What Women Want – Ana K of Ripped-Knees

February 10, 2010
While the Irish fash-blogosphere is on-the-up, there are few that have established well-written, style-savvy and entirely accessible blogs. Ana K of Ripped-Knees pens pieces on why you should love Lanvin, then, with incredible ease and in a seemingly effortless manner, applies post-modern theory to fashion. Ana’s got brains in abundance, great style and a bit of thing for menswear so…

Images from GQ and The Sartorialist selected by Ana

Describe the look you’d don were you male rather than the fairer sex.

In my own style I’ve always been influenced by women like Annie Hall, Chan Marshall and Katherine Hepburn – any woman who kind of appropriates menswear for themselves and makes it more feminine than masculine. Menswear plays a huge role in my wardrobe, both in terms of getting dressed up and taking it easy (right now I am wearing men’s pajamas from Dunnes Stores).

However, if I were in fact a man, the first thing I can see is scarves and coats, big ones with heavy shoulders. In my own wardrobe proportions and silhouettes play a big role and as a boy it’d be the same – heavy and voluminous on top but with a slim leg. I can also see… navy. I can’t imagine myself in jeans but rather slightly smarter pants. Also plaid shirts, although that might be because I find them so attractive on the opposite sex already. I really like anything collegiate or academic, without being too preppy, so there’d be a healthy dose of that in there too – shirts with sleeves rolled up . Basically think old Dior Homme meets the more recent Marni stuff.

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What do you think are the fundamental differences between menswear and womenswear? Can you imagine any advantages to being male when it comes to dressing oneself?

I honestly think it’s easier for girls, once you start to make an effort. Especially nowadays, girls can look stylish by throwing on a pair of leggings and a casual dress and then something with studs or leather. And there are so many options for girls there on the high street. But guys have to contend with this whole tailoring thing, which baffles me, and I can’t imagine having to deal with the complexities of a minute difference in a cuff or a sleeve. There are definitely advantages, though. I think once guys have dealt with the shopping-for-clothes part, which is the hard part, actually putting together an outfit is kind of easy – white buttoned shirt, nice pair of pants or jeans and a jacket et voila, you automatically look classy and sexy and stylish but not too stylish at the same time.

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Is there a particular menswear designer you’re willing to starting creating womenswear/Do you have a favourite menswear designer?

So many! I loved the Fall 2010 Lanvin collection and Rick Owens is such a genius in general. Same goes for Jil Sander and Marni. With regards to gentlemen-only labels, I’d love to see what would happen if Thom Browne designed more for girls, just out of curiosity more than anything else.

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Do you have a male style icon?

Tom Ford! Don Draper from Mad Men. Chuck Bass from Gossip Girl. I don’t know, I am so not in tune with celeb culture so this is hard. I like what a lot of my male friends wear and what my boyfriend wears, but mostly being around really well-dressed men just makes me want to dress even more feminine.

What do you think men should wear more?

Plain white shirts. I say this all the time, and a lot of guys say they don’t like them because they wore them as part of a school uniform for so long, but I actually don’t care. They make 95% of men look better. I would also say plaid shirts, but I think a lot of boys are so so bad with mixing patterns and prints that it’s best to just stick to plain block colours.

Ana’s menswear-inspired mode…

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The main way I use menswear in my wardrobe is to dress something down – I’ve a fan of both harsh tight black/dark clothes and also the occasional whimsical floral number. Both styles can end up looking way too out-there for daytime, so I often use menswear – think oversized plaid shirts, large plain white polo shirts, mannish combat boots or a heavy-shouldered man’s blazer – to keep a day outfit from looking too nighttime. It also stops me from looking too feminine, like if I had paired this outfit with a little cardi instead of a men’s shirt, I’d end up looking way more girly and frivolous than I usually feel. Here I’m wearing a plaid shirt I got in Urban Outfitter’s (men’s section) for 6 euro with a James Perse tank top, black AA pencil skirt, tights from Topshop, boots from Urban Outfitters again and bag from Balenciaga.

  • fathergivemelegs February 10, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    white shirts……couldn't agree more, the most under-rated garment in a mens wardrobe.wearing a thomas pink wide collar white shirt with french cuff right now!

  • Charleston February 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

    A seriously interesting read always. This remains one of my favoured male styled sites. I particularly like and relate to the idea of thick scarves and layers on top of slim lined trousers/jeans. It seems to be the look I go for without even realising these days!

  • Cillian February 11, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Fathergivemelegs: I know, I commended Ana on that one, too. I wish Topman would do another edition of the White Shirt Project…Charleston: YES. I've seen quite a few boys about Dublin donning this style and it's dynamic. Even with a monochrome palette the silhouette is fantastic./Male-Mode.com