You can call it "tomboy" or "gender-bending" or "men's style clothing for women," but I'm just surprised it's taken this long to show signs of proliferation. When Portland-based Wildfang opened just over a year ago, its hook was that it literally poached its inventory from male-designated designs, albeit while selecting cuts that worked best on female shapes, and mixing them in with lines that were designed for women but exude the same "tomboy" aesthetic. I wouldn't call it—or similarly minded clothing ventures, like the local Dapper D, which is currently crowd-sourcing funds for its launch—lesbian fashion per se. Especially with a line as marketing savvy as Wildfang, the appeal isn't that narrow. But it is being designed and branded in a way that's finally inclusive of lesbian/queer style, a belatedly smart (and lucrative) market to tap. It increasingly feels antiquated to refer to "menswear" and "womenswear," not because masculine or feminine aesthetics are irrelevant, but because the identity of those who might want to wear them is evolving into greater fluidity. As Dapper D's founder Vanna Pecoraro expresses it:
Since having my first job at 16 and buying my own clothes, I only shopped in the men's department. I never felt comfortable in dresses or feminine blouses etc. I always felt awkward and my confidence was lacking to say the least. Wearing men's style clothes gave me the confidence I needed to be myself and walk with my head held high... I want to empower other women to be themselves and wear what makes THEM comfortable... Being a fashionista doesn't just mean wearing high heels, skirts and the latest trend.
Check out Dapper D's Kickstarter if you want to help foster an increase in this type of clothing design on the local level, and also this photo of former police officer Pecoraro (who says "Wearing a uniform taught me to take pride in looking 'sharp.' My uniform had to be dry cleaned and pressed, boots cleaned and the leather shined.") looking rather amazing is worth a gander:
- Dapper D via Kickstarter