What is Androgyny?
Taking the gender out of clothing is one of the most essential aspects of androgyny. When most people think of androgyny, they think of a trend rather than a personal style. Androgyny is just as much a woman in a blazer as much as it is a man in high heels. To accept and understand this style, gender must first be removed from the mind before it can be removed from clothing.
History Of Androgyny
In the western world of the 1920’s Androgyny was a search for independence and power for women. Most women at that time were suppressed and lacked a strong voice. But as every era has a rebel, proud and forward thinking women like Coco Chanel revolutionized female dressing, by making dresses shorter and designing pantsuits for women. The boyish silhouettes of coats, collars and pants on women started blurring out the stern corset and long sleeve Victorian aesthetic that most women were seen wearing.
Designers Who Pioneered Gender Neutral Fashion For Women
“A Garment must be logical” an idea introduced by Coco Chanel, who was among one of the first designers to create modern clothing for women clients. What famously began as a label, the Chanel Woman had outfits which included menswear fabrics, sporty yet feminine looks which were comfortable before anything else. Chanel made women look more independent and assertive. During the world war she helped boost the image of women from the fragile to a dominating powerful figures, and perpetuated equality in clothing through her silhouettes and designs.
Another pioneer like Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent once said “Fashions come and go, but style is forever”. He created the androgynous tuxedo look in the 1960s for women in his iconic collection, ‘Le Smoking’. He clothed women in blazers and trousers in a time when most women wouldn’t dare try a garment that wasn’t feminine.
The Boyfriend fit trend introduced by denim companies is a modern classic. Every major denim label from J Brand to GAP retails boyfriend jeans for women and more tapered style jeans for men. Lots of women across the world will admit to wearing male fragrances and watches, and many beauty companies are exploring the unisex market to create products that serve a wider audience.
Today, many luxury labels like Vuitton, Gucci, and Balmain are creating menswear collections with floral prints, embellishments and so many other elements that were traditionally considered feminine.On the high street, pastel tones, colorful patterns and softer silhouettes for men are taking over the shelves. In magazines and blogs we often see blazers and tuxedo’s as symbols of androgyny for women, but we rarely see the other side of the coin.
Clothing in many ways is an extension of the personality, and if a man chooses to wear a handbag it should be received with just as much normalcy as a woman in pants. Being forced to conform to gender roles is both toxic and claustrophobic and takes away the freedom from fashion. Androgyny in fashion is ultimately an extension of personal style and expression.
- Curle, R. (1949). Women, An analytical Study, London: Watts & Co.