Clothes have no gender


Annika Perez, Staff Reporter

Clothes have offered a sense of security, expression, and growth for many people for centuries, but what about gender identity? There has been a lot of debate as to whether or not a certain gender should wear a certain type of clothing. Should girls wear pink dresses and boys wear blue jeans and team jerseys? Is there some merit to traditional gender norms, or are they arbitrary and restrictive? A number of historical movements have advocated that people should dress the way they want. Having people be able to express themselves and wear whatever feels comfortable to them is not only great for self-confidence but also helps people see themselves the way that they wish to be seen.

The start of gendered clothing in the West happened around the seventeenth century, with menswear being more “serious,” designed for practicality and work, while women’s clothing was more “frivolous,” designed to be attractive to men, thus playing into a patriarchal system. Because of this, men had seemingly more freeing clothing that allowed them to be more active while women had very restricting dresses and corsets which only allowed them to be decorative. 

Then, at the start of the late nineteenth century, some women started the Victorian Dress Reform. The women who supported the dress reform started wearing trousers instead of tight corsets and dresses, but this didn’t come without controversy and was seen as being “too radical” by some. As time passed, people started being more accepting of this style and by the mid-20th century, pants were a main staple in many women’s closets. 

But what about men? During the mid-20th century, male fashion was constrained to nothing but suits, pants, and shorts. The unisex fashion movement in the 1960s was more about women wearing men’s clothes such as pants, t-shirts, and blazers. Although many men adopted some feminine styles like long hair, in general men wearing more feminine styles was still taboo. But all hope isn’t lost. In 1985’ Jean-Paul Gaultier a french fashion designer created his first male skirt and was followed by designers like Giorgio Armani and Kenzo, but the majority of the male population was against the skirt in general as menswear.       

But while the general public may have been slow to adopt the trend, many famous celebrities, designers, performers, and actors had a big role in the normalization of more unisex clothing. Singer David Bowie, for example, wearing notoriously flamboyant outfits to concerts, actress Marline Detrich being one of the first women in Hollywood to “glamorize” pantsuits, singer Harry Styles appearing on vogue 2020s front cover in a dress, rapper Young Thug wearing designer Alessandro Trincones dress design for an album cover, and many other influential artists all had a part in the general population accepting more unisex fashion. 

Throughout history, there have been many people whose personal styles and clothing choices have been suppressed because of socialized gender norms. With Vouge 2020 featuring its first-ever solo man on the front cover in a dress, it is hopeful that the general public is moving toward a more accepting and less exclusive opinion of genderized fashion. Wearing what you want is a key aspect of any individual’s self-confidence, self-expression, and self love. Being able to express yourself is what makes you who you are, so having an outlet like art, music, dance, or fashion is one of the best ways to show everyone your true colors. 

Having your own sense of fashion is generally a trial and error process, but hopefully one doesn’t feel the need to conform to any clothing “rules” but their own. With so many styles and Pinterest boards to be inspired by, someone should never be embarrassed or discouraged by what they like whether flamboyant or minimal, clothing style is the first thing people notice about others so make sure it’s all you.