DesignerKunal Rawal is endlessly optimistic about the endless possibilities of fashion once you remove the constraints of gender from it. “I think it’s absolutely beautiful. Fashion, at the end of the day, is about a feeling. It’s very instinctive and it’s about wearing something because it makes you feel a certain way. The way I see fashion is that it’s for you, so it’s for you to have fun with also,” he says, on boundaries becoming soluble when it comes to gender and fashion, “That’s how fashion is always meant to be.”
Rawal credits the gender neutrality movement for the increasing popularity of the ‘Boyfriend’ fit trend around the world. “Men, in this country, have not had as much fun with it as the girls have, but it’s changing slowly. It’s so great that we don’t have to restrict ourselves and we can choose from both womenswear and menswear. I love the thought that you’re not restricted to certain sections of a store anymore. You have the choice and power to go and choose anything you like from anywhere. This has opened up a lot of new silhouettes for everyone.”
The best part about it, according to the menswear designer, is that you can do anything you want with it, “This is the fun part of where fashion is today. It’s all very instinctive and it ultimately depends on what you like and not on how things are supposed to be. A lot of people don’t take those risks, but it’s important to break these boundaries if that’s what makes you happy,” he says.
But good vibes aside, Rawal does highlight an important thing that you should always consider while snooping around in your boyfriend’s closet, “You cannot overlook fit,” he says, “You should stay away from stuff that doesn’t fit you the right way. It should be flattering on your body type. So it’s important that you pick an outfit that works for you and then style it accordingly.”
The key to getting that down to an art is to understand proportion. According to Rawal, the correct kind of proportion play can make your fit look chic instead of sloppy and unflattering.
“When you’re wearing something from the menswear section, you don’t want to be floating in the clothes. It shouldn’t look sloppy. For example, if you’re wearing an oversized men’s shirt, you can tie it at the waist to make it look more interesting and flattering. Or maybe you can tuck it in, so that you can control the proportions. When you’re playing with oversized shoulders, then tucking it in would create an interesting shape and look so much better than just leaving it as it is. My suggestion would be to pick a well-fitted piece of garment to go along with the menswear item you’ve picked so that it looks like you’re playing with proportions rather than it all looking like a badly fitting outfit.”
Rawal once again insists on how much fun you can have with swapping wardrobes as long as you understand what feels good for you. He gives the example of how he styled Sonam Kapoor in a men’s bandhgala from his collection.
“Structured pieces from men’s wardrobes can work so well for women if styled properly,” he says on Kapoor’s look, “You can take a structured bandhgala or a bandi, and style it with a cropped top inside and pair it with a crushed or flared mul skirt, keeping Summer in mind, and you have a look. What I personally love to do is take strong pieces from menswear, could be structured or not, and style it with a feminine, softer piece, so you create a nice balance.”
Ultimately, it’s all about your instincts, says Rawal. “ This is the fun part of where fashion is today. It’s all very instinctive and it ultimately depends on what you like and not on how things are supposed to be. A lot of people don’t take those risks, but it’s important to break these boundaries if that’s what makes you happy.”
To sum up Rawal’s quick lesson about stealing from your boyfriend’s closet, make sure you balance the proportions right and have a lot of fun exploring what works and what doesn’t. Go experiment!