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Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception

Increased Genderless Clothing Is an Indication of the World’s Shifting Perception of the Notion

of Masculinity.

Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity


Occurrence of most trends erratically shift between in and out, some of these trends
nonetheless, often function outside the mere aesthetics. Some trends imprint and cast a flow that
extends beyond the fashion world and towards the society. As a result, they challenge
predominant perceptions and ideologies and as a result implement movement towards social
change. For instance, five years ago, men could never select their attires from the women stack;
this could have elicited stares from the sales people. But currently its getting harder to tell the
women’s department from the men’s (Butler, 2011). On the department stores, runways and
streets guys’ clothes are no longer easily definable as the line between men’s and women clothes
is slowly diminishing. With the introduction of genderless clothing there is a noticeable shift in
gender boundaries that is less evolutionary. Today’s blur of the sexes is an organic outcome of a
changing attitude and perception in culture as a whole (Ferla, 2015). Just like the clothing,
people are becoming relaxed about gender and what was traditionally known as masculinity.
When situated in a social-cultural context where the public has the privilege to see and
assess them clothes are permeated with certain significance (Evans, 2014). When a man gets

2Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
dressed up he prepares the body for the world. His dressing code is primarily determined by what
the world would deem appropriate, acceptable and even desirable (Bissinger, 2015). In the past,
the male clothing choice was primarily influenced by the desire to fit in the cliché masculine
role. Men sought to belong to a particular social-economic class in order to attain a certain
masculine ideal (Contrera, 2015). With the changing social and economical dynamics what was
deemed as ideal in the past, may not necessarily be seen as superlative in the modern world. The
clothes men wore in the past did not simply reflect ones group affiliation or compliance to a
special model of masculinity; rather they imposed both clothing styles thus induced not only
ideas about masculinity but also provided window to assess how it affected various groups of
men in distinctive fashion.

Genderless Fashion And Shifting Perception On Masculinity
Fashion trends are changing drastically, alpha males like Kanye West and David
Beckham have been repeatedly donned themselves in skirts, there is no way contemporary
masculinity can compare with the traditional replica(DailySabah,2015). Will Smith’s son, Jaden,
famed for being fashion savvy has gone out of his way to don woman’s dress while going to
prom (Del Vecho, 2015). This in the past would have deemed as social indiscretion, it however
has won the fashion icon and admiration because gender-neutral dressing is slowly taking the
center stage. There is a new conversation in the fashion world which inevitably touches on the
changing perception on what previously used to be known as masculinity. An Italian fashion
Icon Gucci in its 2015 fashion show brought in chiffon blouses tailored for men and pussy bows;
another fashion line Proenza Schouler outfitted a male model for its women’s wear donned in
heels and all-black collection that made him look all chic(Antonissen,2015). A fashion director
Lucas Ossendrijver, of Lanvin Homm stated in nutshell that the men’s mind-set is changing;

3Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
their eye for fashion has changed (Barry, 2015).men are willing to explore their manhood
without been confined by the traditional masculine dictates.
The modern man is getting dressed more liberally; there are now more fashion choices
for all men across all ages not just for the risk-takers. In the past, men used to buy the clothes
they needed according to the trends and fashions passed down to them by the society and their
cultural upbringing. Currently, men are getting out of the masculinity box and redefining
themselves, trying out new things. There are now less suits and ties because all the limits have
been stretched, this is the new masculinity. There has been rampant gender cross-pollination in
the fashion industry, for instance, London’s Selfridges opened unisex fashion shop known as
Agender and the space carries 45 labels and its cloth lines include pieces known as guy-girl-
shareable attire(Ferla, 2015). As Selfridges’ creative director Linda states, men are gradually
wearing what might have been traditionally known as feminine. The modern man is no longer
confined by the traditional mindset, masculinity is now defined in terms of individuality and
function thus the modern man is not restricted by the traditional uniform idea of what is
conventionally acceptable.
A critical study of the previous literature on magazines and newspapers provide insight
into how the ideal man was supposed to dress. Masculinity was supposed to portray, strength,
power, pride and independence. Men were not supposed to wear, tight flashy, lacy or stylish
attire they were confined in the masculine world which limited their ability to portray their
fashion statement. For a long time men have understood themselves in relation to their social
world and how it reconfigured masculinity (Peter, 2014). There was a certain manner in which a
man was supposed to act, appear and even dress, the cliché masculine man was not allowed to
explore elaborate fashion; he was confined to conservative well fitting attire adorned in suits and

4Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
ties. Several articles in the past spurred dress code for the ideal man, several depictions and
even advertisements influenced men and their masculinity (Jill, 2011). Amongst the elite and
middle class working man, the portrays of masculinity were further accentuated through
memoirs, literature and even poetry which brought about imaginings and personification of the
masculine ideal.
Therefore, throng articles, advertisements and even cartoons in newspapers and
magazines explicated the collective effort of men across all the spheres to reconstruct their
manhood and create a social image to agree with the predefined masculine ideal. The inception
of genderless fashion has slowly shaken the foundations of what is traditionally known as
masculine; there is only a blurring line distinguishing what is masculine and what is not
(Antonissen, 2015). The modern society is no longer tethered by the customary image on what a
man should wear and how he should look like. In the past, various discourses provided
contradictory articulations of masculinity through family, work ethic and dress code; none of this
allowed the man to control his life and manhood. The status of the traditional man was tied up
with questions.
The fashion world and the world in general is shifting perception on the notion of
masculinity. During the Toronto Men’s Fashion Week, there was a noticeable trend amongst the
designers whose cloth collections were caught between femininity and masculinity (BBC News,
2015). There has been a mix between the classic masculinity and femininity, bringing about a
remarkable fashion which exists between the genders somewhere between. Other daring fashion
designers have experimented with loose and neutral colored silhouettes which are wearable to
both men and women(Del Vecho,2015).Nothing in these pieces is gender specific, men can wear

5Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
women clothes and vice versa gradually the barrier between what is masculine and feminine is
getting broken down.
Over the time women have achieved high accolades in academics and professional status
the society has reached a point where gender roles have intermingled, thinning out the wall
existing between the male and female genders. The rising female in the public sphere has served
as a rationale for the dressing reform, because men have been oppressed by their limiting
clothing and they somewhat became inferior corollary to the empowered female whose clothing
gave her liberty to move more freely (Ferla, 2015). Women in the work place have been given
liberty to dress freely in their short skirts, trousers and colorful stockings. In order to regain their
freedom, men are breaking norms and resisting the horrors of remaining in fashions that are not
expressive at all. In the past, newspapers voiced their opinions by encouraging schools to have
fondness for light and loose clothes for boys so as to allow air circulation and freedom for the
limbs (Peter, 2013). Nonetheless, dress reformers have promulgated, a new generation of
gentlemen willing to arise and liberate themselves from the ancient person paving way for the
modern man.

The world over has recognized and accepted the rights of the (Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals,
Transgender, Queer) LGBTQ groups (Butler, 2011). This in itself exerts the fact that there are
varied sexual orientations which must be recognized and accepted (Antonissen, 2015).
Acceptance of these varied orientations necessarily brings shift in the traditional gender roles.
So its no longer male and female world, there other varied sexual orientations which must be
recognized and this in itself brings liberty in the way humanity perceives gender, masculinity of

6Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
feminism. Over the last few years, there has been a notable cultural shift on how gender is
viewed and this has been reflected in the fashion industry. Some models who transgender Lea T
and Andreja Pejic have served to break the barriers between genders and have sparked a dialogue
on fluidity of gender (Barry, 2015). With the inception of the varied sexual orientations, it’s no
longer a male and female world, but rather multiplicity of gender roles has risen giving way for
new trends and perceptions concerning masculinity.
The many social barriers that were erected to divide the feminine and masculine male
genders have slowly disintegrated as the lines dividing the genders have become blurred. Fashion
in the modern world today reflects this growing change and it’s characterized by androgynous
and genderless clothing (Chrisman-Campbell, 2015). Masculinity entails owning your identity
and being a leader but masculinity isn’t entirely a male condition, there are a lot of people who
are not men but they are pillars of strength, confidence and pride (Butler, 2011). Definition of
masculinity in the modern world is evolving to encompass variety of different forms. In the
modern world, masculinity has garnered many pluralities outside the traditional notion of
strength, pride and confidence (Bissinger, 2015). Gradually, the world is broaching the topic of
gender on a very fascinating viewpoint, because gender identity is not tangible, it is a personal
state of mind and it’s unique to every individual.
Varied sexual orientations has served as an eye opener, the boundary that separates
females and males has diminished leaving a gray area. Men do not have to adhere to the
masculinity code which required them to exist at one extremity and this is clearly seen through
the fashion world. The society is now empowered with information and men have the capacity to
identify social ideologies and bring about change willingly (Evans, 2014). There has been a vast
space created for the modern man to build his identity as he would like to. With the inception of

7Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
varied gender orientations genderless fashion is not merely a fashion fad but it’s a platform
through which equality is being progressed amongst different sexes (Contrera, 2015). The new
masculinity is advantageous because the society is no longer viewing individuals through the eye
of the traditional societal limitations of genders; rather people are seen for the strength they
possess whether being men or women.


The tradition perception on masculinity is changing gradually owing to the narrowing
sexual divide between men and women. The rigid demarcation on what is feminine or masculine
has been drastically weathered, and this is evidenced by the increasing trend of genderless
fashions (Peter, 2013). The trend today derives its impetus from young consumers in their thrall,
men unwilling to be deterred by traditional inclinations as they embrace unisex attires because
they are liberated to define what is “manly” in their own terms. With celebrities and fashion
icons joining the wagon, the movement is gaining traction and a measure of cool bringing out an
outgrowth of a loosened-up cultural climate where masculinity is not merely outward appearance
but a matter of individuality. Gender neutrality is encroaching on masculinity, men’s and
women’s looks are becoming indistinct and this trend has gained acceptance by masses, the
modern man wants to be part of the movement.

8Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity

References List

Antonissen, J (2015) Gender-Barbie’ Doorbreekt Stereotypen. De Morgen.
Barry, C. (2015) ‘Gucci’s Alessandro Michele Offers Gender-Flexible Fashion With Lace,
Ruffles And Bows For Men’. National Post. N.p., 2015. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.
BBC News,. (2015) ‘New Australian Passports Allow Third Gender Option – BBC News’. Web. 6
Dec. 2015.
Bissinger, B.(2015) Caitlyn Jenner: The Full Story’. Vanity Fair. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.
‘Bonnefantenmuseum, M.(2015) Fashionclash Gendercodes In Fashion Throughout The
20Th Century. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.
Butler, J.(2011) Gender Trouble. New York: Routledge.
Chrisman-Campbell, K(2015). ‘How Unisex Clothing Became A Symbol Of The 20Th Century’s
Culture Wars’. The Atlantic. Web. 6 Dec. 2015.
Contrera, J.(2015)’Target Will Stop Separating Toys And Bedding Into Girls’ And Boys’
Sections’. Washington Post. Web. 6 Sept. 2015.
DailySabah,.(2015) Fashion Industry Discovers Gender-Neutral Clothing.Web. 6 Dec. 2015.

9Genderless Clothing And Shifting Perception On The Notion Of Masculinity
Del Vecho, G(2015) Gender Blurring, Inside And Outside Of Fashion. The Chronicle. Web. 6
Dec. 2015.
Evans, C. (2014)Fashion And Modernity. Berg Publishers.
Ferla, R. (2015) In Fashion, Gender Lines Are Blurring’ Nytimes.com. Web. 6 Dec 2015.
Joanna, B(2012) Dismembering the Male: Men’s Bodies, Britain and the Great War. Chicago:
University of Chicago Press.
Jill,G.(2011) Fashioning Masculinity: Men’s Only, Consumption and the Development of
Marketing in Twentieth Century. British History10 no. 4 (2011): 457
Peter, M.(2013) May the Best Man Win: Sport, Masculinity, and Nationalism. New York: St.
Martin’s Press.
Peter, E. (2014) Play the Man! Men and Masculinities.DM Publishing.

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