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Refinery29’s Alyssa Coscarelli Explains How Women Can Rock Menswear

Some people just have it. On first glance, you can tell they’re fulfilling their purpose, seamlessly integrating all of their talents into their daily lives, sharing their gifts with the world and doing their things. It’s a beautiful thing to see. And that’s exactly what drew our attention to Alyssa Coscarelli, the senior fashion market editor at Refinery29 and holder of an enviable Instagram account. Hoping to tap her splendid eye and substantial sartorial talents in the name of helping our female readers incorporate menswear into their wardrobes, we asked Alyssa about how women can rock men’s tees and trousers and what exactly she does as a fashion market editor.

How can a woman use a boxy men’s T-shirt to enhance their outfits?

Any good outfit is all about balance, so I love offsetting a more feminine skirt or fitted bottoms with an oversized top. Or if I’m feeling it, I’ll even go boxy head-to-toe—if the Olsens can do it, so can I, right? I’m so glad that the old-guard rules of dressing to “flatter” yourself or your body no longer really apply. If I feel like wearing something from the men’s section, I’m gonna go for it, even if it is a bit baggy.

When looking for T-shirts, what shapes and cuts would you go for to execute the gender-neutral look effectively?

I think you’re best off trying on different shapes and cuts and seeing what you feel best in. In a women’s T-shirt, I tend to size up to get an oversized look, but in men’s I may not have to size up quite as much—I’m quite petite so it’s a fine line between looking cool and looking like I’m drowning in fabric. I also love a henley or button-up shirt that can fall off the shoulder for a perfectly disheveled look.

During summer, what kinds of T-shirt fabrics do you go for?

Breathability is key. I’m a big fan of linen in the summer, but can also get behind a classic cotton or jersey fabric.

Men’s pants always seem tricky for women to incorporate into their wardrobes? Do you have any tips to make them more feminine?

My go-to trick for making men’s bottoms work for me is embracing the paper-bag waist. Belt them at the waist and let the extra fabric bunch up a bit. Or, take them to your tailor and have them fitted as desired. Making men’s pants more feminine isn’t necessarily my goal—it’s fitting them to achieve the desired look, whether masculine or feminine or somewhere in between. Like I mention above, the gendered rules no longer apply—I think all pieces are fair game for anyone who wants to wear them.

What kind of trousers would work best for that?

I personally love a pleated trouser style for the paper bag-waist look. It’s very ’80s-working-woman, which is pretty much my aesthetic lately.

For this summer heat, what kind of shirts from our collection would you gravitate towards?

Easy tees, Henleys, and button-ups are perfect for achieving a laid-back summer look, whether you’re heading upstate for the weekend or just kicking it in the city. Plus, they can all be styled so many different ways that they can carry you well through summer.

What’s the best trick to make a summer-y shirt look beach ready for August when it’s so hot out?

I usually wear a summer-y shirt unbuttoned over a crop top or bathing suit. It serves well as a beach cover-up, but you can also hit a café for lunch or peruse some shops without feeling totally exposed.

Any last tips on other ways women can wear men’s pieces?

Whatever you wear, wear it with the utmost confidence and no one will ever question it.


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