A relatively unspoken rule of fashion is that when a woman wishes to look more powerful or to be taken more seriously, she attempts to look more masculine. From the shoulder pads that businesswomen wore in the 1980’s, to Hillary Clinton’s serious bob and pants suits. This has led to menswear on women, like many other trends, going in and out of style various times throughout the decades.
Currently, plain white dress shirts with a twist, whether that be wearing a corset over the top or intricately tying the sleeves and wearing it off the shoulder, are in style. Before I examine this trend, I would like to note that I’m counting the white dress shirt as a men’s item because although women wear them, that’s usually only in a business capacity which reverts back to my original point of women dressing like men in order to be taken seriously.
However, this trend is different. The way women wear white dress shirts now is sexy. Taking your dad’s 2XL shirt which would usually hide your figure and styling it in a way that accentuates your femininity sends a powerful message: “I’m serious, I’m a woman and the two are not mutually exclusive.”
Before now, women venturing into menswear were doing so to hide their feminine side because “woman” (for some reason I can’t comprehend) wasn’t associated with “powerful.” This shift is one that’s particularly exciting for me as a woman who takes pride in being feminine, but also has aspirations of being the boss.
This one small trend tells me that women are realizing that wearing a skirt in a board meeting isn’t a death sentence and that red lipstick can be just as fierce and bossy in the office as in any other setting. Millennial women are fighting the idea that womanhood is an obstacle on their way to professional success.
Now, depending on your field, the white dress shirt with a twist may or may not be appropriate to wear to work; but it’s not about the piece, it’s about the mentality. It’s about being a confident woman who takes herself seriously without toning herself down.
Be the zeitgeist.