You have heard of feminine males, the metrosexual look and the most popular, the androgynous look. This is a term which is used practically every year on the runways, be it the S/S fashion weeks or the A/W fashion weeks; be it in Milan, Paris, New York, London or our very own India.
This has been one of the most popular trends since the early 1900s and has survived the circle of fashion till today by not going out of style or being called ‘she is sooo last year. God’, even once. But first, a little lesson on what androgyny actually means and how androgynous is pronounced- Our favourite source (Wikipedia) describes androgyny as – ‘A combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Sexual ambiguity may be found in fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle.’ Since this is a post on fashion we are going to concentrate on the ‘ambiguity in fashion’.
Plain and simple- The Androgynous (pronounced- An-dro-je-nus) Look is a term usually referring to females who dress up in button down shirts, blazers, and brogues (can be either oxfords or wingtips. Can be flat or with block heels). Would you believe that you have Queen Elizabeth I, Katharine Hepburn and the working women in WWII to thank for, for this look? The Queen being literally the first woman to be given empowerment in the world gave her gender a kind of hope to fight for their right and liberty.
Hollywood actress, Katharine Hepburn, was not far behind when she was spotted wearing button down shirts with pants. This obviously must have created some ruckus amongst the can-can sporting women because they probably couldn’t imagine ‘someone walking without a tiny umbrella, dahling’. The world, unfortunately, witnessed WWII but with it came working women wearing shirts and pants to work because it was much more practical than sporting a floor length dress (maxi?).
Obviously, with the rise in popularity of women ditching the skirts and literally wearing the pants in the house, the designers could no longer do an ostrich and bury their heads in the sand. This gave birth to the first dinner jacket for women in the 1960s designed by Yves Saint Laurent. Dior was not far behind in creating an androgynous look which created a frenzy amongst the female gender (I mean c’mon. A new trend to shop for always creates a frenzy. Even the cave women would have fought for adorning that saber-toothed tiger’s skin, no?).
The world was slowly entering what we now call, the retro era – the flower power age. This time span of 20 years showed men embracing their feminine side with longer hair and tighter jeans and women with shorter hair (think pixie!!) with shirts and high waisted pants. Obviously, the Queen of Pop, Madonna, ensured that the world would agree that the androgynous look was easy to pull off and was the sexiest thing on this planet, next to a black Ferrari (yes, I said black Ferrari).
Fast forward some bajillion years, and you have shoes, pants, shirts, blazers all tailored to fit and flatter the female body type. If you are looking for something cool and casual, opt for a block coloured pair of shorts with a striped shirt, tucked in. Wear a well fitting blazer and opt for flat soled brogues with socks. Experiment with a messenger bag or a hobo. Leave your hair loose and/ or wear a hat.
Our tip – choose bold colours. No pinks or anything with flowers on it. For a more formal do, wear a pair of straight pants (make sure for the formal occasion you choose more of blacks and greys with a white shirt), a crisp white button down shirt with a blazer and heeled brogues. Don’t forget to wear a necktie with this outfit. To complete the look, tie your hair in a bun and opt for a red lipstick. Having thick eyebrows (which is the IT trend anyway) seals the androgynous look
So start shopping in the male section and see a whole new world of shopping which you probably thought was the most boring part of the store. Trust us, it is not.