This fall, the tailored menswear inspired look is all the rage.  I love the strength, power and boldness of a strong structured look inspired by menswear, however, when this look is taken from the runway to real life it can often look too masculine on the average woman.  So, I found this article in USA Today quite helpful.  According to the article, while menswear inspired fashion isn’t a new trend, how it has evolved is new.  It’s more feminine allowing women to still show off their curves while still looking unfussy and tailored.

Believe me, I have tons of experience with helping my clients achieve this balance of a strong menswear inspired yet feminine look.   Many of my clients are highly successful, powerful corporate women who have often, in that effort to “run with the boys”, have given up a feminine touch in their clothing.  Yet, after working with me, they realize that they don’t have to.

So, how can you pull this masculine trend off the runway and add it to your closet without looking like you stole your husband’s suit?  It’s all about fit and how you accessorize the look.

Tailoring is a crucial step in looking good in a menswear inspired trend.

First, let’s start with fit.  This is CRUCIAL!  Here is the thing that always has me banging my head against the wall when I work with clients: After a client willingly makes a serious investment on some new suits, jackets and tailored pants, I get major resistance from them to pay the extra for tailoring.   In fact, I will never forget going toe-to-toe with a client in a dressing room when I suggested that she needed to tailor a suit she was about to buy.  Her argument was that if she was going to spend $800 on a suit then it should fit right.  My argument back to her was simply, “Yes, exactly!  If you are going to spend $800 on a suit then it should fit right…and that is why you need to tailor it. “

Let me be very clear here, if you want your tailored pieces to look good nine times out of ten you’re going to have to alter them.  One of the biggest reasons why tailoring has to be part of the process is that, when it comes to classic, tailored clothing, there is no hiding fit flaws behind frill, layers, prints and overt trend.  Classic tailored clothing is so clean and precise that if a sleeve is too long, a waist to big or a pant hem not right, it will be visible without the bells and whistles to distract the eye.   By not tailoring to get these pieces to fit right it doesn’t matter how much the suit costs, it will still not look well.  And, talk about counterintuitive—spend a ton of money to still look frumpy.  So, please, please, don’t skip this important step the next time you purchase new tailored clothing.

 Next, accessorizing.  I know, I know…everyone seems to be allergic to accessorizing.   Being someone who heeds the famous quote from Steel Magnolias “The Only Thing that Separates Us from the Animals Is Our Ability to Accessorize”, I often scratch my head at the idea that someone struggles with this.  However, after 9 years in business and hundreds of clients, if you’re someone who can’t figure out accessorizing then you’re not alone.

Going back to the menswear trend of this fall, accessorizing your more masculine looks with some feminine touches is going to be how you embrace a balance in your look.  Never think that the baby needs to be thrown out with the bathwater when you want to look powerful and commanding.   You can look like a woman!

Let’s take a look at some of the tailored masculine, yet feminine looks I put together.

Here we have a suit that is pretty basic.  Worn with just a black tank, no accessories and a boring pair of black heels, there isn’t anything feminine about this look…at all.  In fact, it is quite boring and uninspired.  However, if this woman just took the time to add some more feminine elements to the look it would be a whole different suit.

Instead of black, I warmed up the look with a burgundy wine shade.  Next I chose some feminine, yet not intrusive, jewelry that finishes off the look.  With such a subtle change this suit looks way more elegant without losing any power.

Let’s talk about a tailored pair of pants now, a staple for most women in an office environment.  You can still keep it simple yet make it interesting at the same time.  It’s so darn easy.  Instead of going the predictable route with basic shoes and accessories, this is where you can add some personality.

Starting with the base of a slim charcoal grey turtleneck, we can season the look with some more femininity.  Feminizing can be done with something as simple as a brightly colored necklace, a statement pair of shoes and, instead of a basic boring cardigan, something more novel like the one pictured.  You see?  Powerful yet strikingly feminine!

Lastly, while a pencil skirt certainly is a feminine piece of clothing, how many women choose to wear it can be a bit deficient in womanliness.  If you see how the skirt is pictured with the black heel and the white shirt, unless you work for an airline or a catering hall, you need a bit more inspiration to stand out.  Here are my suggestions.

Instead of a stuffy, overly structured suit jacket, go for a structured cardigan that can feminize a look while still keeping it powerful.  Next, in lieu of a neutral color under that cardigan, have some fun, pick a bright color.  To fill in your neck, ditch a string of pearls, or something equally boring, and go for something that complements the color.  Lastly, if you are going to stick with a black shoe, at least make it interesting, however, you can also go for something like a tan or with a novelty like an animal print or textured pump.

I hope these suggestions help you add some feminine flavor to your wardrobe!  I am woman, hear me roar!!!!!!