Wednesday, 3 November 2010

If I Were a Boy.....

Today I want to talk about an issue that I spend a disproportionate amount of time considering: what I would wear if I were a boy. I say disproportionate because the likelihood of me ever becoming a boy, or even being ask what I would wear if I was a boy, is so tiny in comparison to how much thought I’ve given this over the years.

Of course, how I’ve answered this has usually been in relation to which men in popular culture I fancied the most at the time. Subsquently my answers in the past would have included reference to Kurt Cobain, Beck, Daniel Johns, Q Tip, Lenny Kravitz, MCA and Ad Rock (sorry Mike D), to name but a tiny fraction. Equally unsurprisingly, how I imagine I would dress as guy has always been a kind of male version of the tip I’m on at that time in real life, eg, when I was rocking an eclectic charity shopped look, that’s how I imagined I would source my clothing as a guy, and when I was more into a hiphop influence and street ware, similarly I pictured myself as a little English Beastie.

Naturally, my answer to the question today will also reflect both the points made above. These days I’d like to think I can form an opinion on a guy’s style without being so hormone driven, but it’s interesting to me to find that many of my male celeb inspirations haven’t changed too much.

If I were a 31 year old boy (had my birthday last week, more relaxed and less hangover-inducing than last year’s) in 2010, I don’t know if I would be into sewing my own wardrobe (see?! All you needed to do was wait and I’d bring my blog back round to sewing eventually). Presumably, I’d be exposed to similar experiences and social factors in I was a guy to the ones I’ve experienced as a girl, plus I’d be subject to the same creative yet practical genetics passed on from my folks, but as many sociologists such as Beyonce have pointed out, life’s just not the same for a boy, so who can say? I would however, put money on ‘Boy-me’ giving a crap about what he wears, and if he wasn’t making his own stuff, he’d probably have a cool sewing mate whipping up stuff on his behalf. Let’s see what I’d make/get made if I were a boy:

Beck would still be one of my main boy-style role models. In each of his style manifestations from his Loser days to today, I’ve been behind him saying ‘Yes!’ and ‘Damn!’ where appropriate. Even after I found out he was a Scientologist. That’s how strong his style is. I’d probably get this kitsch-y western shirt (pattern recently acquired by myself from ebay) made up as an ‘ode’ to Beck (see what I did there?!):

Another, more recently acquired, style inspiration whom I’m sure would appreciate the western shirt above are the boys from Calexico:
It’s difficult not to let hormones to effect this study, but Tang! The latin-flavoured Americana they bring overlaps with another source of inspiration: QOTSA’s Josh Homme. He in turn brings a much needed dirty rockabilly element to this style stew.

To reflect that, I’d get a rockabilly shirt going on possibly based on this incredible pattern my boyfriend’s sister found me in a charity shop:

Do you see it?
I’d imagine I could achieve much of Michael Cera’s and Dave Grohl’s looks from charity shopping, but maybe I’d get some of the Burdastyle Jochen trousers made too:

These days, as a girl, I don’t rock as many streetwear elements as I used to, but a little piece of my heart will always be devoted to the Beastie Boys. For some casual comfort, I’d probably try and procure a zip through as awesome as this one (created by the deeply talented Burdastyle member fordelis):

And of course, let’s not forget how the Beastie’s rock a suit:

Not dissimilar to Mark Ronson’s sleek retro inspired vibe:

Or Jason Schwartzman’s:
Or even, to bring this full circle, to our beloved Beck’s. If I were a boy, I’d probably pick up an incredible vintage suit that would suffice for smart occasions, but I’d probably give it a twist with a club collar shirt like Peter’s.

So there you have it, more or less what I would wear if I were a boy. As this is unlikely to become a reality, I guess I'll live out these ideas by making them for my boyfriend. So, what would you wear if you were a boy (presuming you aren't one)? Whose style do you admire? Have you sewn much for guys? What inspired your creations?


Anna said...

the only guys I regularly sew for are 7 and 3 at the moment, I did make a few things for my ex husband when we were together but mainly pyjamas and a bag for work...

