ANDROGYNY IS NOTHING NEW; we’ve all seen the United Colors of Benetton ads, not to mention Madonna’s music videos from the ’90s, along with fashion designers like Jil Sander and Helmut Lang who’ve helped popularize the look. While menswear has always been a big trend in women’s clothing and accessories, lately designers have been playing with a new concept: unisex clothing.
According to the South China Morning Post, unisex clothing is different from the androgynous look (which borrows pieces from both male and female closets) because it calls for the complete elimination of gender norms when it comes to fashion and focuses on a lack of discrimination and a mixing and matching of gender pieces. The Morning Post attributes this shift towards genderless fashion largely to the reemergence of minimalism in high fashion.
Various designers like Saint Laurent and Céline have been experimenting with the concept on their runways, which includes less-fitted styles that make it easier for consumers of both genders to wear, a fresher and younger approach to clothing and styling, and the elimination of other, more gender-specific trends, allowing the wearer to focus solely on simplicity and self-expression.
This sounds like an appealing (not to mention convenient) concept for a number of reasons. For one, you and your boyfriend can share certain items, effectively increasing the number of items and outfits you have at your disposal. We’ve all slipped into a pair of our boyfriend’s jeans when we’ve needed to, but now imagine if he could slip into yours? Though, this might be difficult to implement if you aren’t the same size, and don’t necessarily want to be either.
But having certain basics like tees and jackets that you and your significant other can pass back and worth might come in handy more than you think. Also, when you plan to resell various items of clothing, you’ll have a wider audience to sell to since your unisex items can appeal to either gender. And in a deeper sense, perhaps unisex clothing is the start of a revolution that blurs the lines and boundaries between men and women, lending to a heightened sense of equality between the sexes. There are no guarantees, of course, that a sudden rise in people of both sexes wearing the same clothes is going to change gender dynamics, but it doesn’t seem like a bad start.
As for whether or not this fashion-forward movement will be a lasting trend? Well, it’s been proven countless times that most trends, whether they last for a brief blip in time on fashion’s radar or manage to become a more long-term deal, seem to return from the depths of the closet and somehow claw their way to the forefront of fashion consciousness — sometimes in their original forms and other times reincarnated in new, more contemporary vessels. Just like the denim overalls, jelly shoes and one-piece jumpsuits that have managed to become en vogue again, there is no doubt that unisex clothing will continue to appear on runways in one form or another.