How does gender affect fashion?


Beck Iannucci

I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot the past few weeks. A friend of mine is struggling with their gender identity and brought up fashion. It made me think of a conversation I had with my best friend a few months ago. She brought up the fact that men’s fashion had skirts and dresses for centuries. Sure, it stopped in the 16th century, but that’s a long time. She also called attention to the wigs they used to wear. Now I frequently wear wigs so I don’t think much about it. Has there been a decline in men doing so? I guess they don’t announce it or wear funky colors like I do. I’m just wondering if that’s something that people actually look down upon. What an odd thing to be upset about. The last part of her text stated that high heels were originally made for men. That’s something I found to be interesting. There seems to be backlash on the internet when a man wears heels — especially if he’s straight. It’s bizarre that people assume someone’s closeted because they’re wearing high heels. It would, however, be wonderfully ironic if the fact was true. I Googled it and sure enough, she remembered correctly. High heels were made for male soldiers. The times changed in such a way that men’s clothing became women’s clothing. If anything, this supports the idea that clothing shouldn’t be gendered in the first place.

But how does clothing appear to have a gender? I feel masculine in ripped jeans which is weird. They were marked as women’s jeans but I definitely don’t feel like a woman, much less a feminine one. Yet someone else can put on that same pair of jeans and feel differently. Similarly, I don’t feel feminine when I wear a skirt. I like to twirl and I love how comfortable they are, but a skirt never makes me feel like a woman.

In some ways this is wonderful. It shows how everyone experiences the world differently. There is some element of beauty in that. However, as someone that likes a set answer to everything, it can be frustrating that not everything has a category. As we continue to live out our lives a lot of boxes stop fitting. Maybe one day we won’t even try to categorize everything. We’ll simply live out our lives.

So how does gender affect fashion? Who knows? It depends on the person. The important thing is that you continue to wear what makes you comfortable and happy.