Inspiration: treasures in the men's section

Many fashionistas advocate keeping a very open mind when shopping, including looking around children's or men's departments - so what I am about to say is by no means my discovery. However, I have recently had some very good experience with Uniqlo's men's section and could not hold myself back from sharing this with you.

The tip came from DoesMyBumLook40InThis blogger Kat, who is a big fan of Uniqlo's male merino jumpers [the women's ones are apparently nowhere near as good]. I read this at the same time as I was looking for oversize cashmere jumpers, put two and two together and tried the men's version of their cashmere - bingo. They are exactly the same as the women's in terms of quality but are less fitted, cut with wider shoulders in mind and of course are larger. Exactly what I was after.

From there, I graduated to their V-neck merino cardigans; they do come in a women's version too but there weren't any in the shop I went to so I had no choice but to try the men's style - and they are great. The exact, simple, laidback cool style I wanted, long enough [longer than the women's, I suspect, looking at the photos online] but not too long, with character but not too 'granddad'. Brilliantly, they don't have pockets which for some reason most women's 'boyfriend' style cardigans come with, ruining the fit [big pockets around thigh level are just unflattering - they both shorten legs and widen the hip area]. And they also do not have that enforced geeky look that women's 'boyfriend' styles often end up having: they are real boyfriend, infinitely better.

The fabrics are simple but lovely [both are soft, and the merino also has a good substantial 'hold' at the same time - no feminine flimsiness here], the quality shows.

The sizing is to be experimented with, depending on what you are after. What I can say is that Uniqlo's sizing is relatively small to start with, and these items are not meant to be oversize originally, so I have been going for my normal [women's] size or even a little larger: I am usually a XS-S at Uniqlo, and got the cardi in a male S and the jumper in a male M. However, if you do prefer smaller sizing, rejoice - men's sizes start from XXS! [Maybe Uniqlo are fully aware that women are buying them too?!]

It is also worth noting that the men's colour options tend to be slightly different from the women's, often for the better. That sumptuous azure blue cashmere jumper above has a much paler, less interesting counterpart for women; another reason not to forget to look at the men's section.

The only setback is that for some reason [more fabric? gender pay gap?] the men's styles are a little pricier than the women's; but hey, that's what the sales are for.

So thanks for the tip, Kat! I am looking forward to more such discoveries in the future.