Last night was one of the great halls of residence balls at Kinkell Byre, the DRA Ball. This year the theme was black and white, and though I have loads of black dresses, none of them seemed special or wow enough. Instead, I premiered this look that I’ve been dying to try for a while now – my own take on the famous Yves Saint Laurent “Le Smoking”. This tuxedo for women created in 1966 was the first of this kind of outfit to earn the fashion world’s attention. The look created by YSL channelled minimalism and androgyny, pioneering both styles in fashion and pop culture. Yves Saint Laurent had made power dressing that inspired and empowered women. Until then the suit was restricted to men, but suddenly women were now given the option to wear such clothes associated with power and influence.
The influence of Le Smoking is still felt today and is still seen on the catwalk and red carpet. Jason Wu’s A/W 11 collection at NYFW presented a modern take on the look – instead of the wide leg trousers, he paired cigarette pants with strong shouldered, slightly oversized tuxedo jackets. There was a contrast with feminine touches: bows decorated the shirt collars, a girlier take on the bow tie, and lace detailing on jackets softened the look.
The androgynous vibe of the female tuxedo is inexplicably chic and alluring. There’s something powerful about wearing a tuxedo that makes you exude confidence – and it’s one of those looks where you need it in order to pull it off.
To keep my outfit the right side of androgynous, I maintained some essential feminine details. Firstly; the shirt is made of a light, sheer silky material. I love the lace panel on the yoke and it gave the look a nod to Jason Wu. Heels are an absolute must for this look, they make you stand up straight like a lady and lengthen the leg. I chose some fierce black heels with studs to channel the powerful vibe.
To make the look right for now I wore tapered trousers, and balanced this with big shoulders – literally borrowing from my boyfriend’s wardrobe! Just the right amount of oversized. I wanted to keep the look as minimal as possible, but also added femininity with my beige-pink leather clutch bag and a peach coloured semi-precious statement stone ring. I wanted to make my hair as big and curly as possible too to balance the look and well, still look like a girl.
I did get a few funny looks, but these were far outweighed by compliments. It was nice not to worry about bumping into someone with the same dress and I felt the look was really ‘me’.
What do you guys think? Le Smoking, yay or nay?
Shirt- New Look
Trousers – Topshop
Jacket – Al’s, Emporio Armani
Bowtie- Al’s, Thomas Pink
I also included a few other pics from the ball to give you a flavour of the other kinds of outfits everyone wore. What a great night!