Photography via Instagram/@wsjmag

How Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen Inspired Me to Start Shopping in the Men’s Section

My obsession with Mary Kate and Ashley’s wardrobes goes a long way back. I, like many others, grew up watching Holiday In The Sun, Switching Goals and When In Rome, and have always dreamed of becoming my own version of an Olsen twin. From coveting their matchy-matchy Passport to Paris’ outfits to their all-grown-up cool attitudes in New York Minute – I would constantly beg my parents to let me rent yet another of their VHS movies that I would literally watch on repeat; the always sleek-looking pair offered an escape from my boring suburban reality with their crazy, but always stylish, adventures. Yet almost twenty years later, my Olsen twins shows no signs of winding down.

After retiring from their acting careers to launch their luxury womenswear label The Row, the Olsen twins developed a casual ‘borrowed-from-the-boys’ uniform – consisting of all-black oversized pant suits, tailored blazers, crisp white shirts, and leather loafers. Their street styles snapshots circa 2012 and beyond undoubtedly sparked in me a pure love for the minimalist elegance of menswear.

Unsurprisingly, when I heard about the house’s latest expansion into menswear,  I was (yet again) overcome with the desire to purchase actual menswear pieces.

This is actually nothing new. A few years ago,  my seemingly everlasting quest for an affordable, yet perfectly cut, oversized button-down blue shirt led me into foreign territory: the men’s section of a London Primark. After a slight confusion over sizing – the shirts were neatly folded into cardboard boxes, robbing me of all visual cues – I randomly settled upon a small, hoping it wouldn’t fit too tightly because oversized has always been my aesthetic. Walking away with my new purchase, I felt like I was leading a double life, buying affordable shirts for my (imaginary) English husband. Since that first time in London, my greatest thrifting secret has been rummaging the ‘masculine’ side of thriftstores. Mainly, I’ve been able to snatch some amazing basics for my wardrobe, namely, oversized blazers, coats, shirts and even, at times, pants. I recently found a perfect pair of high-waisted lightly washed jeans for $10 in the menswear section of a vintage boutique that I treasured for a whole day before they got stolen from a laundromat dryer. (Don’t leave your laundry unattended, kids.)

Who knew that still in my twenties, the Olsen’s signature style would keep on informing my outfits and my shopping habits, just like it did when I was 10?

If you can’t afford the new Row menswear pieces – because let’s be real, who can? – here’s a shopping list for some of the masculine staples to look out for the next time you decide to hit up the men’s section.

An oversize white shirt

The crisp white shirt is an indisputable staple in the twins wardrobe, constantly celebrated for its versatility. Whether casually worn oversized tucked into a blue jeans, on a red carpet paired with carefully tailored trousers or to a meeting with a midi skirt, the white button-down deserves a place in every closet, no matter your gender.

A wool-blend loose-fitting overcoat

Originally associated with smart outdoors garments for gentlemen, both Mary-Kate and Ashley constantly rock the wool-blend overcoat. Whilst the Olsen sisters usually choose them in neutral colours such as navy, black and beige (well, basically like the majority of their wardrobes) achieving extremely sophisticated results, they also work perfectly in brighter hues such as pink or red.

#ashleyolsen #2017

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Black tailored trousers

When they’re not donning skinny jeans, the Olsen twins often sport menswear-esque tuxedo trousers. With puffy-sleeved blouses or even just white t-shirts, these perfectly-cut pants work like a charm in all environments…even with flip-flops.

A tailored blazer

Just like white shirts, blazers are also a signature in the pair’s closets…but only the perfectly tailored ones. Blazers work with literally every outfit and are a perfect upgrade to achieve a more business-woman aesthetic.

Mary-Kate and Ashley by François Halard. ❤️

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