I’ve been dating my boyfriend for many years now, but it wasn’t until we moved in together that I realized how easy his mornings are. On an ordinary day, we will go to the gym, return to our apartment by 7:30 a.m., and he is showered and out the door until 8:00 a.m. (Meanwhile, I am still detangling my hair and seldom meet my self-imposed deadline of being on the train by 8:30 a.m.) A lot of his pace comes down to the fact he doesn’t wear makeup, sure, but it’s largely his costume outfit. For his eponymous”business casual” workplace, he puts on dark jeans or skinny trousers, a continuous rotation of”nice” shoes, and a button-down shirt. That’s it! He looks good, also.
None of those items are especially complex, but it’s that perfect shirt which requires the smallest amount of brainpower: It is the common denominator in many men’s wardrobes, the item that says everything and nothing. It’s polished, yet laid-back; sleek, but not stern. It has never directed my boyfriend, or perhaps any living man, to question whether his outfit is”appropriate” to get after-work drinks. A fantastic button-down functions for every potential situation (except perhaps a concert in Bushwick, in which it looks embarrassingly formal).
Alison Bergen, a veteran merchandiser whose resume includes Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, and Diane Von Furstenberg, made exactly the same observation about her partner’s wardrobe. She acquired a couple of women’s tops, but none of them appeared to nail the foolproof, no-brainer formula as her husband. “I would just stare at his closet and notice how orderly it had been, with the rep of the perfect shirt in white and blue, and how good he looks every day walking out of the door after two minutes of homework,” she states. “I have spent so much time working in the fashion industry and undergoing the headache of getting dressed every day, and recently I have been needing a cleaner, simpler look. All I need to wear is a top –it’s what makes me feel my best. But it’s quite hard to discover a great-fitting women’s shirt if you aren’t keen to invest $700.” They discussed their climbing tastes, the over-casualization of fashion in the late 2010s, and also their shared feeling that a vast majority of women’s shirting isn’t made with the identical care and attention as men. “When you find a girl in a really great shirt, she generally got it out of a menswear store,” Joffe says. Consequently, they’re leveling the playing area with Même Chose, a new direct-to-consumer label centered solely on women’s tops, beginning at $125.
Just don’t call it”borrowed by the boys.” The duo made their tops with an eye on the myriad ways girls style themwith the sleeves pushed up, the cuffs rolledthe buttons undone, et cetera. They thought about the way the shirts would work with jeans, high-tech pants, skirts, as well as leggings–not only”work pants.” And, of course, they made them specifically for women’s minds. As a traditionally”menswear” category, shirting can be translated to girls by simply shrinking a men’s routine; that explains why your button-down might feel too boxy, too crisp, or overly long.
Bergen and Joffe added side slits for their shirts to avoid bunching in the hips, for example, and high-low cuts for women who would rather only tuck the front of the shirts. “Shirting has a lot of rather strict rules, which Jessica can teach a whole course around,” Bergen jokes. “There are a lot of those conventions about the amount of buttons you need to wear a placket, the positioning of the buttons, why women’s shirts button right-to-left…. Our solution was to break these rules.” To wit: A common complaint among their friends and colleagues was that a shirt’s buttons frequently gape at the bust.
“We invested in a longer, more rigorous, technical matching process, thus we match every shirt on five or four different bodies,” Bergen adds. That led to a larger array of sizes, too: Each shirt is available in six sizes that interpret to 0 through 22. “It is untenable to keep in that way. Our goal in the long run is [for the fashion business ] to take size from the equation entirely, which will be an ambitious goal. It will have a long time for the industry to adapt to that, but the strides we have seen in the past couple of years have been really remarkable. You need to start somewhere, so this is where we are beginning.” The sheer variety in Même Chose’s first capsule can also be inherently feminine: There is a tuxedo shirt, a cummerbund tunic, a collarless bodysuit, a flannel Western top , a trench-inspired wrap shirt, and a shirt with elongated cuffs, named following Vogue’s very own Tonne Goodman. Quite simply: They are anything but”basic.” Bergen and Joffe are not attempting to pare back your wardrobe; they are fashion lovers designing for girls like them. “A top is the best wardrobe option since it allows you to scour The RealReal or The Outnet for those wild and mad gems, and you understand precisely how to use them,” Bergen points out. “It takes the mystery out of finishing looks”.