I’d like to give a little shout out to androgynous dressing. Not because I particularly love this style – I’m much more girly girl in my fashion identity – but because we are no longer calling it menswear inspired. Androgynous style takes the best of both worlds and puts its own spin on it. Gloria Steinem must be proud.
Katherine Hepburn wore it like no other. Diane Keaton demonstrates that this look can be worn anywhere at any time. Shilogh Jolie Pitt says ruffles have no place on the playground. I’m curious to see where this little darling will take the look when she’s able to make her own interpretations of girl meets boy meets girl. Thinking the look below is likely where she’ll land.
Calvin Klein took a leap in this direction back in the 90s with his CK One gender neutral fragrance. So too did Jean-Paul Gauthier who always seemed to show an interest in all things ambiguous. However, it is only as of recent that androgynous style has risen in popularity.
Many a designer took a stab at androgyny by sending models down the runway sporting this look.
In 2014, Gap led the “Dress Normal” campaign with its back to basics look of normcore. The intent was dressing should be simple and that ordinary can be extraordinary. The line definitely had a certain gender neutral quality to it. Unfortunately, the campaign wasn’t successfully received by consumers. In my opinion, they should have pumped up the androgyny angle more and placed less focus on the normal, which is where I believe led it to go amok.
The Diesel brand also finds itself dabbling in androgynous style this year with its “This ad is gender neutral” campaign. The ad includes a man and a woman (I think) wearing identical sweaters and sporting identical hairstyles. It certainly caught my attention.
Androgynous pieces to add in to your fall wardrobe
- boyfriend or girlfriend jeans
- a tuxedo suit
- neck ties and bow ties
- suits with vests and a necktie
- grandpa cardigans
- sleeveless blazers
- pants that are wide leg, pleated trousers, drop crotch joggers
- oxfords, brogues, wingtip shoes, Converse
- felt hat or fedora
- slicked back hair
- the man bun
What works about androgynous style?
The look is minimalist so it appeals to a lot of women. It also isn’t body hugging, landing it in a comfort zone that works for many a woman both physically and psychologically. It’s professional in appearance. What says professional more than a suit and tie? It’s neat, it’s tidy, it’s respectable. Let me tell you, however, that this look is not without its challenges. For starters, this style can be a bit boxy and does not have much in the way of body defining elements so it can make one look shapeless or bigger than one is. So how do we rectify this?
Tips on wearing androgynous style:
The best way to take androgynous style and make it work is by taking the butch out of it. While androgyny is the name of the game, you don’t want to be too mannish looking in your style. What you want is to juxtapose a boyfriend jean with stilettos. Or try skinny jeans with a boxy blazer but do the jeans in a colour like merlot. Show some skin by shortening the hemline with full shorts and pair it with a jacket and tie, or bare your shoulders. Soft blouses with bow tie details spice up the look and silky fabrics take the dude out of it. Lastly, accessories always help to offset the look beautifully. So I’ll be honest, my take on androgynous style definitely teeters on making it work by bringing sexy back. We need to bring feminine into androgyny so that it tips the scales towards the girlier side of things. I know I confuse myself sometimes, but not to worry because unless you are androgynously gorgeous like Ruby Rose, this is how you’ll make it work in your favour. And worth noting, even Ruby Rose wears makeup and adds in feminine details like chandelier earrings to make it work for her.
Looking to buy this style?
Great places to try are Zara, Topshop and H&M. They are bang on trend at prices you can afford. If you find yourself loving the look, invest more in a great tailored suit or sleeveless jacket. Many of these pieces are timeless so never a bad investment.