Singer Harry Styles left us in awe with his look in a ball gown paired with a black tuxedo jacket for his Vogue cover in 2020. People went berserk. There were two sections of people! One applauding the actor for the act, and some trolling him brutally for breaking the gender ‘dress-code’. Well, that was not the first time we have witnessed androgynous fashion.
However, the concept of Androgynous Fashion started in the 17th century! At that time, androgynous fashion began to gain popularity little by little. The women activists did play a prime role in this. For instance, Luisa Capetillo was the first woman who wore a men’s suit and ties for the first time in public. So, yes, the continuous effort of breaking gender stereotypes in fashion has been here for ages.
Moreover, the team androgynous refers to a form of gender that combines both masculinity and feminity. It is like Yin and Yang resting in the same person. The individual has both masculine and feminine characteristics. Similarly, androgynous fashion means clothing and accessories that do not create a distinction between males and females. It is neutral clothing that is not associated with any gender. If a man wishes to rock in a gown or a female chooses a suit, it is their choice. It is time that we normalize this.
Normalizing Androgynous Fashion
To not wear something because it is female clothing, you shut a whole world of great clothes- says Harry Style while replying to many trolls. After the Vogue photoshoot, the celebrity faced many trolls and criticism because of his “not so manly” look.
When someone such as Harry Styles or Lucky Blue Smith wears a gown, it is a step ahead in generalizing genderless fashion. But the divided reactions, and tolling is proof that we still have miles to go before regular people can do this in their everyday life without any judgement coming their way.
The term gender expression refers to how an individual wants to express themselves to the rest of the world or how they want the world to view them. Gender is a fluid concept, and there is no definition of what suits whom. Therefore, everyone has their own identity as an individual. They have all the rights to dress up the way they want.
Normalizing this means helping someone become who they indeed are. Yet, in many parts of the world the trans, lesbian, bisexual, and queer people still have to fight for equal rights. When we normalize and accept gender-neutral clothing, we also make it easy for everyone to own ourselves.
Thankfully, with the rise of androgynous clothing, the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive. A change that our society needed long ago. Because fashion is something that should make one comfortable about themselves. Hence, there is nothing more relaxing than being able to express yourself the way you are.
Evolution of Androgynous in fashion: People’s acceptance
Though the concept of Androgynous in fashion is not a new trend, this has been gaining popularity in recent times. The main reason for this lies in the change of people’s mindsets with growing time. If we look back to ancient times, we can easily picture women wearing “women” clothes while working in the house. Additionally, men were supposed to work outside and act “manly.” But, in today’s scenario, men and women are considered equal, they have no gender rules to abide by. This has helped people break stereotypes, and the movements have gained huge momentum.
In addition to that, the famous “stan culture” plays a massive role in normalizing the androgynous in fashion. For instance, k-pop idols are seen as breaking gender norms in everything they do. Similarly, other celebrities like Nick Jonas, Harry Styles, and Ranveer Singh are making sure to play a part in the liberty of one’s sartorial choices. With this, the ever-changing fashion industry proves that no one wants to be tied down to only feminine or masculine-looking style.
Embracing the genderless fashion
However, a person does not need a particular label to wear Androgynous clothing. Today, we have people dressing up not to fit into their gender labels. An oversized t-shirt can be a choice for both males and females. Similarly, one can be masculine and still wear a gown. No one should assume someone’s gender by their fashion.
Nowadays, there are gender-neutral brands that are taking steps to normalize Androgynous clothing. For instance, brands like Telfar, I and Me, Wildfang, Big Bud Press, 69, Black Crane, etc., create Androgynous clothes and have everything together under one section. Fashion giants like Gucci also have been breaking the barriers of gender norms in fashion shows.
Everyone wants the freedom to act and wear the way they feel like. And in this respect, the fashion industry successfully brings lots of changes in the ongoing trends. From the runway to people’s thinking, the fashion industry is quite thriving in embracing genderless fashion. Many trans/non-binary models and fashion designers can now express their talent in the fashion industry without any fear. Although, this is the very beginning, and we are yet to go a long way.
The article was first published on the WMH magazine, check the magazine here.