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Power dressing and the ongoing influence of menswear on women

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The ongoing influence of menswear on women – Imagine you live during the 60ies and it’s very inappropriate to wear trousers, let alone a tuxedo or smoking. Despite this, there is one designer who dares to break the rules. In 1966, Yves Saint Laurent introduced ‘Le Smoking’ to the world. With this, he gave a whole new meaning to the concept of “sex appeal”. This season we still – or rather again – see runways and department stores packed with modern versions of Le Smoking for women. The influence of menswear on womenswear collections seems bigger than ever before. What have we seen so far and what seems to be the political statement? Find out how power dressing has evolved over the past decades and get inspired by the newest looks.

Cover photo: © Tibi on Instagram

The ongoing influence of menswear on women

The influence of the opposite gender’s wardrobe seems bigger than ever. Lines between the definition of womens- and menswear are fading and gender neutral collections pop up. Did ‘Working Girl’ (late 80ies, red.) suddenly inspire us all? Maybe partly (this doesn’t seem like a bad idea), but there’s more to talk about. Political agitation has led to power dressing since a few seasons. Designers are able – and luckily embrace this opportunity – to visualize female power in their designs. This has led to feminine yet masculine suits, oversized blazers and tough looking silhouettes. But where did this big influence of menswear on women start? Let’s go back to the 60ies.

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The Oversized Drawstring Blazer

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Yves Saint Laurent’s ‘Le Smoking’ 

The true instigator of the influence of menswear for women is Yves Saint Laurent. During the late 60ies, he introduced ‘Le Smoking’: a tuxedo suit for women. He made it with care, only from the best fabrics. He wanted women to feel empowered and comfortable. We can conclude he succeeded, but not without setbacks.

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Women wearing Le Smoking were banned from restaurants and other public spaces. The famous example of Nen Kempner is striking: she got refused at Le Côte Basque in New York City when wearing a YSL tuxedo suit. When she came back without wearing the trousers, but just the blazer as a mini dress, she could get in. Something we can’t imagine nowadays. Despite his, the success of Le Smoking followed soon with Catherine Deneuve as a first big client. At that time, every woman knew a suit was merely an indication of a political statement than of having a clear fashion sense.

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Contemporary designers who create menswear for women

Despite that pantsuits don’t belong to the standard office wardrobe anymore, many designers anticipated on this trend/movement. Hillary Clinton seemed to be a sort of fashion muse for many labels. And not without reason, designers derived the best possible versions of suits from it. Think of Tibi’s 2019 Resort collection: influences of menswear were big in this collection. However, they had a feminine feeling with knotted belts providing very sexy waistlines.

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#TIBISS19 @annabelrosendahl ?@asiatypek

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Céline was another brand that embraced the influence of menswear on women. With Phoebe Philo in charge, the label created many great looking and empowering suits with strong silhouettes, to make women feel comfortable in everyday life. This seems to be the note that many brands want to pass along and it fits in the current zeitgeist.

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SPRING 2017

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The return of the underwear lines

The influence of menswear on women goes further than just power suiting. Slowly, more changes are implemented in our minds as fashionable, such as wearing more ‘masculine’ underwear (yes, we are talking about you, Calvin Klein 205W39NYC! Hurray!), which is actually just comfortable and still feminine. Where the underwear used to be small, smaller, smallest a couple of years ago, Sloggy-like panties seem to make their return.

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Power suits

Yves Saint Laurent created a literal power suit with Le Smoking. He managed to create a shift of boundaries of what women could wear during that time. And we are grateful for that. Since this breakthrough, the influence of menswear on women can’t be missed. Check out below the best power suits of the moment.

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#TIBISS19 @nycbambi ? @photobyaix

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*looking for spring* ? #whereartthou #lesmoking #zalandostyle

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#TibiSS19 Backstage Thanks to our sponsors Makeup by @bobbibrown Hair by @aveda Intimates by @spanx Nails by @jinsoon Eyewear by @moscotnyc for Tibi

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We can conclude that these are interesting times in the fashion world. More than ever, political messages are included in shows, designs and fashion expressions. On top of that: staying chic while looking powerful has never been so easy. Who are we to complain?

If you like reading about the influence of menswear on women, then we bet you’ll will like our other fashion content too. Check out our other fashion sections as well!

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