Cross-dressing between genders isn’t new. In fact, it had a golden trendsetting stand point in the 80s from Annie Lennox from the Eurythmics, who appeared in an androgynous look in their ‘Sweet Dreams’ video.
Her strong-cut male image is a far outcry from the weak-soft-flowing female. I can strongly bet that her look caused a few rants of complaints at the time. Nevertheless, what she began was soon copied, followed and adopted by many designers and fashionistas alike. The boy-meets-girl look continued in the 90s, especially in the 90’s pop music where girl groups will create a street-fashion adaption to the boy meets girl look incorporating the urban essentials of the hoodie, biker (or Timberland) boots, large logo tees, bandanas, slouched cut shorts and of course denim. Most of pieces from the ‘tomboy’ trend have inspirations from the military and the working class men of the 1930s. T-shirts were more over sized, less make up was used and just like the fellas, girls were careless about their looks.
I can recall that there was a huge trend of the ‘tomboy’ in that decade – when girls were slouched-boyfriend-cut trousers, baseball tees, caps and trainers; I was one of them. In a weird way, my mother used to purchase a fair good amount of boy clothes (including black arrow trainers) which I considered to be for boys.
Fast forward to the 21st century and the look has become very futuristic thanks to La Roux (who surprisingly is also inspired by the Eurythmics), Her mix of renaissance, 80s blitz with her new-wave androgyny is what sets her take of the feminine-masculine trend off.
Janelle Monae’s image is kept sleek and monochrome. The singer has become very popular of her masculine-meets-feminine image. She dives into the US history of the men tuxedo and starched shirt alongside her coiffed hair. Unlike La Roux, Monae still wear heels, studs and make-up. Although, she’s popularly known for her monochrome brogues.
Despite these music celebrities changing the public perception of the masculine-meets-feminine dressing, fashion designers still have an influence on what we’ve worn, we what we wear and what we should be wearing; irrespective of the historic story of the fashion tomboy and the androgynous woman.
The fashion catwalks this season have mastered the art of androgyny to the extent that they’ve swapped common women fabrics such as chifforn, silk and floral prints for the high-class pinstripes, houndstooth and herringbone — fabrics that a woman wouldn’t even dream of wearing. These fabrics have becomes craftily tailored to create female pieces for the sophisicated woman. It’s a risk but many designers have created them to work on a female masterpiece. Take Lanvin who tailored his own creation of the houndstooth pattern in such as way that you can even wear it to the office. Many would argue that Calvin Klein, Maison Martin Margiela have also delivered the same thing with their designer adaption of menswear fabrics. All you need is just to wear a strongly starched white blouse at the bottom.
Otherwise, if you want to continue you personal androgyny style then Rag & Bone’s pin-stripe suit is the best suggestion.
While some designers continue to keep the rigorous stereotypical masculine-feminine silhouette, others have tonned down the strong vivid lines, and have created a more relaxed approach. From the oversized double breasted coats to the slouchy trousers, our lady is thinking more like a man…with blazers boyfriend cut.
In terms of the colours well, predominately, there’re elements of neutral tonnes such as grey, navy, cream, brown, black and white. However, this DOES NOT MEAN that you can’t be fabulous with a pop of colour seen on the catwalks of Paul Smith, Rag & Bone and Michael Kors’. If you love that yellow doubled-breast blazer then buy it. Otherwise, it’s easier to ask your male siblings from some unwanted blazers (usually most of them are pinstriped).
So what’s our girl feeling this season? Well she’s inspired, empowered and motivated to make it in a ‘man’s world’. Just like Jessie J said ‘I can do like a brother, do it like a dude, grab my c***** wear my cap low like you’.
Whatever a man wears, a woman wears better.