During the recent round of runway shows at New York Fashion Week, we couldn't help noticing that one of the most intriguing menswear trends wasn't worn by men at all. Both on and off the runway, the fairer sex were sporting menswear-influenced suits, shirts and coats. And the results were undeniably appealing. There's just something about a woman in men's clothes. Of course, this is nothing new. There must be a reason why so many men cite "my shirt" as one of the sexiest things their lady can wear. But what is it?
"Men like seeing women in their clothing because it makes her his woman—like a teen girl wearing the quarterback's varsity jacket," says author and clinical psychologist Dr. Sherrie Campbell. "Clothing is more about essence than anything else—especially when sharing it with a woman—and this gives him a feeling of pride, protection and sexual attraction." Even when it's not your clothes she's wearing, Dr. Campbell says that many men are often responding to the femininity, softness and sensuality lurking underneath those more traditional menswear garments.
Men like seeing women in their clothing because it makes her his woman.”
While we couldn't find any scientific studies on such menswear appropriation, a recent survey did find parallels in attraction when it comes to going to bed. Men find women in old fashioned button-front pajamas sexier than both those who wear lacy lingerie and those who wear nothing at all. Some respondents explained their reasoning by saying PJs just "looked cute" on a girl, while others were attracted to the subtle nod to mystery and modesty.
As masculine as the tailoring might be, the menswear-inspired looks being paraded around at fashion week—shrunken suits, cropped outerwear and relaxed, rolled jeans—hardly come off as cross-dressing. These are women's clothes, but there's an inherent strength and confidence to the look. Which just might be what's in it for the women. Nic Screws, the style director of Bloomberg Pursuits, recently wrote about the trend's juxtaposition of power and femininity. "I think of it every time I see a sexy and successful woman in a killer suit," she says, before summing it up nicely: "Done right, a fits-like-a-glove pantsuit can be the most commanding of ladywear fashion statements." We'd definitely agree with that.