We Wear The Pants: The Power of Women In Menswear

By: Maria Kahn

Women sporting menswear isn't a new trend in fashion. In fact, this type of androgynous style has quite a history. Looking back to before the 1500s, female heroine, Joan of Arc, in all her victorious glory, had her body adorned in armor as she fought on the front line for her country in the Hundred Year's War.

Fast forward a few centuries to the era of mainstream designers composing fashion with an excess of luxury, Coco Chanel was one of the first to revolutionize the industry in countless ways. She constructed the Chanel suit, one of the first suits specifically designed for women. She unapologetically implemented menswear into women's attire, which deeply resonated with women like Audrey Hepburn to Jackie Kennedy. Chanel launched trousers as another item for a woman's wardrobe. Previously, they were only worn by women in the workplace of male-dominated jobs. Chanel transformed this societal norm by making trousers a frequent, mainstream article of clothing that women could wear for all occasions. 

Reeling back to the modern day, we can witness how instrumental her contributions to the fashion industry have been. Take a look at your surroundings and notice the ongoing chain of women wearing suits on their way to work, headed to dinner with a significant other, or even on red carpet. One of my personal favorite celebrities who I've crowned as the queen of women in suits is Janelle Monae. It has easily become a trademark look on her.

Needless to say, the fashion industry is full of iconic influences and inspirations. Since the menswear for women movement was such a success that resonated positively with the public, an abundance of designers took inspiration from this, creating their own designs to send out on runways and sell through commercial retailers. The power of a great suit allows women to embrace the masculinity within them through fashion. 

Taking a look at the most recent fashion week in New York City, you'll notice many reoccurring looks on models strutting down the catwalk in suits draped to their slim frames. It has simultaneously become a timeless look amongst many in fashion, joining the Little Black Dress on the list of iconic wardrobe staples. Let's take a look at some of the designers who sent off some alluring and bewitching looks in their shows.

The fashion industry is ever-changing. Like any industry, advancements will present themselves, designers will filter in and out, but few styles will remain to transcend decades and appear in millions of closets around the world. The suit for women is a style that I've grown passionate about and I will always have a harboring respect for menswear. What you wear can ignite something in you, portray your personality and change your mood. Personally, wearing menswear makes me feel empowered, resilient and dynamic. The beauty of fashion is that it can make you feel powerful whether you're wearing a dainty, floral dress or a boxy suit - it's all about the feeling it gives you. As reinforced in Sex and the City (a.k.a my bible), "every woman has a male inside of her." Remember, we wear the pants.