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Move over, Harvey Wallbanger

Women raise the bar with menswear-inspired style

Legend says a woman mixed the world’s very first cocktail—bawdy innkeeper Betty Flanagan, back in the early 1800s—but men have historically dominated the world behind bars. Even as late as 1971, it was illegal for a woman to pour whiskey in California.

While the notion of bartending as a cloister for men is hopelessly out of style, menswear-inspired clothing is always right on trend. Cinema has long loved the look, from Katherine Hepburn to Diane Keaton to Chloë Sevigny. Designer Ralph Lauren perennially incorporates menswear details into his women’s collections. For spring 2014, designers again put the spotlight on menswear with fresh twists on the humble cotton shirt at Alexander Wang, Altuzarra, and Hermès.

No wonder the borrowed-from-the-boys aesthetic is playing for keeps. It’s easy to pull off using timeless pieces you should already have in your closet. Roll up the cuffs on a pair of boyfriend jeans, scrunch up the sleeves on a fitted blazer, and slip on a pair of patent brogues for a relaxed—yet polished—meeting look. For a dressy event, nothing is sexier or more luxe than an androgynous white or black tuxedo, sans shirt. (Buy a vintage tux and have it professionally tailored.) Whatever the occasion, keep accessories simple—a gold signet ring, an antique pocket watch, or a vintage tie worn as a belt. Mix it up and have fun.

Betty wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Above: Emily says the best way to get a busy bartender’s attention is not to get their attention: “We see you, I promise,” she says. Tailored military stripe trousers and snakeskin print blouse from Dado Boutique. Vintage vest, driver cap and silver cap-toe oxfords complete the outfit. 

A creative director, writer, blogger and occasional stylist, Kate Sonnick is looking forward to wine o’clock. Follow her on Pinterest,Twitter, and at

Shot on location at Restaurant Good Luck, 50 Anderson Ave., by Lisa Hughes; hair, Jason Wieland; makeup, Kieley Burnham. Behind-the-scenes video by Pete Wayner.

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