Evolution of Androgynous Fashion: Is All Contemporary Fashion Androgynous?
Updated: Feb 15
By Maya Serrano
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Androgynous Fashion is unisex clothing and accessories that are designed to avoid male or female distinctions. It was first sought to be a form of exclusive dressing for the aristocracy class, men wearing dresses and heels, yet now it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between the “men’s” and “women’s” sections in the fashion industry. But what has caused the style uniformity between males and females to gain ground? Let’s analyze the progression of androgyny in fashion and other socioeconomic factors that could have changed the demographic from aristocracy to the general public.
This is not a new idea in the fashion industry; individuals have been experimenting with pushing stereotypical gender rules for a long time, but it began to pick up speed publicly in the 1900s. In the early 1910s, women had just begun placing the Victorian era of fashion behind them– lace necklines and petticoats. Coco Chanel personified the independent roles of women by providing them with the option of pants and masculine-like silhouettes. This was also in the era of the women’s suffrage movement. Coco Chanel embodied the indepence women were gaining in the real world through fashion by enabling women to dress how they feel and not according to their gender.
Skipping ahead in time, it is easy to say that music influenced the fashion trends in the 1970s and '80s. Many men wore bright colors, tight flare pants, headbands, feathers and other more typically “feminine” clothing. As previously stated, this was heavily influenced by the music culture in the '70s and '80s. Hendrick’s music was not the only reason he was famous. His paisley coats and velvet flares designed by Michael Braun gave the audience a psychedelic trip, straying away from more typical masculine designs by using flare pants and feminine blouses. Elvis wore sparkling jumpsuits and makeup while rocking on stage. The ‘70s and ‘80s were the beginning of men being confident enough in their gender and sexual identity to branch out of the stereotypical masculine norms and explore what made them feel comfortable rather than what society told them to wear.
Where does that leave us now? Today it can sometimes be hard to tell the difference between “men’s” and “women’s” clothing in stores– ultimately embracing the non-binary identity through fashion. Harry styles is a prevalent figure in androgynous fashion as he wore an aristocratic dress in the December 2022 issue of American Vogue. In day to day life, women wear oversized blazers and men wear sweaters– both items that don't particularly fit into distinct female and male categories. Overall, the progression of androgyny in fashion has poured into the general public from the aristocracy, as having the freedom to dress how you feel is what is overall most important.
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