LOS ANGELES — The sexy tomboy look is gaining popularity as Southern California sportswear labels that originated in men's adapt their strengths in tailoring and structure to women's wear.
After several seasons when flirty dresses dominated the runways and streets, trousers, vests and other tailored looks with a masculine edge appear to be picking up momentum. In the last year, Los Angeles brands Monarchy, Z-Brand and Boy. by Band of Outsiders have made the jump into women's wear, and Corpus and Grandma's Glock, both based here, and San Francisco's B. Son by Rebecca Beeson are marketing themselves as unisex lines.
The trend is the latest example of men's labels crossing over to the women's sector. The women's market has previously welcomed men's wear labels and designers, including Trovata, Raf Simons at Jil Sander, Rag & Bone and Thom Browne, who is branching into women's through his collaboration with Brooks Bros.
It makes economic sense for men's lines to court female shoppers. "All the money is in women's," said Greg Armas, co-owner of Los Angeles boutique Scout, which carries Corpus, among other contemporary labels for men and women.
And tomboys are targets for Madewell, J. Crew's casual-chic startup that draws inspiration from a 70-year-old men's workwear label of the same name. Although Madewell doubled the number of dress styles for fall from spring to complement its denim, Lisa Schulner, a stylist who handles all the visual and store displays for Madewell, said the fall collection maintained "a tomboy edge" with saturated tints of purple and tomato red and wide-leg trousers in wool.
Celebrities such as Mary-Kate Olsen and Victoria Beckham have been spotted wearing the tomboy look.
Women's fashion this fall will reflect such men's styling as plaid prints and flannel fabric, said Fred Levine, co-owner of specialty chain M. Fredric, based in Studio City, Calif. The biggest impetus behind the trend is female shoppers' craving for novelty.
"Anything that is new and flattering and sexy is going to be hot," he said.
"After summer, we're going to go back to pants," predicted Alisa Loftin, owner of Aero & Co., a directional specialty shop here.
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