Androgyny On And Off the Runway

Written by Taylor Leicht                                                                                                                     Photography by Daniela Buvat

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Androgynous clothing has asserted itself in the world of fashion. Although androgyny is not new to the fashion industry, the overwhelming presence of non-binary clothing has made itself as a force to be reckoned with after this fall’s runway shows. Ralph Lauren, Kate Spade, Rag and Bone, Marc Jacobs, and Vera Wang are just a few of the names sporting the sway into genderless clothing. An assortment of unisex clothing lines have since been released; accordingly, Zara released a completely gender neutral line this past Spring. The move towards non gender binary fashion not only alleviates clothing related social anxiety for gender fluid or transgender individuals, but also pushes the fashion world (a highly influential medium) towards normalizing genderless clothes.

Even though the androgynous clothing trend is undeniably popular on the runway, it sits at different stages of popularity in different parts of the country. To see how the trend was spreading, I interviewed students from around the country about their experiences with androgynous clothing.

 

What’s your understanding of androgynous clothing?

My understanding of androgynous clothing is clothing that does not clearly signify your assigned sex and does not follow gender stereotypes. (Talia: Chapel Hill, NC)

Clothing that’s not for any certain gender. (Matthew: Berkeley, CA)

Dressing in a manner that is both masculine and feminine, or an absence of both. (Shea: Portland, OR)

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How common is it for someone to dress androgynously in your area?

It’s extremely uncommon to see people dressing that way around where I live (Whitney: Auburn Hills, MI)

Not very common (Ryan: Madison, WI)

Really common (Samantha: Portland, OR)

Do you think it’s strange to see men and women dressing in the same manner?

Generally no, but it depends how far in the other direction they went. But if it works for them, it should work for everyone else. (Ela: Des Moines, IA)

I personally don’t find it strange to see men and woman dressed in a similar manner. If that’s someone’s style it doesn’t seem strange to me. (Marlee: Chicago, IL)

I don’t think it should be, but personally it looks weird to see a dude in a dress or something traditionally female. (Babu: Chapel Hill, NC)

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Do you think dressing fluidly makes someone any less feminine or masculine?

No. I think it shows they’re comfortable with their gender and identity. (Samantha: Portland, OR)

Possibly, it depends the extent at which someone is dressing. If a guy were to wear makeup or a crop top then maybe. (Ryan: Madison, WI)

It might make them seem less masculine or feminine but it doesn’t change how they actually are, only how they appear (Matthew: Berkeley, CA)

Do you yourself ever dress androgynously?

I think I dress very much like a male. However, I am not shy to wear more feminine colors. (Grant: Des Moines, IA)

Yes, I grew up with my dad buying me boys clothes such as basketball shorts and boys t-shirts. To this day I still buy some men’s clothes because they are comfortable and fit my “tomboy” personality. (Marlee: Chicago, IL)

I wear clothing that would be accepted on a person who identified as a boy or girl but only if I am in a comfortable setting with people who accept me. (Talia: Chapel Hill, NC)

What does the future hold for androgynous clothing?

I would predict that with the increasing push for gender equality in all facets of life the line will start to blur between gender specific clothing (Jordan: Chicago, IL)

I have no idea what the future holds but I do think it will become more common. (Whitney: Auburn Hills, MI)

Males and females won’t feel the pressure to conform to social norms anymore, it will make others feel more comfortable dressing as they choose free of judgment. (Nicole: Madison, WI)

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