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‘Tomboy Style’ in fashion history

“Tomboy Style” shows the words can exist side by side.Sebastian Kim

Growing up, Lizzie Garrett Mettler was the textbook definition of a tomboy. She avoided frilly dresses and joined her local Little League team. She eventually got past her fear of frocks, but she retained her love of tomboy style (yes, those two words can exist side by side). As an adult, however, she noticed a lack of appreciation for the glamorous women who dabbled in menswear over the years, leading her to start her blog Tomboy Style (www.tomboystyle.blogspot
.com). She recently published a book on the subject, also called “Tomboy Style,” that she’ll be signing Saturday at Rugby on Newbury Street. We asked Mettler to give us a history of her tomboy idols.

Q. When you tell people you’ve written this book, what’s the reaction?

A. That’s a great question because some people get it instantly. Maybe they have a connection because they were a tomboy, or their daughter was. Sometimes they scratch their head a little bit. But once you see it and you visualize it, I think people get it instantly.

Q. Walk me through a bit of history. Obviously Chanel used jersey fabric and started this. What do you see as the timeline of tomboy style?

A. You could start way back with Joan of Arc. There really isn’t a definite starting point, but I think Coco Chanel is a good place to start. Then you have women like Marlene Dietrich, and you have of course Katharine Hepburn, who looked really tall in pants and really didn’t give a damn if people thought it was odd. I consider the book a love letter to the generations of women that came before me. Previous generations didn’t have the luxury of not thinking about it. I can wear pants to work and not think about it whatsoever.


Christopher Muther can be reached at muther@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Chris_Muther.