Gender Fluidity in Fashion

by Renee Sydney San Juan

July 26, 2019

Over the years, the cultural landscape has been shifting. We have encountered several social movements that truly awakened the minds of the people. A significant part of this are topics that include gender. Gender has always been a restrictive concept and historically speaking, it has restricted us in so many things—including how we act, how we do our work, and how we dress.

Societal Norms

In a book by Michael Cunningham entitled ‘A Home at the End of the World’, there was a quote that sparked my interest. It goes by “I was not ladylike, nor was I manly. I was something else altogether. There were so many different ways to be beautiful.

The author was right. There are so many ways to be beautiful and there are so many ways to feel good about yourself. This applies to how we dress too because clothes have no gender. Who says that just because you are a boy, you can not wear a dress? Who says that because you are a girl, you can not wear a suit, sweats, or basketball Jerseys just because you look too “athletic” and “manly” for a girl? Of course, we all know where these ideas came from—the society. Society and its norms and rules that you “had” to conform or else you are not part of it. Aren’t we all sick and tired of following everyone else’s rules?

Clothes and Gender

Shouldn’t we wear clothes that feel comfortable to us? Clothes that expresses who we really are, not because of our sex? No matter what sexual orientation, you should be able to wear clothes that your skin is comfortable in and clothes that make you happy that you are wearing them. We shouldn’t be ashamed if somebody sees us wearing that certain piece of clothing; that is who we are and how we dress is none of their business. This applies to whatever type of clothing you wear- tops, bottoms, shoes, hats, etc. And of course, this also applies to men who wear make-up. Make-up has the purpose of making you feel beautiful, and if a man wants to put some, let him.

Feeling Good About What You Wear

Who are we to decide on what a person should wear? It is not our life anyway. Would you want the same for yourself? Do you want other people to control your life or dictate what you should be doing? And the most important thing is, who cares? If it makes you feel good, then do it. People are not allowed to decide on what feels good on you—that is on you.

Art and Self-Expression

On a more serious note, fashion has always been an art. The purpose of art is to express oneself. Shouldn’t we do the same when we dress up? All of us should feel represented, including what we wear. Allow yourself to be more expressive. Designers should prioritize self-expression when producing materials. In research by Talitha Retallck, it says that “the difference between gender and sex has always been difficult to accept and make sense of, but a true unisex way of dress challenges expression of masculinity and femininity“, and I agree with this statement.

Gender Fluidity

It is difficult for some to understand the way people dress nowadays, but since we are talking about fashion, it correlates with self-expression and identity. Therefore, our clothing options should not be limited to our sex. People should be allowed to buy clothes that fit their personal choices. The fashion industry should also widen their style categories so that people of different sexual orientations would feel like they belong when they go into clothing stores. They wouldn’t have to deal with the anxiousness of not having something to try on just because it is “not for them”. They wouldn’t have to question themselves if the clothes would fit their type.

Accepting gender fluidity in the fashion industry means having to produce clothes that are made for all body types related to each and everyone’s gender.

Inclusivity in the Fashion Industry

While many fashion brands are advocating for gender-neutral clothes, we still have a long way to go. We are still hoping for a more inclusive fashion industry that does not restrict people to buy dresses that are only based on their sex. All of us should take part in creating a future where gender fluidity in fashion is deemed acceptable.

Important for the Youth

Let us do this for the youth—the youth who are forced to dress up according to their sex since they were kids. The youth who are scared to break the barriers. The youth who are scared to not conform to gender norms. Let us allow them to be who they really are and to express themselves exactly how they choose to be. A majority of positive changes need to start with them.

Progressive Society

Forget about traditional rules; they are just a reminder that we do not live in that era anymore and that the world is constantly changing. The world is becoming more and more progressive, and that idea alone justifies how gender should not be an issue anymore, most especially when it comes to how a person dresses. While all gender identities are being explored, fashion industries are doing the same because of the rising popularity of gender fluidity. Challenging traditional norms could be difficult, and whilst people can not dress in a certain way due to uncontrollable forces, the only important thing here is that you allow yourself to be comfortable in what you wear and to never lose your sense of individuality. After all, isn’t that what beauty really means? Allowing a person to be who he/she really is?

Reminder:

This article is not intended for you to change your mind about your clothing preferences, nor does it force you to dress in a certain way. But it sure does serve as a reminder that fashion is always in a state of transition—and so are you. Each and every one of us is constantly evolving into a better version of ourselves, and let that version become more accepting and embracing of everyone’s differences.

To commemorate the event/s of Pride Month last June, let us all acknowledge and recognize the efforts people put in to make gender fluidity in fashion a possibility.

Renee Sydney San Juan

By Renee Sydney San Juan

An International Relations student. A model. A fan of anything related to liberal arts and cultural studies. A strong advocate of gender equality.

Read more at rnsydney.com

Leave a Comment...

Erick

August 2, 2019

I like how you connect social issues with fashion.

Au

August 9, 2019

Very well-written.