"Borrowed from the boys" is a statement that could define the majority of my wardrobe. If Diane Keaton is okay with that, then I am okay with that. Of course, that statement should probably be amended to say, "borrowed from the boys if the boys were oddly angular, moody little girls." Yes, that fits my wardrobe description exactly!
Menswear and menswear-inspired pieces are excellent additions to your wardrobe, and the best way to do so is not J. Crew, but Goodwill. Here are a few pointers for you when filling in your wardrobe with thrifted menswear-inspired pieces.
1. GO CLASSIC
The first thing I would tell you when thrifting menswear-inspired pieces would be to go classic. By classic I mean, navy pea coats, camel hair blazers (extra points for suede elbow patches), well-tailored oxford button down shirts in heavy cotton. These are the pieces that never go out of style, and they are truly unisex. Think of them as wardrobe staples.
As with all my thrifting tips, I would urge you to look for the highest quality materials. Heavy wool, smooth suedes and leathers, and heavy 100% cotton keep their shape and last forever. My personal favorites for classic pieces like this are from the 1960s and 1970s; go 1950s and they're too curvy, go 1980s or 1990s and the quality drops off. You can usually tell if you have something older from the 1960s or 1970s by the weight of the material - it's just heavier.
2. GO TAILORED
Unless you really want to look like you're wearing your dad's clothing, you want your menswear-inspired pieces to be tailored. Sometimes you'll get lucky and find something that already fits well. Or maybe you just want that slouchier button down fit (I know I tend to gravitate that way). But most of the time you won't find something that perfectly molds to your body. Well, guess what?! There are these magical people called "tailors." They can make anything look absolutely amazing on you. They can take things in, they can shorten things or even lengthen them! I would recommend going to a men's tailor, though - they'll be better with jackets and blazers.
3. LOOK IN THE LITTLE BOYS' SECTION (OR A SMALL MAN'S)
An annoying truism: women's clothes are marked up. For no reason other than we are suckers and will pay it. The good news is, when you're looking for menswear, you can go to the source: the men's or the boys' section. I'm lucky enough to be able to fit into the largest child's size for blazers and coats, and the kids' sections of thrift stores offer prices mere fractions of the adult stuff. The little boy section is usually rife with blazers and fancier things, probably items worn in a wedding and then discarded, so it's a great source if you're looking for the perfect navy blazer with gold buttons, for instance.
Smaller men's sizes are also good when you're talking slouchier button downs and sweaters. Again, usually for lower prices (but why?! Why?!). Your tailor will be your best friend here.
You can click above for some menswear-inspired pieces now in the Etsy shop.