Stylist Caroline Rooney's Tips on How to Rock a Menswear­-Inspired Look

With the new year upon us, it's time to put away the holiday dresses and start thinking about our 2016 wardrobe. And what's the first thing on our minds, you ask? The exact opposite of all the über-feminine styles we've been wearing for the past couple months. That's right, menswear! 

So we called up fashion stylist Caroline Rooney to give us some inspiration for our menswear-inspired looks – one of fall’s most exciting (albeit intimidating) trends. Who better to help us master this trend than the SF based stylist who cut her teeth as a menswear buyer in New York, before moving out to the Bay Area to launch her styling business (where she works with brands like Bonobos and Levi’s, and dresses some of the Bay’s dapperest tech leaders).

Check out Caroline's tips and picks below and start planning your first menswear-inspired look of the year... 

Caroline's tips & picks

One of my favorite trends for the winter months is menswear for women, where classic menswear pieces are refashioned, and recut in a flattering, feminine silhouette. There are lots of amazing pieces on the market that fit this trend, but the easiest way to incorporate the look into your wardrobe is to start with a key pieces, and build the look from there. As with any trend, it’s best to focus on one key piece, or statement item, and then layer with classic, well fitting basics to keep the trend from wearing you.

The Dinner Jacket / Statement Blazer 

Dinner jackets and statement blazers are my favorite way to incorporate this trend into my wardrobe. I love that layering on one of these fancy jackets instantly elevates your look, and turns even a simple basic outfit into a glamorous one. After work you can toss one of these jackets on and swap your tote for a clutch, your flats or boots for heels, and you look elegant and put together. There are lots of options but the details on these special pieces make them a great conversation starter and add a bit of fun to your wardrobe. I love this jacket from local SF designer J’Amy Tarr - the zippers and leather details add a bit of edge, but also easily zip off to offer two ways to wear - both an office appropriate black blazer, and a sexy, edgy look for evening. Best of all, these jackets look equally great paired back to jeans and a sexy blouse, as they do over a cocktail dress or paired with skinny trousers. For a louder statement (and a pop of color!) I love the jackets from Bless The Mess.

The Wide Leg Trouser

Menswear-inspired trousers are the most intimidating of these trend items, but they are secretly flattering across body types. The wide leg covers high heels and elongates your frame, while the high, slim waist accentuates the slimmest part of your midsection. Opt for a classic menswear suiting fabric like a subtle plaid or a lightweight charcoal wool. Keep your styling pieces simple - choose a classic, slim fitting v-neck cashmere sweater and keep your jewelry feminine and delicate to balance out the statement of the trouser.

 The Oxford Shoe

Classic leather lace ups or oxford shoes are a menswear staple. I love when these styles have been updated for women in special colors and fabrications, like metallics and patent leather. They look great with mini dresses and skirts, but I also love the look with dark  jeans and a simple tee. They’re a really fun way to update a simple everyday look and add in a pop of trend.

The Tuxedo  

The Extra Special Splurge!  For a truly special take on the menswear trend, I love a classic tuxedo, recut in a slim and sexy  silhouette for women. Emily Meyer offers bespoke suiting for women, and one of her impeccably cut custom tuxedos start at $1280. Pair the classic tux with a sheer take on a classic tux shirt (pair with an ultra feminine black lacy bra) or for an updated look, wear with a  slinky silk top in black or navy for a chic, monochromatic look.