Raiding the men's rack

Searching for new unique piece for your wardrobe? Perhaps you need look no further than a man’s closet.

Menswear-inspired looks and androgynous dressing are nothing new. But it can lead to big cost savings when you actually scoop the pieces free from your partner, or shop the menswear section at second-hand shops.

Some of the best items to repurpose for yourself are:


There is a reason many denim makers sell “boyfriend” jeans. Well-worn and roomy through the hips, men’s jeans are a perfect combination of comfort and casual.

If they are too long or wide at the bottom, take in the inner seam, cut to capri length and roll up the cuff. Or turn them into jean cut-offs. My favourite denim shorts were pairs that my husband no longer wore.


Basic men’s cotton shirts are cheap as chips. Pick up a Hanes three-pack for as little as $15 and you can create multiple looks with a pair of scissors.

I like to cut the sleeves off on an angle toward the neck to create a loose tank, then cut a slit in the middle of the back’s bottom edge to tie the tee fitted around the waist.


Unlike womenswear, you can find blazers and jackets for men in every possible fabric and pattern imaginable. Simply roll up the sleeves for a super chic boxy look that compliments fitted bottoms. 

One of my favourite things to wear in high school was my father’s captain’s jacket from when he worked in the airlines. I thought the broad shoulders and epaulets went smashing with jeans.

If the jacket is long enough, cinch around the waist with a belt or belt-bag. Speaking of which....


The best belts in our closet are all my husband’s. For some reason, it’s almost impossible to find the kind of thick chunky leather belts that look great with jeans in the women’s section.

Button-up shirts

Remember when Sharon Stone wore her husband’s shirt with a satin skirt to the Oscars in 1998? A classic men’s button-up can look incredibly sexy on a women.

I’ve also found new life from my husband’s discarded dress shirts by sewing two together to make it long enough to wear as a dress.


Loose baggy pants cinched at the waist are all the rage, and you can find these styles in all sorts of materials and patterns in the men’s department.

Pair with a fitted simple tee, and if you’re feeling extra sassy, wear with suspenders as in the picture above.


The suiting section at thrift stores are great places to find classic men’s button-up vests. They add extra flair to a blouse and pants look for work, and look great with casual jeans.

Have fun raiding your husband’s or brother’s or dad’s closet to create fun new styles.


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About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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