Inspiration, Photography, Subculture, The Reading List

The Reading List: Tomboy Style

‘Tomboy Style: Beyond the Boundaries of Fashion‘ is the hotly-anticipated new book from Tomboy Style blogger Lizzie Garrett Mettler.  I love the Tomboy Style blog.  If I was an overweight kid (as opposed to a slightly overweight adult), then that blog would be a massive slab of Black Forest Gateau. Anyone who looks at fashion in a non-conformist, pro-feminist or anti-Kardashian-fox-fur-eyelashes-glam way should check it out or add it to their reader.

: Osa Johnson / © Martin and Oja Johnson Safari Museum

However, the book is a slightly different prospect.  It lacks the peripheral features that Garrett Mettler puts online.  The book has no interviews with contemporary tomboys, no outfit ideas or inspiration boards and lacks the essays on the tomboy life that are now slowly creeping into the blog.  This is probably more indicative of the nature of blogging, where even if the subject matter is rigidly defined, they way you explore that subject matter doesn’t have to be.

Instead, we are treated to what first made the blog popular; pictures of tomboys, past and present, arranged by what type of tomboy they are – the Prep, the Adventuress, the Sophisticate, the Rebel, and so on.  They aren’t your average ‘Scout from ‘To Kill a Mockingbird” tomboy types either – they come from all walks of life, proving that women are much more complicated than their perceived feminine traits.

Susan Ford – 1976/ © Gerald R. Ford Presidental Library

This books is high on style, which is great, and somewhat low on substance, which is a shame because what little of Garrett Mettler’s writing we read in the book is highly engaging, entertaining and very intriguing.  The layout and selection of pictures is great – just the right mix of the obscure and the well-known – while interesting little anecdotes accompany many of the photos.

The book suffers a tiny bit from overcomplication and a need to characterize the various tomboys into types.  Alice Dellal is a Girl Next Door?  Really?  Why can’t she just be a tomboy who defies being put into a category?  Part of the point of being a tomboy is the refusal to be stuffed into a rigid feminine box.  It’s just a small niggle, but a relevant one nonetheless.

Ali McGraw – 1971 / © William Claxton – Demont Photo Management

This book is a great resource for those who want to inject a bit more androgyny and fun into their wardrobe, as well as photography and vintage lovers.  If you like this book, you’ll love the blog.  If the blog is any indication of what Lizzie Garrett Mettler can do, then ‘Tomboy 2′ will be a whopper.

Tomboy Style: Beyond the Boundaries of Fashion is published by Rizzoli and is out now.

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3 thoughts on “The Reading List: Tomboy Style

  1. I feel like I could be more of a tomboy if I was as naturally beautiful as these ladies, in a t-shirt. But I like a little text to chew on, alongside my pretty pictures (if its just pictures, and categories, we have tumblr for that)

  2. the idea or concept of a tomboy is something mysterious and complex for me. though a fan of femininity, i am still amazed by this other side of the female gender. i am used to the stereotypical portrayal of tomboys so this book interests me. with regards to the style, i am amazed that it is not all butch and rough. the style is less haute couture maybe but the overall figure of the female is still there which i like.

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