeshift tailoring and structure at the collar.
To bring additional visual interest, I recommend cuffing the sleeves which accentuates the arms and shows the slightest bit of intentional bicep skin. I finish this look with a pair of cuffed skinny jeans and my new favorite pair of leather oxfords. Oxfords provide what I like to call “business-regal vibrations.” You can’t help but strut around in them and feel like you are about to do something very important. The cuffed skinny jeans help to temper the lady boss vibes that these shoes give off.
Raid 3: Embroidered Scotch and Soda
I found this Scotch and Soda top for myself while rummaging through one of my favorite consignment shops - only to find that it was actually a men’s button-up that ballooned out from my frame! It was not a win for me, but it became the perfect statement piece for my partner’s army of button-ups. Midnight blue and black embroidered feathers anyone? It’s truly a majestic standalone piece.
However, with a fun and strappy pair of heels and a pair of ripped skinny jeans, this magical shirt doesn’t seem to balloon out in the same way. I originally tried this oversized wonder on with a pair of flats and cropped jeans, which unfortunately is the perfect combination to shrink my frame. The key in wearing an oversized button-up is to reach for height and elongation. In this case, the heels coupled with a slim and form-fitting pair of skinny jeans bring balance and contrast to this oversized beauty.
Kat Depner: Raider of The Lost Closet
When it comes to style and what resonates with you, traditional rules should always be taken with a grain of salt. Something that looks outlandish and oversized on the racks might be just the thing you need to bring a giggle or two back into your heart. For me, experimenting with traditionally masculine silhouettes is something that fills out my personal style story. If you are feeling a bit of a snore fest in your current ensemble and the trends peddled your way seem a bit suspicious, I invite you to take a peek and gander outside of your style norm and let yourself be surprised by what you may discover!