Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Trend of the Moment: Unisex Appeal

Which one of these is not like the other: Androgynous looks from the past

In human behavioral science, androgyny is defined as having characteristics of both male and female. In fashion, androgynous or unisex style pertains to the art of incorporating the opposite sex's wardrobe into your own.

Unisex or androgynous styling isn't new. The flappers commenced the trend in the 20's when they cut their hair in a boyish fashion. Fast forward to the 60's, 70's and 80's, and a whole new generation of unisex style starts germinating.

In the sixties, hippies wore long, unkempt hair and tie-dyed shirts regardless of gender. In the seventies, the disco made it ultra hip for men and women to wear bell-bottom pants and sequined garbs. And in the eighties, men and women embraced the notion of power dressing.

Perfect specimen: Freja Beha

In the 2000's (and hopefully beyond), androgyny can be interpreted in numerous ways. For women, it's by default that they borrow their man's pieces (such as a blazer or jeans, now coined boyfriend blazers or boyfriend jeans) and mix it up with their own pieces (like a dress or a ruffled shirt or tights). On the other hand, men seem to hit a hurdle when donning their girl's pieces. Aside from the fact that men's bodies are proportionally bigger than women, society (or culture or parents) frowns upon men wearing women's clothing.

A man and his Chanel bag: Pelayo Diaz

However, some womenswear are in direct lineage to menswear (Coco Chanel's work for example). Take the suit jacket. Sure, it may have a curvier body and slimmer sleeves, but the essence of it is a man's suit jacket. Typically, men can't pull off women's blazers without looking drag queen-ish. But if you have the slender body to suit, then more power to you (I definitely recommend women's double-breasted jackets because of their inherent boxy shape). And regarding trousers, women's skinny jeans are the blaring example to note.

Of course, all this androgyny suggestion would mean more work for the men. It is imperative that men be slim (take Hedi Slimane's Dior Homme) for the look to take flight. Lose those muscles and you'll probably fit in.

But the biggest faux pas any androgyny-bandwagon-jumper commits is when they fully transform into the opposite sex. Women, when you wear men's garbs, make sure you accompany it with something feminine like lipstick or high heels, or a purse. And for men, looking like a woman is no compliment whatsoever (unless, that's your primary intention). Retain your masculinity by putting on a plain white T-shirt, sneakers, and perhaps a scruffy 'do. At least for now, that'll do.


Abby Kihano said...

this is my favorite entry about fashion you wrote about yet :]

i love the idea of androgyny :] i think more women would agree to it than men though. i mean...

i didn't exactly see a guy wearing a girl looking shirt in this article LOL!

Farah said...


Jessica said...

Put the likes of Feja Breja in a garbage bag, and they're sure to look like superstars still! AM SO JEALOUS!!!!!

i've always wanted to try even just Kate Moss' "androgynous" style, but I'm scared that I won't be able to pull it off. Darn!

Nico said...

oh women, they have much more choices when it comes to clothes. borrow my pants? sure why not!

jess, why not try it out! women--i swear--look good in men's clothes. don't know why, but this is a fact.

Manju said...

that baleciaga back-to-school blazer!!!!!! *i dies*
ie been lusting after it since it came out like ages ago, and i still cant find a good lookalike D:

Anonymous said...

for where is this bag who the guy have? the blue one! its fantasic! thanks!

Nico said...

Hi Anonymous: The bag is from Chanel and it's being worn by Pelayo Diaz, a fashion blogger from Spain.