A MAN’S GUIDE TO A WOMAN’S WARDROBE

For many men, fashion is a foreign country. Luke Leitch, who has gone native, provides a map …

Luke Leitch

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In September 2009 I was working on the features desk of the Times in London when I was told that I was needed to cover for a member of the fashion team who had gone on maternity leave. Under-dressed and overwhelmed, I set off to report on a round of womenswear shows. From New York to Paris via London and Milan, I sat shabbily hunched among the straight-backed, soignée ranks of the world’s fashion professionals, staring dumbly at the catwalks like some novelty savage on his first day in court.

I have now spent two years embedded deep in female territory: in fashion, with a capital F. And I have started to get the hang of it. What has become clear is that fashion is to many women what sport is to many men: a pastime, a passion, a shared language, a form of self-definition, and a temporary escape from the opposite sex, all rolled into one deeply satisfying whole.

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