Beyond menswear, how to dress like a dapper woman or person

Menswear, womenswear, we are so over that concept as you know! The term dapper has been primarily applied to menswear aesthetics but in the last few decades this is changing and we know many of our customers have this look down regardless of their gender. Here are some tips on how to look dapper and some fantastic accompanying pics of stylish dapper folk.

Where did the word dapper come from? Originally, it was a Middle Low German or Middle Dutch word meaning ‘strong, stout or bold.’ Though it later evolved to mean elegant, attractive and well-dressed…with particular emphasis on the last word.

Being a dapper woman or dapper person isn’t just about women and nonbinary folk wearing menswear. It’s about style, finesse and a general air of confidence and awesomeness.

Here are a few ways you can create your own dapper outfit:



Curvy dapper woman


Credit: Grownandcurvywoman

Cut and colour

The beauty of suits is that you can get them in any colour, any pattern and any cut. In the pic above we can see a bright red two-piece suit paired with a casual checked shirt and a suave blue tie. High-waisted suit trousers are a gorgeous way to embrace your curves.

butch in suit

Credit: Madam Secretary CBS

However, if you prefer a more masculine look then take notes from actor Sara Ramirez. They opt for darker colours and a more traditional cut to achieve a flawless and robust look. 

dapper women from the 40's

Go vintage

If you’re feeling adventurous, then nothing screams “dapper” than going back in time. Bow ties can go with tweed and twill for the 1940s professor look, whereas a black bow tie compliments a Victorian-style drag king tux à la Vesta Tilley!

If you’re not a bow tie sort of person, then maybe the wide-legged trousers of the 1940s are more your bag:

dapper woman in bow tie

Credit: Dapper Women Blog

dapper woman in waistcoat

Credit: Thomas & Thomas London

Going vintage as a dapper woman doesn’t necessarily mean you need to avoid casual clothes. As we can see in the photo above, this look combines the rustic old country style with a cool, modern vibe. Blues and browns tend to work well with this look - and it looks fab with or without a tie!


vintage dapper women

Pinstripe suits will always be one of the most popular ways to get that vintage dapper woman's appearance. We can see the women above mean business, with that square-shouldered, confident aura.

Hats off to you

Pork pie hats, boaters, flat caps, top hats - you can’t really beat a good hat with a smart outfit. It makes a dapper outfit stand out from the rest.


dapper woman in pork pie hat

 Credit: Bellisimo Hats

woman wearing top hat

Marlene Dietrich

flat cap on dapper woman

Credit; Tessolina

All the ties

Wearing a tie isn’t a must when it comes to being a dapper woman but it is an amazing way to pull together an outfit.

Some of the types of ties for dapper women might include:

Traditional: Think 80s yuppie or 90s office worker! An excellent tie to go with double-breasted suits or an overcoat.

Kipper: Popular in the 70s and still one of the widest ties available - great for the retro aesthetic.

Skinny: Made popular by mods in the 60s and again by indie bands in the 00s, this die-hard tie style usually has a width of 1.5 - 2 inches at its widest part.

New standard: A couple of inches shorter in width than a traditional tie. A staple choice for today’s office workers.

Bolo: A string tie held together with a decorative wooden, metal or plastic brooch. A brilliant way to personalise your outfit.

woman wearing bolo tie
Jessica Roffey photographed by Daniel Kincaid


traditional tie on a woman

Credit: DapperQ

Bow ties are an entirely different story - they’re a category unto themselves! The story of the bow tie is pretty interesting - check it out here.


bow ties for queers

Credit: Scott R Kline for Kipper Clothiers

Collars, cuffs and lapels

The little things can often make or break a dapper outfit. This means paying attention to details such as collars, cuffs and lapels. It all depends on what style you’re going for: are you a fan of the streamlined button-down collar or perhaps you prefer collar wings for a super smart look?

Lapels can really shape the rest of your outfit. Shawl lapels, although round, can be a good choice for the sharp contemporary look paired with skinny trousers and Oxford shoes. The notch lapel is a great all-rounder - specifically for those of you on the hunt for a classic look.

Take a look at the guide below for some dapper inspiration:


different types of collar


To start your dapper wardrobe, take a look at our collection of gender-free clothing.


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