The androgynous look is currently everywhere and one person I think of when I think of this particular trend is Annie Lennox. She’s cooler than you think actually, she pretty much created the whole women-in-suits look we’re now seeing on people like Alexa Chung and The xx’s Romi Madley.
The entire androgynous style began, mostly in the 80’s, through various influences like music and politics and sexuality- it wasn’t just something like ruffles or brights that are ‘trendy’ because they look nice. People who dressed androgynously had a message to relay to the world, and many still do. Women, in particular, wear typically manly items of clothing- suits, trousers and short, cropped hairstyles as an mark of identity; usually, but not always, sexuality. I’m not saying that its butch lesbians who dress like men in this category. Think about people like Janelle Monae- sexy, but fierce. The whole idea of androgynous dressing is to be gender-less, to make fashion unisex. And it is. Take for instance, Parisian designer couple The Kooples who have just launched a unisex collection- menswear and womanswear combined.
We don’t have to wear dresses and skirts just because we’re women. The same as men don’t have to wear ties and shirts because they’re men. Hell, 2009 saw loads of designers throwing men in skirts down the catwalk. So what?
So yeah, its not just women dressing manly. Its men dressing womenly too. Take for example, the New Romantics of the 80’s- Boy George, Duran Duran etc. They were off their tits on frills and makeup. This is the same thing. Gender is the same thing- clothes shouldn’t be assigned to people for their gender. If men want to wear tights, then let them. If women want to wear brogues and braces, let them. Embrace it.
The whole point of fashion is messing everything up, the unexpected, creating a reality in which your wildest imaginations thrive. And this is what androgynous dressing is doing.