Because You Can

Got a soft spot in your heart for androgyny AND the ’60s? I got you covered.

The ’60s weren’t all miniskirts and love beads. A lot of women took advantage of the fact that they were no longer expected to wear dresses AT ALL TIMES and made menswear their own. This is not the baggy, Annie Hall, borrowed-from-the-boys look. This is ladies looking badass and jet-set in immaculately tailored suits, a little mod and so sharp they’ll poke your eyes out.

Image via Born in Flames

If there’s one thing you can say about Brigitte Bardot, it’s that she’s had a lot of good photos taken of her (yeah, they call me the Understater). While her early style tended to be very haute femme, all gigantic sex-kitten hair and flirty smiles (I mean, COME ON), she went through a lesser-known androgynous phase. Sometime around 1967 she dropped the teasing comb and silk pedal pushers and started stepping out in these immaculately tailored double-breasted suits, complete with tie and Beatle boots. The photo of her above is my all-time favorite. It just does not get more glamorous than tousled hair on the tarmac, darlings.

Twiggy offers really good suitspiration, too. Try trolling the boy’s section of thrift stores now for the perfect, shrunken, double-breasted jacket. You’ll definitely need some ridiculous shades too:

I love these shield shades by French maker Swank (!). This striped pair by Trifari is also great:

Other makers of mid-’60s crazy-shades to keep your eyes peeled for: Pierre Cardin, Oleg Cassini, Oliver Goldsmith, and Renauld. Frames with these names are seriously collected by the glasses-freaker set (yes, that really is a thing!), but if you’re dedicated, you can definitely turn up a bargain, like the time I found the perfect pair of tortoiseshell Oliver Goldsmiths at a flea market for five bucks:

Another thing to remember is that you don’t have to wear a full-on suit and tie to achieve this look. You’ll look really amazing in men’s separates, too. Behold, model Naomi Sims, the most beautiful thing to get off a bus since Margot Tenenbaum:

Image via WWD

Keeping it dead simple by wearing only black and white is key. The super-bright colors are great for those kooky kids down on Carnaby Street, but we are sophisticated international women of mystery, like Françoise Hardy, Geraldine Chaplin, and the divine Nico in repose at Warhol’s Factory in 1966:

Clockwise from top left: Françoise Hardy, Geraldine Chaplin, Nico

Details to watch out for when you’re thrifting these pants: a low-slung waist, a permanent crease on the leg, and an ankle-grazing hem. Crisp white men’s shirts are a great addition and not too tight. And, while I’m on the subject of Françoise : dear lord, can this woman wear a hat or what?!

I love the look of a man’s cap on a woman. You can take a cue from Françoise and get a Greek fisherman’s cap, which is very Bob-Dylan-in-his-Woody-Guthrie-phase and John-Lennon-in-his-Bob-Dylan-phase. This hat by Jacobson is classic, and a steal at 20 bones.

More cap-spiration, new and old, from the almost-too-amazing-for-words Nina Rindt and Lou Doillon:

L-R: Nina Rindt via Stiliaus Vagis, Lou Doillon via Tomboy Style

If the West Village folkie look doesn’t cut it for you, another great menswear-y cap is the equestrian-inspired helmet hat designed by André Courrèges and famously worn by Audrey Hepburn for her role as an art thief in How to Steal a Million (for the record, I’m recommending the hat, not the gig stealing precious artifacts). The Courrèges hats are impossible to find, but there are still awesome vintage examples out there, as the lovely Kennedy Holmes here shows. Try searching Etsy for “helmet hat” to find your own. Add the word “mod” if you don’t want to trawl through a million construction hard hats, which actually look kind of cool now that I think about it.

L-R: Audrey Hepburn via The Red List; Kennedy Holmes

I hope you have fun putting together your own look, my soon-to-be-besuited darlings. I leave you with some bonus inspiration to show you that even the Supremes ditched their evening gowns to get in on the menswear fun back in the day. Oh, and I’ve just always thought these babes from the cover of my favorite Booker T. & the MG’s record were really boss:

The Supremes and Hip-Hug Her, both via Magic Mac


  • mayaautumn April 6th, 2012 3:09 PM

    this is nice stuff dudette..the pic of Françoise Hardy wearing that hat is beautiful and – even though it’s completely off topic – i love her cat eye! <3

    • mayaautumn April 6th, 2012 3:26 PM

      woops,didn’t mean ‘off topic’, it just hasn’t been mentioned!

  • Susann April 6th, 2012 3:14 PM

    Great style inspiration – Brigitte Bardot and Audrey Hepburn will always be on the best-dressed in the 60′s list!

