Worn Out

Tomboys Making Clothes for Tomboys

  • comments (4)
  • Print
+ Enlarge this Image
Tomboy Exchange
+ Enlarge this Image

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. recommended

Check out TomboyX's stuff at


Comments (4) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Initially I thought this was about Tomboy Tailors, who have WAY more exciting aesthetics to me.
Posted by zalsoa on April 25, 2013 at 2:21 PM · Report this
Womyn2me 2
OMG< have you seen Gentlewoan Clothing pictures on their facebook page?????? HELL yes…

Posted by Womyn2me http://http:\\ on April 25, 2013 at 4:04 PM · Report this
doloresdaphne 3
I'm not their target audience, but this made me very happy.
Posted by doloresdaphne on April 26, 2013 at 5:16 AM · Report this
stirwise 4
Duuuuuude. I stopped wearing button-down shirts ages ago because I hate the ones cut for ladies and mens/boys shirts don't accommodate the twins. Imma have to check this out.
Posted by stirwise on April 26, 2013 at 1:19 PM · Report this

Add a comment

Most Commented in Columns