The fashion industry has made immense progress towards acceptance of all individuals’ clothing preferences. Whether it’s clashing, eccentric accessories or wild patterns, people are beginning to find appreciation in styles all across the board. One thing fashion has yet to fully embrace, though, is the blurring of gender lines. The term “borrowed from the boys” is strictly assigned to women’s tailored blazers, blouses and flannels. While men rarely get the option to borrow essentials from women. Boyfriend jeans are simply a looser fit of denim, and skinny jeans for men are often frowned upon. Those who are simply looking for ungendered clothing have to search far and wide for these styles. While fashion has become more inclusive, a man wearing a dress or a woman in a suit still draws unnecessary attention because of the binaries that have held on tight to the clothes we wear.
“I think that it’s weird that it’s okay for women to wear men’s clothes in this way when you can still be feminine or have authority, but I feel the other way around is seen as odd,” Align editor Hannah Steinkopf-Frank says. Multiple students at UO, such as Hannah, have experimented, strayed, and revamped their styles.
Most retail stores seem to have an invisible wall that separates the men’s from the women’s sections. There is somewhat of an unspoken rule of staying where your assigned gender is labeled.
Her friend Maxine’s style is self-proclaimed “prep school dropout with some street wear,” and Hannah Steinkopf-Frank, describes hers as “a teacher on sabbatical” (“probably middle school or high school”). Maxine appreciates how eclectic Hannah’s style is, and Hannah is confident she would know exactly what Maxine would and wouldn’t wear, and finds her style to be strongly defined. The two both find the idea of gendered clothing contradictory and pointless.
But these societal boundaries rarely stop them from expressing themselves. “I shop in every section of the store except for little girls, because I can’t fit into that,” says Maxine. “I’ll try things on regardless of how they’re labeled and if I think that they’ll fit and I’ll like how they look.”
Align photo editor Miranda Sarah Einy describes her style as “tinges of masculinity and femininity combined into one.” Watches and accessories keep her detail-oriented mind at ease. Her friend Jeff Knight, a cinema studies junior, can put his style into three words: florals, reds and sweaters. But they too see complications in how style is gendered.
“I always hate it, because I feel like male’s selection of clothes is always very limiting,” says Jeff. “It get’s obnoxious when every cute thing in the store is for a girl.”
Miranda on the other side wishes men’s wear could be cut for women too. Her mom’s trend of shopping in both departments inspired Miranda to follow suit.
As for the future of the fashion, she is hoping to see wider variety in all styles. “I want to see a massive revolution in the representation in the fashion industry. I think it’s time that we represent the all, instead of the few.”