When we think about fashion, we tend to think in very gendered terms. As such, most style guides are targeted exclusively towards men or towards women, not both. In reality, though, style is more complex than that, and gender-neutral looks have grown in popularity in recent years. While a style guide for men or women might be relevant to some then, fashion savvy types know that to stand out on the street, it’s important to mix things up.
Sneakers are a practical component of any wardrobe, but when it comes to honing an androgynous look, not just any pair of shoes will do. Instead, opt for a classic sneaker brand like Converse All Stars or a basic skate shoe like slip-on Vans depending on your style. What you don’t want are running shoes; those are for exercising, not for showing off your fashion expertise.
A Cool Carry-All
For years now, the gender-neutral carry-all of choice was a canvas tote bag or similar, often branded with the logo from a local independent business or from a distinctive cultural institution, like The Stand of The New Yorker. Now that everyone has acquired a dozen or so totes, though, it’s time for an upgrade, and that’s where the backpack comes in. So, what should you replace it with?
A sturdy but versatile leather backpack is both fashion-forward and appropriate for a range of settings. It’s also a better choice if you’re going to be carrying anything heavy, since a backpack will distribute the weight across both shoulders.
A Basic Blazer
Like so many other androgynous wardrobe staples, a blazer is a must-have, if only for practical reasons. Whether paired with other basics like an oxford shirt and slacks for a job interview, or combined with less conventional pieces – think an oversized blazer with shorts or a mini-dress – a blazer in an endlessly flexible piece that will yield a lifetime of wear.
A Work Hard Jacket
Most of us don’t want to do yard work or other hard labor, but that doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the style. That’s why chore jackets are so popular. While they can take a beating around the yard or on a hike, they also add a hard edge to softer styles and pair well with staples like jeans, khakis, and work pants. Many wearers also choose to size up this item, which makes it easy to swap between friends or layer in the winter.
Consider The Details
It’s easy to describe a relatively plain item like a solid-colored t-shirt or straight leg jeans as gender neutral, but once you add more details, people tend to begin differentiating. Why, though? After all, one of the major changes redefining fashion over the last few years is a blurring of such lines. Don’t be afraid to choose pieces with unconventional details like lace or embroidery with confidence, because these features really are for anyone. More importantly, these elements are a great way to express more of your personality through your wardrobe.
Gender-neutral style has been around for years, but at this point it’s not just here to stay; it’s at the heart of many brands’ mission and even more people’s personal style. How will you rock these androgynous staples?