FYI SOUTH Magazine, December 2004.

Winter 2004/5: A perfected balance of the sexes, Part 2

By Karishma Krishna Translated by Yvonne Chen Photos by Henry Westheim

Who would have thought that slouchy, baggy pants and fitted tuxedo jackets or knee-length trench coats with the classic English riding hunter's breeches and horse-riding jodhpurs would be sexy, yet feminine? Well, this season they are hot, which leaves one wondering why we ladies haven't worn these menswear styles sooner.

These seasonal looks are cleverly reinvented and grouped to make even the most masculine silhouettes look sensual and super feminine. Example: Take the slouchy pants, mix them with a fitted corset top or low V-fronted fitted wrap blouse, sling a long furry wrap around your neck and top up with a bowler hat or Busby. Slip into those super comfy loafers in black and white patch leather (golfer style) and what do you have? Yes, the perfect balance of masculine-inspired femininity. Not only are you in vogue, but you look cozy and very flattering, as this "waist slim on top and wide at the bottom look" creates length and slims down the waist and tucks in the tummy while excentuating the hipline.

"Must Have" items include: 1) the longer-length fitted jacket--the knee-length trench coat and the pea coat; 2) fur, fur and more fur, whether it's a a stole, a bag, a very hot pair of fuzzy boots or the hottest bomber jacket of the season; 3) the fur bomber; 4) the cropped pants--fitted (pedal pusher/Capri style) and cuffed at the hemline (breeches style); 5) the fitted Jodhpur-inspired riding pants in stretch wools to denims (to be worn with tucked-over boots); 6) the pencil skirt; 7) wraps in all shapes and lengths (as long as they create a feeling of been cocooned); 8) the flat-front slouch pants; 9) the knee-length fit and flares skirt (a very classic 40's style in tweeds and textured wools); men's-style fitted sweater in fine gauge, sheer and chunky knits, patterned in stripes and English argyles, creating a very classic feel; 11) the fitted shirt (in a variety of cuff and collar styles); 12) the fitted blazer (double-breasted or single in satiny stretches with fur trims, or in heavier more wooly fabrics); 13) the maxi cardigan, which can vary in weight and texture depending on the knits; 14) the blouse in soft, sheery, flowy fabrics; 15) the fitted corset-like top in checks or tweed; 16) flared jeans; and 17) the cropped jacket--knit or woven, slumpy or structured, it's the hottest, newest add-on to the season. It's also the perfect layering piece.

Getting the look: The Dandy
This quirky, junior look can be achieved by simply teaming the flat-fronted slouch pants in English tweed or even worn-out denim (for the more grungy feel) and a fitted white shirt topped with a fine gauged cashmere V-necked singlet. To complete the look, add a leopard-print belt and a long fur stole and top this all off with a cool corduroy and page boy cap. If this is too boyish for you, add a rose pin to the cap and wear fitted pedal pushers instead and add a cropped fitted jacket to finish it off. And, if it's still not sexy, then go for the corset top instead of the singlet, over the shirt and stiletto sandals worn with crochet stockings instead of boots, or perhaps even a fur-trimmed cardigan.

Lastly, remember girls, this season's vintage classic feel is about mixing old and new textures and colors. Until the next time, have lots of fun!