There’s no denying the fluidity of norms and values in our society these days. Social media in particular highlights the many ways in which we’ve blurred the lines between ‘tradition’ and what I like to call self-expression. One of the most prominent areas where rules are consistently broken and remolded is in the fashion world.
If you keep up with runway fashion, you’re no stranger to the unique (and almost bizarre at times) pieces that are on display. One of my favourite emerging trends is the rising popularity of what’s known as ‘the androgynous look.’ For those who don’t know, androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics into an ambiguous form, whether that be through gender expression, sexual identity or fashion. In a world where gender roles are slowly disappearing, runways nowadays showcase male models in eyeliner and leather skirts or female models sporting blazers and slacks. In other words, they show people looking like a work of art.
This got me wondering about the restrictive boxes we place ourselves in when expressing ourselves. As someone who prefers baggy clothing, I tend to shop in the men’s department for loungewear, the women’s department for dresses and the kids’ department for a good deal. I’ve never felt limited to just one area of a store, and while I have gotten stares while wandering off, finding something I feel like myself in is what matters to me most.
I think it’s important to find a fashion style that works for you; by this, I mean dressing in what makes you comfortable and happy. It’s very easy to fall victim to a mob mentality when it comes to fashion – one minute skinny jeans are trending, and the next baggy jeans are the only ‘acceptable’ version. Succumbing to pressures to dress a certain way due to trends or because of your gender, race, age, body shape or anything else that aims to limit what you can and can’t do will do nothing but make you feel inadequate in your skin. Society loves to tell us that if we’re short we should wear clothing that makes us look taller, if we’re chubby wear clothing that hides our body or if we’re a certain skin tone we need to ‘avoid’ certain colours. What we don’t learn is that if you’re confident and comfortable, you’ll automatically work that outfit!
My advice? Wear what you want. If you’re a dude and want to wear a skirt in the middle of winter, go for it. If you’re 75 and want to wear a bodycon dress, go for it. The key takeaway here is that fashion and clothing shouldn’t be restrictive, but rather expressive. In other words, all clothing is genderless if you don’t care.