Week of requests: The key ingredients of tomboy style

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“More tomboy please!” writes a commenter named Lisa, rather succinctly, and the pleasure is all mine: this is how I dress most days, and especially now that the whole world has gone casual. I’d say a striped tee is a perfect starting point, and this one from Kule is pretty ideal. Here’s another one I like that’s cheaper.

And here’s a good long-sleeved striped tee from Saint James that comes in several good colorways.

You can’t beat a classic white button down, and this one is nice and lightweight.

I’m a big fan of the popover: it’s just a touch more feminine than a button-down, when you’re in the mood for that.  I like this one too. Alex Mill in general really nails this look.

I really like their utility jumpsuit too, in this good slate-y gray.

A pair of jeans that isn’t too tight, but also isn’t so loose that it’s sloppy is a good way to go. I like this straight-legged pair from Madewell.

My favorite chinos are all from Nili Lotan (I especially like their Tel Aviv pant) but right now this excellent pair from Vince is marked down.

For some reason, I have convinced myself that hoodies are sexy, which may or may not be true. But they are the ultimate in easy tomboy style, and so good for layering. This cashmere specimen is a good weight for the weather we’re having right now in New York.

A navy blazer is just a little more gamine and French than a black one, and is also a super-easy way to incorporate at least a little color into your outfit.

And of course, a good chore jacket is a really simple way to channel tomboy style. I think the dusty rose hue of this one is kind of nicely unexpected.

As far as handbags go, the simpler the better. I like Clare V’s Sac Bretelle because it is perfectly unadorned and fits more than it looks like it will.

I like a flat mule for kicking around, and this one is currently marked down.

Of course, any good tomboy has at least one pair of well-worn sneakers, and I like these from Puma because of the nice big platform.

If you really want to do the look in a head-to-toe way—like, literally—you might want to consider a fisherman cap, which looks cute on pretty much everyone.

And finally: a delicate necklace adds just a touch of femininity. I lust for this antler pendant from James Colarusso.

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Comments

35 Thoughts on Week of requests: The key ingredients of tomboy style
    Kate
    20 Apr 2020
    12:44pm

    I bought a Saint James t-shirt years ago with some sort of deal in the back of Lucky, and it is still in pretty decent shape!

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    Francine
    20 Apr 2020
    2:23pm

    Love a good conversation about denim! I have a nice mix of varying rises just because I adore wearing jeans and like to mix things up. But my sweet spot is mid-rise (8.5″ for me). Aesthetics aside, I think mid-rise keeps you honest. If you solely wear high rise, I think it’s too easy to gain a few pounds because you’re lulled into the “sucks it all in” fit. I haven’t weighed myself in 20 years and have worked from home for 16 years, so trust me. Wear high rise for a few weeks, then try wearing your mid-low and see what I’m talking about.

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      Mimi
      21 Apr 2020
      10:37am

      And speaking of jeans sucking it all in, denim trial and error has convinced me that a zipper fly will always lie flatter than a button fly. Has anyone else noticed that? Pardon the (not humble) brag but I have a flat stomach. When I try on jeans with a button fly it doesn’t look flat.

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    susanm
    20 Apr 2020
    2:16pm

    Tomboy style and striped teeshirts are my jam! I think of it as dressing kind of like my 7-year old self wanted to, and Mom wouldn’t let me, she was more in the Disney Princess clothing camp for her daughter. Now, I love rocking tomboy clothes, with some makeup and styling so it’s a fun look and pulled together, but playful. Going to check these stripe out, now that I am off Everlane, I need a new quality striped t-shirt supplier.

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    monique
    20 Apr 2020
    2:09pm

    BTW, I see some comments here about Frame jeans. Hautelook is having a Frame flashsale right this second. No 6397s but they do have other mid-rise jeans and a lot of nice tops, and a great pair of leather jeans down from $1100 to $390! If they weren’t cropped I might have grabbed my credit card.

    I have purchased many jeans (and other items) from Hautelook and Ruelala. In all honesty, aside from making special purchases when I’m in other countries, I haven’t paid full-price for a clothing (or accessory) item in years.

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    Tara
    20 Apr 2020
    1:59pm

    I love 99% of the look of the Alex Mill jumpsuit, but while they describe it as having “a slight crop” this gorgeous model has what I would term more of a “pretty serious crop”. I wish they were more full-length. I am not an Amazon at 5’7″ but I think a longer pair would be more versatile for me–you can always roll up the legs or hem them but you can’t extend with the same ease!

