denoting a word or expression that cannot be taken to refer to one gender only.“gender-neutral terms like flight attendant, firefighter, and police officer”
Over the past few years, the LGBT+ community seems to have taken spotlight; with many milestones (such as same-sex marriage becoming legal in all states of America, the transgender community being able to openly serve in the US army, the law against discrimination in the workplace against those in the LGBT community being passed and multiple others) being reached and celebrated it is hard to ignore such a large community! However, as well as the various sexualities, our attention has also been drawn to the various genders such as non-binary (or ‘agender’ as some refer to it), gender-fluid, gender non-conforming, gender-queer as well as the (correct me if I’m wrong) 59 other genders that are less commonly known. So far it seems that the millennial generation is the most open-minded generation, this may be due to some parents teaching their children to mind their own business, accept others how they are and only worry about themselves or it’s just because we have accepted that the world is forever changing and so we need to change with it or be left behind! Society is slowly, and I mean slowly, making it easier for the developing mind to accept themselves (if we push aside the magazines/social media forcing the image of the perfect body upon us) and openly show their personality to the world. As usual, there’s still the negative humans that enjoys making rather silly comments and asking rather silly questions to wind others up, a fairly recent example of this is Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain (click here to see this); while I acknowledge that he is asking a few valid questions and that he is entitled to his own opinions, I also acknowledge that he appears to be purposely asking provocative/fairly stupid questions that are unneeded.
As this is a post about gender-neutral clothing, I thought that I should first supply you with a little bit of history on the gender rules of fashion! gender rules never existed 5000 years ago, as many know the Egyptians and Romans wore fabric draped or wrapped around their bodies, keeping their personal parts hidden; clothing from this period of time had to be light due to the intense heat and so these sheets were made of linen and decorated to the wearers social status and personal taste. Togas, tunics and wraps were easy to construct with the little technology that they had! The Romans needed clothing that allowed them to freely move due to wars, farming and everyday life, soldiers would wear loose-fitting tunics under their breastplates and a pteruges (the leather belt with flaps) that would dangle down and protect the groin and thighs these and the greaves would be the only thing on the males legs. In the 14th century, tailoring appeared. It quickly became unacceptable for men to have their legs out and so they began wearing stockings, the females dresses were long and began to cover up more skin and by the 19th century our good old friend gender specific clothing appeared…men were no longer allowed to wear just stockings and had to cover up with tailored trousers and women’s clothes became restricting with multiple layers and bone-crushing corsets! The rules were not challenged until World War 1 when the women took to the factories as the men were ordered to the fields, women who worked in the Land Army would borrow their husband’s, brother’s or uncle’s trousers for practicality and to keep their expensive dresses clean and undamaged; these trousers would be covered up on breaks or at the end of the day however by skirts as trousers were unfeminine. In the 1920s a few courageous and outgoing women wore trousers as part of their everyday outfit, this slowly became more common in women and soon led to the 1980s power-suit that has become the go-to thought of 80’s female fashion! But why is it so wrong for men to wear skirts and dresses?
Gender neutral/androgynous clothing is clothing that’s neither masculine nor feminine and so males or females (or those that are gender-neutral/gender-fluid/non-binary) are free to wear it without being judged, the garments are generally loose-fitting yet flattering as to not draw attention to specific parts of the body and more to the actual garment itself. With the rise of gender neutrality, many gender neutral brands such as Toogood clothing, TillyAndWilliam, VEEA and Muttonhead have cropped up with celebrities such as Ruby Rose, Cara Delevingne, Jaden Smith and Lady Gaga supporting this style and brands! These gender-free clothes have slowly began to leak in to stores, in 2015 Selfridges constructed a fashion campaign, they turned their Oxford Street, London 3 floored store in to a gender-free building (sprinkled with genderless mannequins) and stocked it only with gender-neutral clothing; this campaign went down extremely well with the public, many people lapping up the products. Schools have also joined in on this new form of freedom, in Sydney, Australia the International Grammar School (a private school) has introduced a new school dress code where anyone can wear skirts, shorts or trousers no matter their gender identity; The gaming world is tagging along for the ride also as Xbox releases the news that avatars (male or female) will be able to wear anything they please whether it’s masculine or feminine!
Garments are genderless, they’re merely coloured pieces of cloth that we use to cover ourselves up with. I don’t know why we have gender rules when it comes to fashion but I’m glad that we are finally erasing them.