Androgyny as a form of fashion is powerful, sexy & stylish! In the most layman terms it is a boy’s style meets girl’s style or a girl’s style meets boy’s style. So definitely it is uni-sexual, empowering and makes a strong social statement. We all agree that there is some part of a woman in every man and some part of a man in every woman. It is this basic premise that androgynous fashion is based upon. While the rise of androgynous fashion dates back to the 18th century, the reasons behind it are still debatable. Whether it was the gender equality, independence of women, breaking the stereotypes or simply making a unique style statement, androgynous fashion had its first strong foothold in the invention of pants by none other than the goddess of fashion, Coco Chanel in the year 1913. Chanel personified the independent roles women were about to enter by providing them with the option of pants and masculine-like silhouettes. She defended the idea that a person should express themselves based on how they feel, and not how their gender supposedly tells them to feel.
A few examples of Androgynous fashion in the past
1930s Hollywood glamour—Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich—The taste for a fierce type of independence and a need to shake conventional gender norms was on their radar. It’s no wonder that the two stand out in Old Hollywood for their androgynous tendencies and flippant attitudes towards society’s idea of femininity.
1960s Yves Saint Laurent’s Emancipated Women—YSL’s muse Violeta Sanchez explained to the BBC that, at that time, “it was quite something for the stuffy bourgeois set to see women take possession of man’s attire, and the freedom it gave her. It took her out of that spot where she was fragile.”
Late’60s: The Peacock Revolution—Up until this point, androgyny had focused on women breaking free from their rigid gender stereotypes, but now it was men’s turn to shake loose of their gendered tropes and constraints. Enter the Peacock Revolution: A counter-culture movement that started in London and that included spear-headers like The Beatles, David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and Jimi Hendrix.
1980s: Prince And Grace Jones Rocked The Boat—Delicate and doe-eyed, with his slender hips clad in either a jumpsuit or go-go boots, the legendary Prince had a contradictory appeal to him: He was anything but traditionally masculine.
Meanwhile, the world also had Grace Jones, who exuded an aggressive type of femininity: One that was balanced with a hard handed touch of masculinity. With her flattop hair, chiseled features, and buff physique, she walked the line of androgyny perfectly.
1990s: Grunge Blurred The Genders—Kurt Cobain played with his long blonde locks, eyeliner, and baby-doll dresses. He rocked the hell out of sweaty grunge shows while wearing tiaras, sweeping up dirty tresses into pigtails and sporting retro women’s sunglasses.
2010s: We Do It All Over Again—When we have models like Ruth Bell shaving their hair down to a crew cut, macho rappers like Young Thug wearing sheer tulle dresses, or Lil B sporting chandelier earrings, and women embracing un-gendered styles like norm-core and championing forgoing shaving their armpits or freeing the nipple, we know that androgyny is gaining momentum.
Inspired by this momentum, I styled today’s look taking cues from male attire and accessories. Loosely based upon androgynous style of clothing, my patent leather black loafers coupled with my transparent cat-eyed sunglasses are my secret weapons for today’s look. Together they are creating a relatively masculine style and drawing out my free, strong, non-conforming attitude. The chocolate leather check square bag is further enhancing the strong, bold, androgynous vibe of the overall look. Not to forget the innate robust attitude! So just with the addition of two simple accessories, I have been able to create an androgynous look that I can easily carry at work or even with an outing with friends. Well this is what fashion is all about! Recreation, Innovation & Experimentation…..
And Androgynous fashion certainly allows you the liberty since it is all about letting go of restrictions, notions and gender binaries……