I have a bit of a sartorial bone to pick.
I should point out on the onset that I am not venturing into any sort of feminist issue. This is coming solely from the point of view of a clothes-loving man who is frustrated by the way women wear our clothes better than us.
Whether this observation has crossed your minds before or not, I would like you to scan the images I have so kindly attached (#humblebrag). I dare you to contradict me.
I am aware that this topic overlaps with social convention and gender perception and all sorts of clever terminology, and while I do concede that socio-political aspects play an important role in this debate, I have only one point I truly want to stress.
Men have a much narrower spectrum of clothing than women. We have tops, we have bottoms, we have no in-betweens. Don't say it's convenient – "Ooh, less stress over putting outfits together!" It's less fun, too. And yet, for that authentic borrowed-from-the-boyfriend look, you sneaky little shopaholics steal into the men's departments and swipe our already limited supply of shirts off of their hangers, leaving the males – from savvy style mavens to the clueless and unwilling – dawdling at the empty racks. Not only shirts, oh no! Full suits (I'm talking tailored tuxedos, not corporate snoozefests), plaid/striped/denim shirts, straight-leg "boyfriend" jeans, pinstripes, military coats… The list goes on. And that's just the forehand slap.
The backhand strikes when you tuck your parachute-sized button-downs into your thigh-hugging jeans in an insouciant half-in, half-out fashion and come out looking like you've spent a fortune at Bergdorf. I don't know if I am alone floating on this idea-island or if I'm part of an archipelago of bitter shoppers. I'm also fairly certain that some men are into a certain degree of androgyny – I read it somewhere on the Internet, that vault of unquestionable truths. Is it because women take fairly standard menswear pieces out of their pre-established context? Does a suit stop being a suit on a woman because she severs its inherent ties with business? How did chalk pinstripes escape the shoulders of bankers and slip into the mindset of Stella McCartney and her faithful disciples?
I wish I could extemporize to the point of establishing a theory. The solution eludes me. What could be the solution? Should we fight fire with fire and go for girlfriend jeans and girlfriend shirts? Are dresses and heels our new best friends? Have we already trespassed and not yet noticed?
I know I probably lost a lot of male readers at the get-go, and a fair few ladies who came here for the outfits, not the blab. But to those who stuck through (and I thank you for it), I ask you this: am I delusional? Is there an iota of sense fighting for breath against the crushing waves of my frustration? AM I DRAMATIC OR WHAT?!
Whatever the end result may be, I think I have found my own happy medium: take style cues from both genders. Perhaps it's the only way I could come out top in this dog-eat-dog scenario.