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Boyfriend cut refers to women’s clothing that are cut loose in the style of menswear. The look achieved when wearing a boyfriend cut sweater or jeans is as though you borrowed an item of clothing from your boyfriend’s closet. The roomier garments that your boyfriend might wear are often quite comfortable, resulting in the deliberate raiding of closets of boyfriends, brothers, husbands and dads. Since the look is popular, some women’s clothing is now boyfriend style, which must come as some relief to the many men out there whose clothes are regularly pillaged by fashion or comfort conscious females.
For centuries, gentleman have been taught to offer their own sweater or jacket to females who might feel chilled by nighttime excursions. This no doubt led to the discovery by many women that a nice roomy jacket or sweater can be a wonderfully comfortable thing. In the past century, women may have been a little reluctant to return a politely offered sweater. Wearing a boyfriend’s sweater, particularly a letter sweater was often a mark that two people were dating. So the idea of men’s clothing on women as particularly related to boyfriends, results in the term boyfriend cut.
Yet the boyfriend cut and menswear designed patterns for women were distinctly out of fashion for a time. Women’s suits in the early 1980s were frequently imitative of men’s suits. The boxy cut, shoulder pad filled jacket worn by female professionals in the 1980s was often called the “linebacker” style, because it did nothing to flatter a woman's shape. Gradually, by the late 1980s, trends in women’s professional wear shifted toward clothing that fit the female form and was tailored to accentuate curves.
Another trend in the 1980s were the very recognizable leggings, often worn with a big shirt. Naturally the cheapest and easiest way to find a big shirt was to take one from dad, brother or a boyfriend. There were also certainly boyfriend cut big shirts specifically manufactured for women. Yet it was often fun and easier to wear one from a male acquaintance.
Both boxy suit jackets and the big shirt and women’s legging styles began to decline in popularity. This didn’t mean women were any less inclined to steal the occasional item of clothing. For most daily wear, though, more fitted clothing was preferred.
In the 2000s, leggings have been reintroduced, and also low-waist jeans, more often seen in men’s clothing for the last few decades, are now often called boyfriend cut jeans. Big shirts are becoming popular again, with boyfriend cut sweaters or big shirts marketed specifically as boyfriend cut clothing. No doubt fashion trends will change in the future, but women will always have a use for large cut clothing, meaning, if they can’t find it in stores, men should guard their wardrobes with care.