Unisex Fashion: Gender Bending Trends Of The 20th Century


Ever felt guilty about nabbing your boyfriend’s hoodies from time to time? Well, don’t. 2013 is the time for a regalia renaissance and the time to ditch gender trends like girly garments and hunky habiliments.

Instead, why not experiment with the quirkiest trend to grace the catwalk? The androgynous trend; a feisty fusion of the two genders, proving that you don’t always have to be pretty and prim in a dress or sleek and sophisticated in a suit. It’s becoming all the more fashionable to take a dip inside the other gender’s wardrobe. But how did the style evolve? And just how do we recreate it for ourselves?

Beatniks and Berets

Wardrobe dipping commenced in the 50’s with the super hipster ‘Beatnik’ and ‘New Wave’ trends that were made popular by the youth of the time. The Beatniks followed the literary and social movement, The Beatnik Generation, and were not ones to follow typical conventions.

Today, they are an iconic symbol of American anti-conformist culture and are synonymous with coffee shops, poetry and experimentation. Of course, unisex fashion was just one form of transgression and the breaking of boundaries. Today, the trend has prominence in fashion culture with high-waisted pants and stripes.

Are your fashion feet tapping to the Beatnik beat? To totally recreate the look, purchase some cool berets, polo necks and dark shades. It’s all about suave sophistication and dark clothing.

Waistcoats And Witticisms

Diane Keaton’s wardrobe in Annie Hall was a cultural catalyst for the androgynous trend. Keaton rocked previously male territory with pants, waistcoats, suits and hats. Today, ladies everywhere shun the skirt and opt for pants and jackets. Hats off to Annie Hall’s stylist, Ruth Morley, for igniting a trend.

Nab Keaton’s look with collars, jumpsuits and baggy pants. Alternatively, pair a simple dress or shirt with a jacket for a super stylish outfit, perfect for the office or summer soirees.

Glam Rock And Glitter

The ‘New Wave’ trend revolutionized music by meshing together aspects of punk rock, mod culture and glam rock and by the experimentation of electronic synthesizers. ‘New Wave’ musicians amplified the unisex trend as male musicians experimented with make-up, jewellery and fitted garments. And thus “guy-liner” became a part of our vocabulary.  Today, previously ‘feminine’ products have been adopted by men such as skincare products and jewellery and as a result, the ‘metro sexual’ man was born: a heterosexual male ‘in touch’ with his feminine side.

Grunge And Plaid

Androgyny was made all the more fashionable by Nirvana as the band introduced plaid shirts and dungarees into the fashion world.

Nirvana’s grungy style was adopted by guys and girls alike as Cobain rocked the look on stage and in music videos; most iconically, the music video for ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. The plaid trend is also noticeable in the 1990s’ hit film Clueless, prompting a host of youngsters to raid stores for plaid prints. In addition, the 90s was the decades for glasses, particularly big bulky tinted frames, popularized by stars such as Justin Timberlake.

Jesy Nelson of Little Mix fame was recently spotted in a 90s style dungaree. To steal her look, wear over a white cropped top, shorts and trainers. Pair with some grungy jewellery and you’re ready to go.

Plaid is a hot look for any season so try a simple plaid shirt or skirt. To channel the 90s shades trend, don’t think expensive. Cheap designer glasses will help you achieve the look. It’s all about having fun!

How are you wearing the Androgynous trend?

Jennifer Leung thoroughly enjoys reading fashion magazines and blogs. When not writing, she enjoys reading detective novels and watching horror movies.


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