  • FashionHauties April 6th, 2012 3:14 PM

    Wait, I love this. Everything is so well themed. I feel like the 2000′s can’t compare.

  • KinuKinu April 6th, 2012 3:21 PM

    This is so perfect…..even though I probably couldn’t do it.THOSE SHADES THOSE SHADES THOSE SHADES.SO PERFECT SO PERFECT.The Oliver Goldsmith ones are my favorite…..why can’t I own them NOW.I probaly would loooook realllllly baaaaadddd if I tried the androgynous look.I’ve got the curviest curves ever given to a 13 year old girl soooooo,I don’t know.I still love it though :D

  • isabellehungryghost April 6th, 2012 3:29 PM

    i love bb. and the 60!

  • erin April 6th, 2012 3:54 PM

    for some reason men’s wear is somewhat… intimidating? But I did find these amazing dress pants at the thrift store for like $8 one time. They’re wool-blend and ridiculously high waisted and fit like a charm and have these fabulous creases and I think they’re Italian made?!
    But I’ve only worn them once, because how does a seventeen year old simply wear business man pants to school?

    • kitafee April 9th, 2012 7:23 PM

      you could wear it with a really soft blouse to even it out?

  • thefondest April 6th, 2012 4:17 PM

    For the sexy and subversive cap-wearer, see Charlotte Rampling in The Night Porter. Rowr.

  • Talker April 6th, 2012 4:43 PM

    It’s funny that you showed a picture of Nico and mentioned Margot Tenenbaum’s bus moment. The song that starts playing when Margot gets off the bus in The Royal Tenenbaums is sung by Nico!

    • saltwater April 6th, 2012 5:12 PM

      theeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeese days

  • MissKnowItAll April 6th, 2012 4:45 PM

    Those glasses are so amazing I can’t even.

  • saltwater April 6th, 2012 5:10 PM

    i LOVE androgyny and the ’60s perfect

  • taste test April 6th, 2012 9:46 PM

    okay, I usually don’t comment on style posts because I am not really a style person, but this is the BEST look. seriously. I love crazy sunglasses and I never thought of combining them with suits. I firmly believe everyone looks good in a suit. and besides, looking androgynous is fun because you get to mess with people’s assumptions.

  • Adrienne April 6th, 2012 10:47 PM

    Love this so much! I love menswear on women. :))) And I really really want a cap, any of those sunglasses, and that coat Twiggy is wearing!

  • TheAwesomePossum April 6th, 2012 11:52 PM

    Ok, after watching that link to The Royal Tenenbaums I officially want to master the art of stepping off of a bus so that I may dazzle people each and every morning.

  • junebug April 7th, 2012 1:28 AM

    Oh my god, the fact that Rookie did this proves you guys are psychic, haha. I have been OBSESSED with ’60s androgyny lately… Some good further inspiration is definitely Winona Ryder in Girl, Interrupted…I was watching that the other day and wanting to climb through the screen and steal her clothes/haircut

  • caitlinand April 7th, 2012 4:06 AM

    I love androgyny but have been too..intimidated to attempt it, but this article (god i actually love this site way too much) and many others mix information, insight and humour just perfectly. KEEP IT UP

  • Dayzee April 7th, 2012 4:14 AM

    i now need a suit. and a cap. and sunglasses. great suitspiration! in love with the cap nina rindt is wearing, looks so great on her.

  • unefillecommetoi April 7th, 2012 4:36 AM

    i just cut my bangs myself inspired by the brigitte bardot sex kitten style photo on one of the links. like. 10 seconds ago. lol impulsive, maybe?

    • Pashupati April 7th, 2012 12:14 PM

      I cut myself impulsive bangs just yesterday :) (apparently I failed at cutting these right? still looks good, it goes well with my crooked teeth :))
      Welcome to the club!

      • unefillecommetoi April 7th, 2012 6:54 PM

        hahah i bet it look great.. i’m actually surprised about how well my bangs actually came out

  • VanyaTheDinosaur April 7th, 2012 10:29 AM

    Do you guys read my mind or something? I just got my hair cut super-short on Monday, and I had been wanting to try androgyny in combination with my nerd glasses because THAT IS AWESOME.

  • Lulli April 10th, 2012 3:56 AM

    I love this! So well put-together-y.
    You know what I mean!

  • jayelle604 April 10th, 2012 8:58 PM


    this style, and article, and the era of which it speaks are fantastic!!

  • little lavandula July 11th, 2012 3:21 AM

    If there’s one thing you can say about Brigitte Bardot, it’s that she is a miserably blatant racist and doesn’t deserve to be idolized by anyone, no less young women.