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      Caryn
      20 Apr 2020
      7:37pm

      Tara, I thought the same thing, but took a chance. I am 5’4″ and they are truly full-length on me. I think the inseam measurement doesn’t take into account that the crotch is much lower than a regular pair of pants would be.

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      rachel in berkeley
      20 Apr 2020
      3:47pm

      I own a Wildfang jumpsuit (navy, such a great fabric) and offered them similar feedback. Now I stretch the legs out when they come out of the wash.

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        Tara
        20 Apr 2020
        4:09pm

        Ladies–I clicked on a Sundry ad that’s been following me around since Kim mentioned them after her L.A. trip and I took the plunge with their charcoal boilersuit, now on sale for $135! Maybe find Kim’s L.A. post and enter that way for any referral $, but it looks a bit longer and I sized up for slouchiness: https://sundryclothing.com/products/sundry-tiny-heart-boilersuit-charcoal?_pos=1&_sid=292104ebb&_ss=r&variant=32081043652717. Had to share!

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    Katrina
    20 Apr 2020
    12:22pm

    Can anyone please share their experience with Alex Mill? I live outside the US, so haven’t had the chance to see their products in person and am unable to easily return items in case they don’t work out. I’ve been really liking what I see from them but they’re on the pricier side of the spectrum of high street brands. What’s the quality like? Is the price worth it?

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      D
      20 Apr 2020
      1:55pm

      I’m not a big fan of Alex Mill. I’ve not been happy with the fabric quality or cut of most items.

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    Liz
    20 Apr 2020
    12:28pm

    Haha, Kim, I have convinced myself that two inches of grey roots are sexy, because why not?

    I just bought those jeans. Madewell’s classic styles are so consistently perfect, they are one of the few brands I feel I can order jeans from online and trust that they’ll fit well and be flattering. I just received Everlane’s The Summer Jean and can’t believe how unflatteringly baggy they are (though they’re super comfortable to wear arounbd the house). I haven’t had any luck with Everlane’s cuts, other than a basic grey sweatshirt which was fine.

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    Lisa
    20 Apr 2020
    11:37am

    I just read my goaca email and shouted! Thanks. Now to fantasy shop for jeans (trying not to order or spend money, thanks cv…)

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    Elle
    20 Apr 2020
    10:24am

    Love this – especially the stripes. No such thing as too many striped tee shirts!

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    monique
    20 Apr 2020
    10:21am

    Can you explain why Nili Lotan is so expensive? It’s confusing. They have so many items that I want but are not in my budget. I love the Tel Aviv pants too but $325? Really? Why? They certainly have better cuts than most of their competitors but the materials seem to be the same. Google tells me they manufacture in New York — is that the reason? NY isn’t Italy… it ain’t China either but, damn!

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      Caryn
      20 Apr 2020
      7:44pm

      Monique, for what it’s worth, I have been able to get all of my Nili Lotan on The Real Real and through her online sale. I coveted the Paris Jean FOREVER, and got them on The Real Real for less than $100. You just have to be patient and stalk the site daily…

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        monique
        21 Apr 2020
        11:42am

        Thanks, Caryn. I’ll watch for their stuff on Real Real.

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      Mindy
      20 Apr 2020
      10:45am

      I’ve got to chime in here too. I have a few on her button downs that I got on consignment and I have the exact same problem with every single one of them – the button at the bust always finds its way to pop open – and I am not at all a busty GOACA. I swear, just one reach for the upper cabinet and there it goes. While I love the look and cut, I just don’t reach for them any more because of this reason.

      However, I do love Xirena’s button downs and have gotten several on consignment over the years. They have never let me down.

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      Kimbersam
      20 Apr 2020
      10:29am

      Yah. I agree with this. Nili’s only in my budget on massive markdown and percentage off. I own two of her hoodies, one camo zip, and one pullover. The zip hoodie has a really nice weight, good trimmings and garners me many compliments. The pull over doesn’t fit me nicely in the arms. Their fit model must have spaghetti limbs. But the construction is nice and so is the fabric. I suspect it’s a combination of made-in-NYC, cool-factor and fashion-darlingness.

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    Kimbersam
    20 Apr 2020
    10:21am

    Hoodies are sexy. Cringing as I am typing this, but the Kardashians (and Kanye) have convinced me that a hoodie with the right weight, structure, and slouch, with a slinky under piece (or just a bra) supported by the right yoga pant or jogger, can be quite spicy.

