Gender fluidity in dress has been a rising trend in the fashion industry for awhile now.
Men’s fashion specifically has experienced a shift to being more inclusive and accepting of traditionally more feminine styles. However, this does not always come without criticism.
Although wearing a dress, skirt or extremely feminine fashion may seem intimidating, the notion that fashion needs to be gendered is outdated and not really warranted. Dressing in traditionally feminine fashion trends will not always make your outfit look more feminine but can make a person's style look more alternative, sexy or bold.
If dressing more fluidly is something you are interested in, here are some places to start.
Traditionally feminine colors or color schemes is one of the easiest ways to break gender barriers in your wardrobe. Pinks, purples, reds or lighter colors will often give you a more feminine or softer appearance.
This can also be achieved by dressing in a monochrome or analogous color scheme. Wearing all of one color (particularly lighter or brighter colors like red, blue or purple) will build an outfit that is a little less masculine than some are used to seeing. Lil Nas X achieved this look with a monochromatic red outfit he wore on the cover of Time Magazine.
If dressing in feminine colors isn’t something you are comfortable doing quite yet, try introducing shoes or accessories first. A pink pair of sunglasses or a bucket hat in a bright color is an easy way to add a little color to your outfit that won’t alter the entire outfit.
Patterns and textures
If bright colors aren’t what make you feel confident, prints might be a good place to start. Although florals are a great way to inspire a softer aesthetic, there are a lot of other options as well. Animal prints like zebra, snake skin or leopard can make for a really edgy and sexy look. When looking at stripes, the thinner the stripe, the more feminine it will end up looking. Plaid or bolder patterns can also be super versatile for dressing in edgier or more alternative styles.
Traditionally feminine textures like velvet or lace can go a lot of different directions when it comes to styling them. Although lace is often associated with femininity in fashion, black-colored lace can easily look edgy and give off a more alternative inspired look without being too delicate. Layering fishnets underneath T-shirts will give a new life to something usually worn by women. A solid-colored velvet can add a sultry vibe to any outfit. Not everyone is confident enough yet to wear lace and floral patterns, so a good place to start is with subtle textures. A ribbed, form-fitting sweater or a pair of leather pants might be a place to start if this isn’t something you are comfortable with yet.
Non-binary fashion silhouettes can mean a lot of different things when it comes to dressing more fluidly. The objectification of women and sexualization in women's fashion has indirectly made a lot of men's fashion overly conservative when it comes to bearing skin. In reality, bearing skin does not equate to being feminine. Although it is easy to be deterred from some of these trends, if you feel comfortable in the clothes, there is no reason to not wear them. Crop tops are something that can look flattering on both men and women but traditionally have been seen on more rectangle-shaped bodies. Showing your midriff is by no means exclusive to any gender or body type. Wearing a sweater with an open back is also a great place to start.
As of recently, the 5-inch inseam shorts have become more acceptable in mainstream mens fashion. This is a really great place to start if you are looking for a way to dress a little sexier without sacrificing your masculine look. It can often end up looking more athletic and casual. Opting for a shorter short, whether it’s athletic, denim or just a gym short, can be really flattering on some.
If these options still seem like showing too much skin, try wearing a blazer as your only layer. This will only reveal a minimal amount of skin and once again does not give an overly feminine aesthetic. This will likely give you a sexy but still masculine look. Wearing a chain or necklace with this is really going to draw attention where you want it.
The final way to achieve a less traditional silhouette is something you probably already have in your closet: a belt. Using a belt in a less conventional way or wearing an over-exaggerated belt is an interesting way to play this with your own proportions. By no means will it always result in a more female silhouette, but cinching your belt over your waist instead of your hips will look a lot edgier than wearing it traditionally. Putting it over your jacket or simply opting for a more flashy accessory are all ways to give your wardrobe a lot of variety with the addition of one piece.
A no-brainer way to dress up your aesthetic is with things like bags, hats, sunglasses, shoes and jewelry. Wearing rings, chains or bracelets can easily make your outfit seem more alluring, edgy or delicate depending on the direction you take it. Traditionally, over-accessorizing has been something associated with women's dress, but a lot of the time, these additions are completely functional. Carrying a bag or wearing sunglasses and belts are usually more accommodating than anything else.
If developing your personal style is something you're interested in, looking to more traditionally feminine trends might be a good place to start looking for inspiration. It can add a lot of variety and uniqueness to your wardrobe and will not always result in an androgynous look. Next time you are going shopping, try to look for something in a color or style you normally wouldn’t. Whether it’s a necklace or a brightly colored coat, there is no wrong or right place to start.