For years and years, fashion has been split into groups of what is appropriate and what is not, what is for women and what is for men. Recently, the fluidity of fashion and the acceptance of this fluidity has been more visible. With male celebrities walking the red carpet in a skirt, wearing makeup and jewellery. Women wearing suits, cutting their hair shorter, wearing more oversized garments. The 2019 Met Gala on 'Notes on Camp' was a groundbreaking phenomena to highlight the fun and fluidity of fashion and expression. But, how far along are we to really, truly see the impact of fluid fashion, and why is it important?
Harry Styles is a fashion and cultural icon and has been for over a decade now. Since his solo career soared, it is evident how his fashion has developed alongside his own personal development. The infamous Vogue cover in 2020 displays Styles in multiple dresses and skirts accompanied by painted nails and jewellery. All items listed were conventionally linked to femininity and womanhood, but Styles bashes the gender norms and societal norms by front-paging one of the world's biggest magazines. This may not seem like a big deal to some, however, having such a high-profile and respected male celebrity show off the fluidity of fashion and sexuality is groundbreaking.
Being aware that sexuality and fashion are both fluid and having fun with them is something to admire and inspire. Styles says 'once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play,” he said. “I’ll go in shops sometimes, and I just find myself looking at the women’s clothes thinking they’re amazing. It’s like anything – anytime you’re putting barriers up in your own life, you’re just limiting yourself.' And, he's correct. Just because a woman shops in the designated men section and vice versa doesn't define your sexuality or personality. Fashion is there to be played with and experimented with, not to wholly define.
Similarly to what Styles has said, clothes have no gender. Of course, in some cases clothes are manufactured and designed to fit the male anatomy and also different female body types for example. We get petite, tall, hourglass, muscle fit - the list goes on. Yet, we shouldn't restrict ourselves to the barriers of gendered clothing. For someone who loves to wear oversized t-shirts, the men's section in stores have a much wider range of oversized t-shirts than the women's sections supplies (plus, they are always miles cheaper, too!). It can be scary breaking these barriers, even for something as simple as an oversized t-shirt, but wearing a men's t-shirt does not define you or your sexuality, neither does a man wearing a skirt. There needs to be freedom and liberation when it comes to fashion, and blurring the lines and barriers to become much more fluid in the ways generations experiment with clothing is a huge step.
Not only does this relate to clothes; hairstyles are another way that have been blurring the lines between conventional gender norms and appearance. More and more women are cutting their hair short, and men are growing it longer. Something so minuscule is actually paving the way society changes and reacts to gender and appearance. Cutting the dead ends of a dead ideology. Re-sculpting the hyper-feminine and the toxic masculine with something as simple as chopping your locks is turning revolutionary. We cannot be revolutionaries if we are succumbing to traditionalism.
Cutting the dead ends of a dead ideology.
The relationship between fashion and sexuality are blurring, as society is becoming more aware to the fact that fashion is gender-less. Thanks to the likes of Harry Styles and Billie Eilish, society and media are becoming further aware of the fun that can be had with fashion. There are no rules!
Experimenting with fashion can be scary, especially in the world of TikTok and Instagram where micro-trends are consuming the high street stores and followers are lingering to judge. However, fashion is such a fun way to show off your own identity and what you like. Fashion is just one of the ways to define your personality and mood - and that should be fun and not restricting. If you want to wear a skirt, wear one, if you want to wear trousers, wear them! At the end of the day, everyone is concerned with their own clothes to even have time to judge you! Have fun with it!