As far as most modern styles go, there are some that just stick around forever. Of course, trends come and go, some with more success than others – just look at the early 90’s! But there are some fashion moments that landed in history and just haven’t ever gone away. These are known as classic, timeless looks, which fare just as well now as they did when they were first invented. One such look is the androgynous look, which first reared its genderless head during the mid-seventies and has gone on to be a major fashion fixture in nearly every decade since. So, what exactly does it mean? Well, someone who is androgynous is said to outwardly possess both male and female characteristics. Regarding fashion, androgyny can work both ways, either a woman dressing in men’s clothes or men using fashion to make themselves look more feminine. David Bowie was a pioneer of the androgynous fashion movement, paving the way for thousands more like him. Annie Lennox was also a master of androgynous fashion, known for her cropped hair and suits – something that was relatively unseen on women of that time. So if you want to blur the fashion lines between men’s and women’s clothing, just wear should you begin? Here are some easy ways you can add a touch of androgyny to your closet.
We don’t even realize it, but so many items of clothing we already wear can be classified as unisex. A long-sleeved, collared shirt is a perfect example of this, and can be dressed up or down. It doesn’t really matter if you buy your shirt from the men’s section or the women’s. But, be aware that women’s shirts are tailored slightly differently to men’s – usually, they are smaller on the shoulders and are nipped in slightly at the waist. So, with that in mind, you may want to buy the size up from what you normally get, to really nail that androgynous look. The kind of shirt you buy depends on whether you want to look smart, or if you are going for a more casual vibe. Crisp evening shirts are great for a night out or some kind of formal event, whereas a plaid shirt is a great daytime look. If your plaid shirt is baggy, pair it with a pair of tight jeans or trousers – androgyny is a partnership between male and female clothing, so there’s no need to cover up your whole figure just to create this look. Additionally, if you’re looking for collared shirts or even turtleneck sweaters (for me), be sure to check out The Gear Hunt.
Loose fit jeans
That being said, there are some occasions where you may want to opt for a looser fit with certain clothes to achieve the androgynous look. As mentioned before, women’s clothes are designed very differently to mens, as they are created with the curve of a woman’s body in mind. The androgynous look is more about a straight, lean silhouette – one that doesn’t give anything about gender away. This is why you may find that shopping in the smaller men’s sizes might give you more success when trying to put together your androgynous look. However, more and more women’s fashion retailers have also got on board with this trend and are now producing their own loose fit, casual style clothing that helps their customers with a more gender-neutral appearance. Boyfriend jeans are one specific example of this, as they are women’s jeans designed with a looser, more masculine fit in mind. They tend to have larger pockets, be more loose-fitting all the way around and are commonly worn with the cuffs turned up. But it’s not all about masking your feminity entirely. Boyfriend jeans usually sit high up on the waist. So, if you fear you may look a little TOO masculine when going for your androgynous look, simply use a stylish belt around your jeans to cinch you in at the waist.
A huge part of men’s fashion is to do with tailoring – after all, good tailoring is what makes a sharp suit! Look out for women’s suits that emulate the style of a man’s – i.e. always opt for a pantsuit – and see if they have any features that up the air of masculinity. For example, some suit blazers contain shoulder pads that broaden your shoulders, giving you a more manly look. Altering your proportions through your clothes is an easy way to create an illusion of something that isn’t really there. Always choose tailored trousers that are slim-fit or tapered around the bottom, and pair with some classic shoes like a pair of winkle pickers. If you want to look a little less formal, the boating shoe is a great unisex piece of footwear that still looks great with a well-tailored outfit.
Playing around with various accessories is a great way to have some fun with androgynous fashion. The line between men’s and women’s accessories has become increasingly blurred over the years, so you may not find it all that hard to find jewelry, hats and belts to match the look you have created in your head. Hats in particular can be a great addition to an androgynous outfit, especially a casual suit and shirt combination. Opt for something like a trilby or a fedora – and avoid a brim that is too wide, as these are typically much more feminine. Jewelry-wise, steer clear of anything that’s too ‘blingy’. So keep your diamonds and other sparklers in a draw for a day when you are feeling a little more girly. Masculine jewelry is a little more understated and plain, so look out for plain silver rings and leather bracelets. If you can get it right, the androgynous look is an incredibly versatile one that you should be able to pull out for almost any occasion – and with style like that, you are sure to turn heads.