It’s 2021, and thank god we live in a world where we can wear whatever the hell we want. Every day a new OOTD style comes up, or a new clothing trend goes viral every week, be it for men or women. As we all know, there is always something raging in the world of fashion. But why is it that people are left enraged when a man wears a skirt or a dress or when a woman wears a bow tie and a vest? Do clothes have a gender? Why is it that clothes are designated for a particular gender, and when swapped, people question a person’s ‘masculinity’ or femininity? Rapper Jeffery Lamar Williams or popularly known as Young Thug, once said, “You could be a gangster with a dress, you could be a gangster with baggy pants“, and nothing could be truer.
All hell broke loose on social media when Harry Styles’ December 2020 Vogue photoshoot pictures were released. While many fawned over those pictures, some were left outraged by him donning a white frilly Gucci gown under a black jacket. This time Harry had surely taken androgynous styling to the next level.
What exactly is androgynous fashion?
Androgynous fashion is basically dressing up and styling clothes in a way that isn’t feminine or masculine. People who dress up androgynously follow their creativeness rather than society’s stereotypes surrounding clothes for men or women. It basically is the combination of fashion trends from both men’s and women’s clothing. Remember when Cara Delevingne wore a tailcoat and top hat with black heels to Princess Eugenie’s wedding in Windsor Castle. That is a perfect example of breaking gender stereotypes in clothing and wearing what one likes to wear.
The word androgynous comes from the Greek word ‘Andre’ meaning man and ‘Gune’ meaning woman. It combines to form the word depicting ‘both male and female.’
Why are we seeing more androgynous fashion nowadays?
For a while now, cisgender standards of fashion and lifestyle have been popularised and mainstreamed, leaving the agender and non-binaries at the sideline.
However, pop culture and the fashion industry have opened up and provided space for the inclusion of androgyny in their cis-aligned collections in the last decade. When Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci released floral jeans and patterned tops, sales within the men’s fashion market had risen by 5.6% – marking the first increase in three and a half years.
It is not only the LGBTQ+ community that dons and experiments with androgynous fashion. In fact, cisgender consumers are also looking beyond their usual identity and exploring their styles and dressing outside their own gender stereotypes, often cemented by society and the fashion industry.
Ranveer Singh and Harry Styles wearing pearl necklaces, Anil Kapoor sporting neon pink shoes, or the current talk of the town – Billy Porter’s glorious ‘tuxedo gowns’ and heel collection are outright inspiring for everyone.
Celebrities and influencers inspiring androgynous fashion
The Met Gala award shows and Instagram posts are places where major celebrities light up the flame for a trend. It is then that fashion influencers, and Instagram models take up the baton. Below is a list of three Instagram influencers you need to follow if you are on a hunt for some ravishing androgynous styling ideas.
How to dress androgynously and rock the look
Thalia Castro-Vega, a personal stylist, mentioned in Vogue Italia for her styling recommendations, shares tips on dressing androgynously. For femmes looking to style androgenous – structured fabrics, neutral colour palettes, wearing traditionally masculine garments like suit vests, blazers that reach your hips, and dark colour palettes are wardrobe-essentials.
If you are a masc presenting, then bright colours and vibrant patterns are the best way to dive in for the look. Special attention on fabrics like satin, sheer or flowy fabrics are a game-changer, according to her.
Jewellery and accessories play a key role in androgynous clothing. For instance, smaller glasses masculinize your face while large glasses feminize it. Did you know that the angle and position of your hat on your head also determines the masculinity/feminity of your look?
Gender-fluid and androgynous brands to stock up your wardrobe
Your wardrobe is an essential tool of self-expression and representation. For the LGBTQ+ community, often clothes are the only way to feel comfortable in and express themselves, especially when they are not yet out of the closet. Below are brands that design some amazing and trendy androgynous clothing.
- NorBlack NorWhite [Based in New Delhi]
- Jaywalking [Based in Mumbai]
- Bloni [Based in New Delhi]
- Bobo Calcutta [Based in Kolkata]
- Antar Agni [Based in New Delhi]
Good news to all my fashionistas out here, androgyny no more involves only wearing plaid shirts and skirts. With celebrities and brands showcasing gender-fluid looks on runways and catalogues, the variety to choose from expands day by day. And so does the idea among people that clothes are not meant to be gendered. They are meant to be worn and flaunted. And since it’s 2021, all that matters is who is serving the looks.