Impossible as it may be to fathom from the perspective of today, as late as the 1960s, it was not easy for a woman to find a decent pair of trousers. Perhaps because the thinking of the time was that decent women simply didn’t wear trousers. Resourceful and style-savvy ladies seeking alternatives to the dresses, skirts, and blouses that social mores prescribed to them, pillaged the menswear department, where the expertly tailored clothes were designed to exude authority. As Tom Ford has astutely observed, a suit is armor.
There were well-known historical precedents for this sort of cross- dressing, of course. In the early 15th century, Joan of Arc, a woman in need of sartorial armor if there ever were one, adopted the uniform of a soldier to protect herself from the company of men. But while not all women who wore pants were burned at the stake for doing so, those who dared exude independence, even if only sartorially, posed an undeniable threat to the status quo.
But why shouldn’t a woman dress more like a man?
A loose collective of disparate fashion die-hards have latched on to this idea during what seems to be a moment of turmoil. Fashion is on the verge of becoming just another form of entertainment, one more thing to distract us from the realities of daily life. The HommeGirl has it both ways.
There is a boy in every girl, an homme in every woman. Dressing like a man doesn’t disguise a woman’s femininity—it ignites it. “The more a woman hides and abandons her femininity, the more it emerges from the very heart of her existence,” Yohji Yamamoto has said. “A pair of brilliantly cut cotton trousers can be more beautiful than a gorgeous silk gown.”
We could not agree more.