Boyette Fashion in England

My friend from London is visiting, hence my absence from this blog, and told me about a trend I feel obligated to share with you all.

In England, as well as parts of Paris, there is a movement with upper class women as well as authors and other artists, of cross-dressing as men.  Let me explain a bit: women are furthering the American fashion style of dressing in a manlier style.  As women here flatten their breasts and wear Chanel suits, women over there take it the next step.  It is a statement about sexual freedom and ambiguity, she tells me, because in modern London this is popular.

People from Renee Vivien to Radclyffe Hall and Djuna Barnes, from Vita Sackville-West to Willa Cather and Gertrude Stein are dressing this way.  Artists Romaine Brooke and Gluck are dressing this way as well as painting others in this style.  Virginia Woolf once said “we are what we wear, and therefore, since we can wear anything, we can be anyone.”  I mean, that makes sense, right? Why not try out a new empowering outfit every once in a while.

She says the new hairstyle is the shingle, created by the famous hair dresser Antek Cierplikowski or “Monsieur Antoine” at the Antoine de Paris salon.  It’s even shorter than most bobs and has a soft wave.  The back hair is even cut and tapered like that of a man.  The most fashionable cut is short with the hair tapering off to the nape of the neck, some women have the extreme Eton crop, where their hair exceptionally closely-cropped and dressed like that of a man.

Women are also now wearing jackets, trousers, and bowties to make them look even more manly.  This style is called the boyette and the Daily Mail reported that coats are cut extremely similarly for men and women and women often wear a tie to resemble a man. Also they say, “soft grey felt hats, worn by man and woman alike, increase the similarity of costume, and the woman’s shingle or Eton crop” allows women to look as much like as boy as possible. My friend insists that this clothing and smoking ciggys and drinking with men makes women feel emancipated and gain agency.

These codes such as smoking, short hair, and hands in pockets denoted a particular fashion rather than sexual identity, says my friend.  A few decades ago the same fashion tastes signified lesbian-ism. Today, having a monocle (in addition to the short hair, cigarettes, and clothing) is considered a sign that you are lesbian.

Notice the earrings in this portrait of Radclyffe Hall

Grown women are trying their hardest to look like young boys, but keep small emblems of femininity like earrings or rouged lips and penciled eyebrows.

I just had to share this news with you all! Thank you all for reading and keeping up to date with trends with me. Until next time.








Photo Sources:

Information Source:

Doan, Laura. “Passing Fashions: Reading Female Masculinities in the 1920s.” Feminist Studies 24.3 (1998): 663-700. JSTOR. Web. 5 Dec. 2016.

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