While the fashion world is besotted by the beautiful couture creations on display in various European cities, we would like to bring a decidedly less-dramatically-designed garment to your attention: the boyfriend shirt. That's right, dear readers, the "borrowed-from-your-boyfriend" dictum that has outfitted you in baggy-and-cuffed jeans and menswear-style blazers has migrated to top-territory, too. While we here at Who What Wear headquarters enthusiastically endorse this trend on a personal level (three members of our editorial team all wore a variation of this style one day last week!), we've also noticed a preponderance of our favorite fashion-forward ladies support this look as well. Whether it's an extra-long striped selection (à la Agyness Deyn) or a cool collared choice (Rihanna-style), the generously cut men's dress shirt is the ultimate in laid-back chic.
Before we discuss our well-dressed quartet, let us first contextualize our subject's current place in fashion. The simple sophistication of an impeccably crisp and extra large button-up appeared on our sartorial radar early this season when we noticed a voluminously proportioned top on the S/S 09 runway of Japanese minimalist master, Yohji Yamamoto. Yamamoto's exaggerated interpretation of this long-standing staple felt fresh for summer, and was definitely an image that stuck in our heads and on our inspiration boards. Of course we're not the only ones smitten with the oversized dress shirt, in fact, we reckon that its got universal appeal. After all, a well-crafted piece of menswear always adds a little androgyny and power to an ensemble, while the easy-going shape is perfect for those who have an insouciant attitude when it comes to their wardrobes! Another desirable element of this particular piece is that even amidst a celeb-centric fashion moment, it doesn't feel faddish. On the contrary, the button-up shirt is both timeless and versatile; it will look sharp over a bikini or paired with satin cocktail shorts. Just remember this: whatever you wear your boyfriend shirt with, make sure to keep your blouse billowy (the silhouette is decidedly not ultra-tailored or body-con) and pick a breathable fabric, like cotton or seersucker for a smart summer selection!
If you're still not sure if this trend is for you, perhaps a few celebrity examples will convince you otherwise. Take Rihanna for instance, who opted for Helmut Lang's Optic White Oversized Dress Shirt ($265, 212.242.3240) to run errands in New York City. Though typically clad in more body-skimming styles, the songstress layered the sheer and loose-fitting blouse over a coral tank top, which added a pop of color to her outfit. The overall effect provides a breath of fresh air on an otherwise muggy afternoon. For those of you who are fans of the singer's outfit, try Rag & Bone's Shirred Boyfriend Shirt ($295) or bebe's Button Down Shirt ($69) with Current/Elliott's The Roll Short ($178) in destroyed to go with your oxford.
The boyfriend shirt is also a terrific base for an outfit comprised of lightweight layers (for those who duck in and out of air-conditioned spaces!). Agyness Deyn, who is known for her quirky taste, paired what resembles a striped sleep-shirt with opaque tights and a biker jacket for a walk in London's Primrose Hill neighborhood. If her styling choices aren't quite up your alley, we'd like to remind you that you can always wear a longer button-up, such as Hope's Master Blouse ($288), with black tights or bare-legs and flat sandals. Of course, you needn't go for such a voluminous cut to achieve a well-appointed result. Keira Knightley, who was spotted in a buttoned shirt while filming London Boulevard, accessorized her casual, slightly slimmer choice with a gray trench and a beanie, which was an appropriate match to the gloomy British weather. To get an equally smart look, we like Topshop's Grey Strip Man Shirt ($55) or the Gap's Textured Boyfriend Shirt ($50), which are both classic in their cut and would provide a nice backdrop for different textures and layers.
Finally, we have Chloe Sevigny. Though she often favors risqué outfits, she is, after all, a fashion renegade who isn't afraid to experiment with the entire style spectrum. The directional dresser proved her propensity for integrating menswear into her wardrobe when she wore a long Maison Martin Margiela jacket, circular Commes des Garçons glasses, and a vintage cobalt shirt from Cherry (a West Village boutique frequented by New York City's best dressed) buttoned up to the collar-perhaps channeling the modesty of her Big Love character, Nicky? If you're wild about her top, try American Apparel's Pinpoint Oxford Button-Up Shirt ($54) as a substitute for Sevigny's selection. Or you could always wait a few more weeks to snap up pieces from the forthcoming F/W 09 capsule collection she designed for Opening Ceremony-the line was conceived by Sevigny strictly for guys, but we have a feeling that her creations (sized for both men and women) will be appearing in the closets of the fairer sex as well!-KM