Holiday party season is just around the corner but if you’re thinking of pulling out your tired LBD for your next fashion fete, then, seriously, don’t even bother. Especially when there are so many better, sexier and more effortlessly chic options – like the tuxedo, par example. Androgyny may be the buzziest of the holiday dressing buzzwords and with that comes the new evening tuxedos as the cool girl’s alternative to the lacy black party dress.
Designer Yves Saint Laurent pioneered this look with his Le Smoking suit back in 1966, but today’s offerings — see Michael Kors, Arthur Mendonça, Ralph Lauren and Dolce & Gabbana — range in rich colors, sleek cuts and updated fabric. The look is strong and sophisticated, but how do you pull off masculine fashion while still maintaining your feminine allure? It’s about how you wear these gentlemanly pieces that is key: think luxurious, sultry, easy – with a strong dose of femininity. Simply follow these five fashion commandments:
1. Opposites attract
There is nothing wrong with looking like a man — certainly not in a season when designers like are channeling Marlene Dietrich and Loulou de la Falaise’s cross-dressing savoir-faire. But dressing too literally these days, especially during the holidays, seems a bit contrived. To avoid looking all-boy-all-the-time, try experimenting with just a few tuxedo pieces and balance them with a bit of feminine ruffle, silk or other types of frou. For example, a frilly, outrageously femme lace mini skirt partnered with a tuxedo bib shirt and dapper brogues have a sexy yet androgynous feel, while chandelier earrings and sky-high heels soften a loose, mannish cut tuxedo jacket. Or simply experiment with inspired iterations of the classic tuxedo like a satin trimmed jumpsuit, sequin spangled tuxedo blazer or bow-tie blouse, which are key pieces to that confident butch/femme look you’re going for.
More tips for wearing the tuxedo trend on the next page ...
So how do you pull off these masculine looks without looking like a total man-repeller? Answer: A hint of skin. Nothing is sexier in fashion than a woman dressed in a trim tuxedo that highlights her enviable assets. Think of Bianca Jagger circa Studio 54 days in a deep V jacket sans blouse. Or Kate Moss in her crisp blouse buttoned down to there. Or channel Alexa Chung with a leg-baring mini and gents’ shoes. You can borrow from the boys in sinuous style with a cropped version of formal tuxedo pants, like thigh-grazing shorts, balanced with a sleeveless top or vest. It’s a look that is both sultry and seductive — and guaranteed to turn heads.
3. Seek higher ground
If you really want to push the androgyny envelope and you’re going for a hard edge look a la Ann Demeulemeester or Alexander Wang, make sure you rock it with major attitude and the highest of heels. Handsome gentleman accessory optional.
4. Add smoky eyes
It’s a fact: Le Smoking styles require smoky eyes. The smoky eye makeup look offers instant sex appeal but avoid going too heavy-handed by pairing it with a nude lip. Also, a razor sharp suit begs for only just a few baubles so forgo the temptation to dress up in sparkly over-the-top fare and reach instead for more minimalist pieces like a metal choker à la Michael Kors or simple drop earrings.
5. Add colour
Whether it’s deep scarlet coloured lips and nails, or a jewel toned miniaudière, or even a funky faux fur scarf, a decadent hit of colour will always do the trick. Furthermore, nothing is more seductive than a rich shot of color at the end of a long, dark column gown – think fashion-forward touches like fuchsia stiletto sandals or a feather-tipped fedora with a luxe rive gauche vibe. Happy holidays, indeed.