Have you looked at a person from the back, sideways or even from the front and wondered whether that person is male or female, based on the way they have dressed? In this day and age that is not so unusual – gender-neutral fashion is more common than not. Androgynous fashion style is when your dressing cannot be categorized either in the purely masculine group or the purely feminine group. You might be calling it the genderless style or unisex style.
Derivation of the word Androgyny tells its own story. In Greek “ándras” means man and “gynaíka” means woman.
If you like this clothing style which is independent of gender, and you are a male, you can dress in a cute pink mini skirt, combine it with workman’s boots, sweatshirts, and hoodies and look fashionable.
If you are a female, it is mostly short hair cuts, stark masculine clothes, and make-up devoid of any frivolousness. Curves are not greatly favoured and so are any sort of feminine traces.
The story behind Androgynous style
Women have long ago taken full access to men’s fashion and throughout fashion history, there are instances when this cross over has been very strong and successful. Gender roles have always been strict throught the centuries and then women started wearing some elements of men’s clothing according to convenience, for during the First world war women started wearing pants. Definitely a precursor to what we call an androgynous style now.
Grace Jones, the celebrated American singer and model is said to be a torch bearer on this style in modern fashion. Remember the 1980s when Demi Moore appeared in loose suit jackets with shoulder pads. It was called power dressing then.
Females wearing elements from the masculine closet has become normalized and this is not considered androgynous as such. Today, a complete adaptation of masculine clothing by women is considered androgynous. It is not uncommon to see women dressed in this crossover manner all over the world, everywhere.
As I said, androgynous style has a different meaning in women’s fashion and men’s fashion. In women’s fashion, just a deviation from men’s styles is not considered androgynous. A complete cross over or a large leaning towards masculinity in fashion is seen.
But for men, adopting some of the elements of women’s fashion is enough to be considered androgynous. And it is not an uncommon sight today and no longer ridiculed as cross dressing.
The extreme gender-bending style of British singer Boy George was considered extravagant and eye-popping at that time (the 1980s and 1990s). His flamboyant way of dressing and heavy make-up was considered a rarity.
But today you see a nice and famous man like Harry Styles dressing in gowns and a cute one like Jaden Smith walking around proudly in skirts along with hoodies in full confidence and style. Girls worship K-pop band members who almost always dress in gender-neutral clothing, wear makeup, jewelry and have an ever green pretty boy look.
And you know from the streets of fashion capitals that unisex fashion has arrived and is here to stay.
Other fashion styles closely resembling this style are Garconne and Tomboy.
Are you comfortable in the gender neutral space?
Finding your place in this style is not all that easy, though it may sound so. Many are afraid of being judged. But if you are beyond all that you can be the star, oozing the confidence of wearing the clothes that you like rather than what others think is right. Gender fluid, they will call you. You can match your hairstyle, makeup, gestures, and even your overall attitude to a gender-neutral tone to make the style all-pervasive.
Women and men dressed in clothing that is comfortable for them, without being judged for their gender or sexuality, embracing their masculinity/feminity fully – that is the essense of Androgynous fashion, in my opinion. What is your take?