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      Mary
      20 Apr 2020
      10:33am

      I’m currently watching the Kardashians with my three daughters, our quarantine bonding time. As of three weeks ago, I could have been standing in line at Starbucks with any of the Kardashians and wouldn’t have known it. Anyway, I’ve been checking out their sweatshirt style, as well as their Levi’s! I actually don’t own a sweatshirt because I haven’t landed on the right one!

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        Mamavalveeta03
        21 Apr 2020
        11:43am

        My girls joke that their dad could run over Kim Kardashian and not have any idea who she is! Kindred spirits. 😉

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    Emily M.
    20 Apr 2020
    10:22am

    I love this style. This is what I have been wearing every day. I like to layer extra jewelry. Jeans and jewelry are my quarantine uniform.

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    c.w.
    20 Apr 2020
    7:56am

    First of all, congrats on that Vulture notice for your podcast! Second: Love the tomboy style. I can attest for the Vince chinos––I own two pair and they are always in heavy rotation––an added plus you can wash them in the washer and hang to dry to virtually no wrinkles (not that wrinkles ever stopped me). Third: Here’s another request…jeans that are a true mid-rise. Are those simply not manufactured anymore? I keep running into jeans that claim to be mid-rise, but aren’t––they are irritatingly high rise. Do I simply need to order up a size? Is this just me? Am I really looking for low-rise? Is this an existential crises? Or pandemic related? Monday mornings are so hard sometimes.

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      Rita
      20 Apr 2020
      1:26pm

      I couldn’t agree more c.w. The low rise jeans of several years ago was apparently a mid rise for me. Perfectly hitting at the belly button. The only jeans I’ve found that aren’t too bad are Madewell’s Slim Boyjean in petite. Though I’ve noticed they’re carrying less of that version and are offering a high rise Slim Boyjean (why? why?). Anyhow, the boyjeans I’ve got are a 30 petite and have a 9.5″ rise and a 26″ inseam. They fit nicely without being clingy anywhere yet not overwhelming to 5′ me.

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      Mary
      20 Apr 2020
      10:29am

      I’m into any sort of denim discussion! Although I have ventured into the high rise world as of late, a true mid rise is very flattering and probably my best fit.

      Have you tried Toteme? They have a mid rise straight. Or R13s? Their “Boy Straight” is a true mid rise, I’d say.

      Goldsign has a style called “Low Slung” or something along those lines. It’s a straight boyfriend fit. I find it more comfortable than the C of H Emersons, personally, as it sucks everything in comfortably.

      Oh, and Khaite jeans often have a midrise style! Gorgeous jeans.

      All of the above-mentioned items are indeed expensive but fairly easy to score on sale.

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        c.w.
        20 Apr 2020
        11:08am

        Thank you, Mary! Putting them all on my list. I did score a pair of Frame Garcon jeans from Nordstrom at 40% off so I’m feeling pretty special.

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      Caryn
      20 Apr 2020
      9:03am

      c.w., the mid-rise struggle is real. I have found two: the Frame Garcon jean and the 6397 Shorty jean. They are spendy, but I scored both on TheRealReal for $50 brand new.

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        Eloise
        20 Apr 2020
        11:05am

        I’m tempted to try the 6397 Shorty BUT THERE IS NO INSEAM INFORMATION. WTF? (Sorry, but that makes me cranky.) Why is that so hard to include??

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          Caryn
          20 Apr 2020
          7:40pm

          Eloise, I just measured mine (size 26) and the inseam is 23″.

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          Mary
          20 Apr 2020
          1:10pm

          I tried the 6397 Shorty and they’re very short! And I’m only 5’5”. I’d guess the inseam is 25 or 26”?

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            Eloise
            20 Apr 2020
            3:11pm

            Thanks, Mary!

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        c.w.
        20 Apr 2020
        9:11am

        Thank you, Caryn. I do have the 6397 (my favorite pr of jeans––full disclosure I have 3 pr so my favorite THREE pr of jeans), but I was looking for something more…baggy…if that makes sense. I’ll definitely look for the Frame Garcon!!!

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    Mamavalveeta03
    21 Apr 2020
    11:26am

    This is pretty much the perfect post for me! I love everything here, in fact, it’s almost like you took a screenshot of my closet. My motto is “There’s no such thing as too many striped tees!” 😊

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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