The style is a rebellion against trying too hard—the usual effort, the more blatant forms of man-pleasing. Tomboyism involves not courting male attention in the obvious ways, but, rather, assuming it, knowing it’s there and doing whatever you want: It telegraphs independence, seriousness and freedom. It projects the idea or illusion that you are dressing for yourself.

There is also the idea in tomboyism that you have chosen comfort over flirtation, ease over fussiness, a button-down shirt you’ve grabbed off the floor over a skirt you can’t sit on the grass in. One always knows with a tomboy: She is wearing shoes she can run away in.

Girls Will Be Boys, WSJ, 23 Aug. 2012

Photography by Julia Hetta

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