I think one of the most glorious things a woman can do in fashion, with their style, is to be entirely content and confident with their femininity and sexuality to wear masculine and androgynous type clothing.
The epitome of this is a women wearing a tuxedo. Really, a tuxedo is absolute masculinity; he sharp, clean lines of a tailored tux is constructed to show a mans shape, to make them stand powerful and protective. For a woman wearing a tuxedo she has to have the confidence to be able to stand tall and feminine alongside these men.
The Brilliance of Yves Saint Laurent
Saint Laurent is the genius we need to thank for introducing the world to the women’s androgynous tux. In 1966, at his couture show, a model was sent down the catwalk in his ‘Le Smoking’ tuxedo. It comprised of velvet trim black pantsuit, white shirt with ruffled cuffs, complimented with a large black bow tie and high-heeled black satin boots. ‘Le Smoking’ became iconic.
The Helmet Newton 2004 photo for French Vogue encapsulated this look. A photo that has been reproduced and reused many many times. It is one of my most favourite fashion photos.
Keira Knightley did a shoot for Elle magazine back in 2008, where she sported a mink jacket, wide legged satin pants and waistcoat, white shirt (all by Hermes), a white bow tie, two-tone wing-tip brogues (Church’s) and a Patricia Underwood wool hat to complete the look. It is a stunning shot and stunning styling.
Janelle Monae. Style icon? I think so. Janelle dresses her signature tuxedo-type suiting impeccably. She varies this style effortlessly making it look the same, but not the same, alternating ruffle neck blouses, crisp white shirts, braces, classic bow tie, ladies bow ties, reverse colour combinations, but almost always opting for classic black and white. Just brilliant.
Having loved this look for so long, I decided try it for myself for a party last year. I nearly faltered at the last moment and wore a dress, however I thankfully regained my confidence in time. My outfit definitely did not comprise of couture designers, instead I wore H&M velvet jacket, Nicole Farhi trousers, Reiss shirt, Marwood lace tie, and Kurt Geiger patent leather high-heeled shoes. I looked different to everyone else. And do you know what? I felt amazing – I don’t think I had ever held myself so well. It is the best outfit I have ever worn.
The women’s tuxedo will never go out of fashion. Try it.
Confidence, sexuality and femininity. It is a powerful combination.