Let's Hear it for La Garçonne!

It’s hard to imagine a time when women’s apparel wasn’t inspired in some way by menswear, but it really wasn't until Coco Chanel came along that women embraced the comfort, practicality, and styles of that were once the domain of men only.

Girling it up with La Garçonne

If last week was about embracing my masculine side with the 1920s “tomboy” trend known as La Garçonne, this week is about going girlie on the guy look.

The Versatility of Coco Chanel's Little Black Dress

It’s hard to argue with the fact that Coco Chanel was a fashion genius. She single-handedly changed how women dress in the modern Western world. We went from wearing nearly 20 pounds of corsetry and underwear to freeform drop waists and wool jersey almost overnight, all thanks to Chanel.

We can also thank her for gifting us with the idea of the Little Black Dress, that versatile staple found in nearly every woman’s wardrobe.

In honor of Chanel’s brilliance, I created my own version of her original Little Black Dress using two Eileen Fisher separates–a long-sleeve silk tee and a skirt in pleated jersey with pockets and an elastic waistband. My goal was to test the versatility of the LBD, to see if I could change the look of it just by changing a couple of accessories.

Going Casual in a Chanel-inspired little black dress

Coco Chanel was one of the first designers to bring sportswear into everyday wear. She saw the necessity (and luxury) in comfort. In my last post, I demonstrated how a simple change in cardigan and belt created different looks for a Chanel-inspired Little Black Dress. My focus for that post was on slightly dressier occasions, like work or date night. The next logical step, for my life at least, was to test whether this same LBD was versatile enough to handle my most casual outings. I wanted to know if a Superman-like quick-change was possible — to go from work clothes to play clothes without having to completely start from scratch.

Casual Styles Inspired by Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel brought sportswear into the mainstream. She ditched the corset and embraced La Garçonnne (tomboy), a fad based on a popular novel by Victor Margueritte. This look was about short hair and loose, unstructured clothes, like those worn on the tennis court.

Inspired by Mme Chanel, I have put together several casual looks I can wear right now during this transitional season from winter to spring. I’ll share all of them over the course of several posts. The goal for each outfit will be that it can fit a variety of occasions — out to lunch with friends or out on the sidewalk with the dog — with very little change needed between the two extremes. Comfort will be key, but there will need to be a balance of form and function, especially in shoes. And I promise, no yoga pants allowed!