The Art of Dressing Like a Boy

Here’s to the girl with the messy hair, the one who loves her sneakers as much as her heels, the one with the long stride and the limitless ambition, the girl who doesn’t let her mascara cloud her vision or her own personal horizon. Here’s to the tomboy.

Vogue Japan 2012 willy vandepierre

Remember that scrappy young girl who used to run around the neighborhood with scraped knees and her brother’s dirt stained overalls? If you didn’t know her, it’s probably because you were her. It’s not just that tomboys didn’t like to wear dresses or play with girls, they were free to roam beyond gender stereotypes, where all rules went out the window. Now it seems that the tomboy has grown up.

It is no longer the unsophisticated look of your girlhood; the adult tomboy of today has crossed over from renouncing female fashion, to embracing it whole heartedly. But more than that, women have embraced the idea of dressing like a tomboy the way you would embrace any full-fledged life-style, with it’s philosophy of comfort over frills, and strength over fragility. It’s as if to say, I’m free to move, I’m comfortable, now try and stop me.

The modern day tomboy is a powerful woman comfortable in her own skin and that just happens to like sneakers. It-girls such as Cara Delevingne have elevated the tomboy, proving that a woman does not need to wear a dress in order to feel feminine. Over the past three years this sleek and totally refined new tomboy has been taking female fashion by storm. Designers such as Phoebe Philo have made comfort and simplicity the main objective when designing for women. The result has been a shift from uncomfortable, constraining dresses to more casual, street-inspired clothing. Heels have been replaced with Nikes. Sweet feminine cardigans have been swapped for powerful, tailored blazers.

The tomboy style has long often been a symbol of rebellion and counter-culture. For the last century, strict gender roles have mostly kept women dressing in traditionally female clothes. Those who broke such gender rules were ostracized and ridiculed, but as the rules began to loosen with time women were quick to take advantage of the freedom that comes with wearing a pair of pants. The 21st century has completely destroyed such gender stereotypes and has introduced more androgynous dressing.

Fashion is no longer this or that. This is the age when gender rules are being bent and broken. Androgyny has rapidly gained mass approval and women everywhere are being encouraged to explore their own personalities, instead of following society’s strict demands. The world is no longer black or white, as this new gender-neutral style has proven. Tomboys everywhere represent the exquisite shades of grey.

Anna Ewers by Josh Olins styled by Geraldine Saglio for French Vogue.

la modella mafia Milla Jovovich and Mario Sorrenti by Bob Richardson Vogue Italia November 1997 styled by Anna Dello Russo 1 Vogue Japan 2012. vogue paris september 2012

“It’s definitely difficult being a woman and growing up a girl. When you’re graceful, people say you lack personality; when you’re serene, people say you’re boring; when you’re confident, people say you’re arrogant; when you’re feminine, people say you’re too girly; and when you climb trees, people say you’re too much of a tomboy! As a woman, you really need to develop a very strong sense of self and the earlier you can do that, the better! You have to be all the things that you are, without allowing other people’s ignorance change you! I realized that they don’t know what grace is, they can’t identify serenity, they have inferiority complexes, they are incapable of being feminine, and they don’t know how to climb trees!” ~ C. JoyBell C.

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