Tomboys Making Clothes for Tomboys
Brought to us by Naomi Gonzalez and Fran Dunaway, Tomboy Exchange's impressive collection of separates targets a very specific type of woman—she prefers "tube socks over leotards," their website says—and draws style influences from George Sand and Amelia Earhart, what with their practical glamour and trousers pulled high. Also seeping in: Diane Keaton's elegantly disheveled character Annie Hall, from the 1977 Woody Allen film, and her piling together of menswear items: the knotted ties, bulky jackets, starched shirts, suit vests, pinstripes, and drooping pocket squares. (This was either Diane Keaton's idea, or Ralph Lauren's, or costume designer Ruth Morley's, I can't tell, but the look swiftly pervaded the era's magazine spreads and generally turned the fashion world upside the fuck down.)
TomboyX's capsule line contains plush cotton sports blazers and high-end polo shirts in check prints or earth-tone solids; an additional selection of caps, T-shirts, cargo pants, and golf skorts is coming soon. For their fit model, Naomi and Fran deliberately chose a middle-aged woman who wears size 12, which is a refreshing change. Large-scale, corporate shit shows often rely on fantasy bodies to fulfill this utilitarian role, even though those fantasies have nothing to do with who we really are or what we really need. "We're not 20 years old, we're not a size 0, and nor do we want to be," says Fran. "We're tomboys making clothes for tomboys."
The showpiece is the button-up shirt, designed to replicate the understated classic menswear garment, which always looked perfect to Fran, except for the boxiness and excessive length. Womenswear versions fit better, of course, but she was alarmed by their typical and bizarre pairings of "frills and rhinestones and leopard prints." So TomboyX's team created their own model, but there were no easy shortcuts, believe me. It took nine prototypes to get it right, mostly because breasts bring such challenging obstacles in the realm of patternmaking. But the clever use of bias-cut side panels and hidden closures avert their unhappy consequences, such as gapes along the front placket, unbuttoning buttons, or even worse, the sudden tumbling-out of boobs—which sounds like an impossible nightmare, but it actually happened to me years ago, as I walked across the empty parking spots of a gas station in North Dakota in the dead of winter.
Check out TomboyX's stuff at tomboyexchange.com.