According to an article published this year in the Huffington Post UK, women wearing men’s clothing, is fast becoming a trend.
Writing an article for the F Word, Lucy Rycroft-Smith, documented wearing men’s clothes for a month. Her ultimate conclusion, resulted in her feeling more “comfortable”, with items that had never been so “flattering”.
Perhaps this movement of women putting on men’s attire, is a feminist act – fighting back from work rules that suggest flats for men and inches for women. Just last week, government rejected an appeal to stop bosses from being able to force females, to wear high heels.
Wearing a blazer at school, I am reminded back to a time of easy simplicity. Phone in one pocket, keys and school card in another. High heels were strictly for evenings out, and as much as I tried to make my skirt shorter and my tops tighter, I could never emulate the sexy office look, that is contradictory to the ideals of men’s sophistication.
Growing up, you are soon taught which gender you belong too, even if you were allowed to wear blue. My shoes had butterflies; my socks were frilly. I could wear a jumper, but I could also wear a cardigan. No matter how many decades have gone by, gender dressing, is still a taboo.
Sarah Bernhardt, in the 1870’s, sent shock waves through Paris, by wearing a custom-made trouser suit. By 1914, Coco Chanel designed her first suit. Revolutionising the fashion world, her designs featured jersey – a fabric associated with men’s underwear. She made everyday items like trousers, an essential part of a woman’s wardrobe.
Although suits for women are nothing new, they are more a representation of men. In addition: ties, long sleeve shirts, and practical tailored clothing, with soft materials. For the opposite sex – think form-fitting; flimsy blouses and items all designed, to flaunt your best assets. High-school is certainly the last time I wore a jacket, that contained inside pockets. The only exception, is when I took home my now ex boyfriend’s suit jacket.
Classed as androgyny, Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, rebelled against society’s view of femininity. When Audrey Hepburn nevertheless, woke up in Breakfast at Tiffany’s with a man’s crisp, white shirt, there was an element of daintiness, mixed in with raw sex appeal.
There’s no denying, a woman putting on items made for a man, displays power. That power can easily turn to sex. How do you look cute and sexy at the same time – put on your boyfriends shirt.
As I wore my ex’s suit to my photo shoot, I naturally stood taller. My face tensed to seriousness, and my nerves felt covered with this shoulder padded jacket, that bellowed for command. The shirt was missing; maybe covering myself completely would have removed too much, of my female sex appeal.
Fashion has re edited the standard man’s wardrobe over the years, and re designed it for women. And yet, this trend of women shopping in the men’s section, is booming.
How far you go, seems to be, what defines your intentions. Instead of choosing the women’s section, heading to the man’s and going full on, in today’s world, is still a bold move. We are supposedly not meant to seek pockets, ask for appropriate shoes and wear large jackets, that hide our womanly bodies. If you do, you are androgynous.
Angelina Jolie received high praise, for allowing Shiloh to cut her hair short and wear clothes for boys. Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry on the other hand, still had comments remarked, on how their short hair, is “boyish” and “unsexy”.
Take a tiny dip, into a man’s side of a department store, you can be sexy. Re do a man’s wardrobe with a feminist touch, you are fashion forward. Go all the way, and you might stand out in a crowd, or unknowingly be called a feminist. Unisex clothing has arisen, but will the rise ever make it to a social norm?
How do you feel, when wearing men’s clothes? Is it something you would consider?
Credit: Geoff Nichols Photography