When William Fan designs a collection, he thinks in terms of material and silhouettes. Of a combination of fine materials such as silk and wool and of the cuts of functional workwear. What he does not think about are men and women. Because Fan’s style knows no gender—he designs classic shirts, casual trousers, jackets and coats. The single concession he makes: all his clothing comes in the sizes XS to XL, because people’s bodies after all have different heights and widths.
“Excuse me, sir? I found a couple pairs in the size you were looking for,” the saleswoman at a well-known shoe warehouse told me recently. “They’re pumps, not ankle boots, though.” She held out a pair of glossy teal heels with a sharp toe, having scoured the shelves and storeroom for any shoe that might fit me, period. When I tried them on, I felt like a caricature of a high-powered businesswoman—they fit my narrow feet, but they were a far cry from the taupe-colored low-heeled ankle boots l was looking for.
“Sir,” though, fit even less comfortably than the pumps. What was it about my eye makeup, leggings, and thigh-length sweater that said I wanted to be called “Sir”?