Boyfriend (fashion)

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In fashion design, primarily in ready-to-wear lines, boyfriend is any style of women's clothing that was modified from a corresponding men's garment. Examples include boyfriend jackets, boyfriend jeans, and boyfriend blazers, which are often more unisex or looser in appearance and fit than most women's jackets or trousers, though still designed for the female form.

Background of women in menswear[edit]

Back in the day around the 19th century women wearing anything but dresses, skirts, and corsets was considered absurd. Amelia Bloomer a woman's rights activist in the 1850s was one of the first to change the stereotype, as she introduced the bloomer. In the 1920s the fashion legend Coco Chanel started the menswear line, as she was really into the androgynous look. Other popular fashion icons such as Audrey Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich had menswear style fashion which made this style even more popular in the 1930s. During the war when women took over the men's jobs they were free to wear more masculine clothes, however, when the war ended in the 1950s the housewife went back to dresses and skirts. It was not until the late 1960s and early 70s that menswear inspired fashion was no longer considered a rebellious political statement. In the late 60s Marilyn Monroe wore boyfriend jeans, which started the popularity of the clothing item.[1]

Women in menswear today[edit]

The origin of boyfriend fashion is borrowing and wearing a boyfriend's clothes—his distressed jeans, his band tees, his dress shirts, his blazers, his cardigan. The trend expanded when many brands such as Gap, Forever 21, H&M, and Urban Outfitters began to create boyfriend fashion products or men's-inspired fashion.[2]

Boyfriend blazer[edit]

The boyfriend blazer has been featured in many of the spring 2010 walks such as Charlotte Ronson, Cynthia Rowley, and Elie Tahari, and the trend continued into 2011. There are two main important ways to wear the look: making it oversized, and rolling up the sleeves. The boyfriend trend is all about wearing clothes that look a size too big for the wearer. It is recommended to only go up one size. It balances it out while implying that the sleeves would be too long for the wearer's arms. The boyfriend blazer comes in many different shades, ranging from classic hues of black and gray to whites, pinks, and neons. They are very versatile because they can be worn with a cocktail dress, a skirt and blouse, or even leggings.[3]

Boyfriend jeans[edit]

The boyfriend jeans is one of the hottest pieces of clothing on the market. From Marilyn Monroe to Kim Kardashian the boyfriend jeans have been popular for many years. The boyfriend jean is loose fitting, slouchy, and relaxed looking pants that are heavily distressed. Nowadays a huge majority of celebrity are wearing boyfriend jeans from Kendall Jenner to Reese Witherspoon to Rihanna. The boyfriend jean has been reinvented to be many fits, from more baggy and authentic, to a tighter more tapper version.[4]

Future of fashion[edit]

The "borrowed from the boys" look is nothing new but the trend is currently in fashion, and will continue to go in and out of fashion. However, this style trend shows young girls and women that they can wear whatever they want. People are in a more open time, and men and women can wear what they want without being judged as much as one would back in the day. For example, fashion icon Jaden Smith wore a dress and a skirt in a Vogue, and people thought it was bold and revolutionary.[2] Alicia Hardesty, a project runway competitor, has a line of clothing is called original tomboy, and is for both women and men interchangeably. She likes to describe her work as androgynistic, meaning that there is characteristics of both masculine and feminine. She believes that this is the future for fashion, and anybody should be able to wear these clothes. One day Hardesty hopes to see a store with no women's section or mens section, but clothes everyone can wear just in different sizes.[5]


  1. ^ Moffat, Laura. “History of Women Wearing Men’s Clothing.” Kirrin Finch. Accessed September 11, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Irwin, Emma. “How Menswear For Women Is Shaping The Future Of Fashion.” Odyssey, August 2, 2017.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cope, Jon Lee. “Masculine, Feminine.” Louisville Magazine 65, no. 3 (March 2014): 100–102.