My current style is actually being influenced by a man's look, I've been a teeny bit obsessed with Landon Pigg and I love his 70's/emo/scruffy kid style so I'm with you looking for the plaid shirts.

When I was a teenager Robert Smith affected my style a lot, couldn't get into the bustier/tons of make-up female goth look presented by Sisters of Mercy videos so I followed what Bob was wearing instead. Late teens I was a Crustie, so big army boots and patchwork trousers, style influenced by The Levellers and other such bands. In my early 20's it was the Indie Kid thing which was basically girls dressing the same as boys, so maybe my style has always been more easily influenced by men than by women... I do like the idea of a dress but I find that I very rarely wear them, I prefer a much more casual style.

I hope my boys dress in an interesting way when they're older rather than the dull t-shirt and jeans thing, I'll always be on hand to whip up what they want or need so hopefully that will be a help!

Anonymous said...

if i were a boy i'd be your twin/doppleganger minus the josh homme... twas uncanny reading through, as i find it is for most of your posts :)

i have sewn for my ex boyfriend, narrow leg cords (a year or two before skinnys exploded here - very fashion forward of him!!!) and paisley cravat style scarves backed with silk (which i believe he still wears)

Beth said...

Hi Zoe - are you aware of the Nerd Boyfriend Tumblr blog? ( It's great for daydreaming - I think the idea is to mentally dress your boy, but it could equally be you-as-a-boy!

Cheers! Love the blog!

Anonymous said...

I can't say I've ever given much thought to what I'd wear as a boy---dressing as a girl is much more fun. That being said, I have a VERY style-conscious (but not trendy) hubby. Last summer I made him a couple of loose-and-flowing gathered-yoked dress shirts, with round collars and no pockets. His perfect shirt---unobtainable in RTW, but really, really easy to sew. I'd like to do more, but we'll see. He's picky about fit, which does put me off it a bit. I'd love to make him some more fitted shirts, and maybe try and get an awesome jeans pattern worked out as finding him RTW pants he likes is somwhere between hair-tearing and impossible.

sparkledonkey said...

Like aviewintomyworld, your dude style icons are identical to mine save for Josh Homme. Perhaps we'd be triplets?

Although I'm married and could potentially impose my will on my husband, I think it's much more fun to think about dressing myself like Beck or Jason Schwartzman.

Uta said...

This is such a fun question! Although I never thought about this, I can answer quite easily: As a boy/man, I'd dress like I do now... in the male version, of course! I like classic, not too stuffy styles and shapes, and I like a bit of color. When I notice a man for his style, he usually dresses like that. I also like retro, over-the-top dress-up styles, but not in real life - maybe on stage. I just saw a fashion spread in a German magazine, and the guys wore "Herr von Eden" ( Yum! DH has a different style which is absolutely all right, he isn't me after all. I also sew a different style for DS since "my style" wouldn't suit him (colors and personality) either.

Roobeedoo said...

Oh my! You are taking on a big project with that shirt. I used to make my son's clothes when he was little. His recent comment on viewing the family photo album was "Why did you make me wear such crazy-ass clothes?" Heh heh heh. I made his dad some shirts and trousers too, but it involved a lot of heavy-duty top-stitching and I got tired of all the broken needles.

Alexandra V. said...

If I were [dressed as] a boy I'd finally have enough pockets in my clothing. That'd be pretty sweet.

I think about dressing as a guy a lot, but always in the context of, "If I could wear guy clothes I could buy shirts that don't rip on the first wearing, and real jeans, the kind without stupid lycra in them, and I wouldn't have to carry a purse ever, and I could have wittily screenprinted T-shirts in my size."

naughty little pony said...

Great post! love the cowboy shirt pattern!

Zoe said...

Oh my god Beth, that link has changed my life! Thanks all for your comments! xxxxxxxxxx

Stacy said...

While watching Shine A Light, I found myself thinking, "I want all of Mick Jagger's clothes!" So maybe Mick would be my male style icon. He manages to rock some velvet and shiny stuff and still look manly (or as manly as anyone can with that physique)!

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