History of the Trend: Androgyny

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Elle Suit Collage Fall Runway

Designers interpret androgyny | Photo Credits: 1, 2, 3

When it comes to daily dressing, we all have our wardrobe essentials that we swear by, whether they include a floral dress, a great pair of jeans, or your grandmother's bracelet. Every now and then, though, it's fun to mix and match some of our favorites with some new twists to change things up a bit.

That's why I love the androgynous look for fall. Mixing masculine pieces with feminine flair, it's a great look to try if you're looking for something a little different. Because this trend has so many elements, this week's History of the Trend post will be a little different - I've rounded up some interesting facts on particular items of the androgynous look to give a broad overview. See below to learn about the integral parts of this diverse trend.

Elements of the Androgyny Trend and their History

Orchid Grey- Androgynous Accents

Julie of Orchid Grey elevates her look with androgynous accents

  • The tuxedo or dinner jacket took its name from the exclusive Tuxedo Club which opened in 1886. While tuxedo jackets were originally designed for the high-society men who frequented these clubs, Yves Saint Laurent designed his first dinner jacket for women 80 years later, in 1966.
  • Wingtips and the closely related oxford (which both fall under the category of "brogues") are two shoe styles that really complement this look well. Wingtips take their name from the detailed stitching that appears around the toe, making a "W" shape. For a long time the only difference in wingtips for men and women was the physical size of the shoe, but new colors and materials (and heels!) have now distinguished the two styles.
  • Suspenders started being manufactured in their modern form in the 1820s. "Original designs show suspender straps made of a tightly woven wool (known as 'boxcloth') and attaching as an 'H-back,' meaning they join together to make what looks like an uppercase H." This style evolved into the "X-back" as well as the "Y-back," all three of which are available today. For a laugh, check out this article from People circa 1986, showing teens the "hippest" way to wear their suspenders!
  • An excellent finishing piece for an outfit inspired by this trend is a tie. The necktie has roots all the way back to the 17th century, when King Louis XIV of France took a liking to the bow-tie sort of embellishments Croatian soldiers wore. The tie became mainstream around the time of the Industrial Revolution, thanks to ease of production, and by the 1950s it was said that a man was not dressed if he was without his tie. If you'd like to try one yourself, Tie-a-Tie.net is a great resource to learn how to tie your tie in a myriad of ways.
  • In modern fashion, each of these elements has been adapted and altered for a woman's body. Blazers are more tailored at the waist, ties are made in a myriad of sizes and with whimsical patterns, and tuxedo shirts are nipped in and sometimes feature ruffles and flowy sleeves to better complement the women wearing them.

Why We Still Love This Trend

Androgyny Goes to School

A smart red blazer and bow tie make this street style look pop | Photo Credit

While this entire look may not be for everyone, there are definite aspects of the androgynous trend that can work for multiple style personalities. Here are some reasons to give it a shot:

  • It's eclectic. This trend doesn't have to take over your entire outfit. Consider it a way to add a bit of visual interest to your look while keeping your core outfit the same. Adding a hint of androgyny could be as simple as swapping out your sneakers for a pair of wingtip-style shoes, or wearing some colorful suspenders with your jeans and t-shirt instead of a belt.
  • It's unexpected. The juxtaposition that's achieved from working masculine pieces into a feminine wardrobe is really intriguing, and something that designers continue to be inspired by. Even though we all know that adding a blazer to a dress will give the whole outfit more presence, it's something that we may not think of unless we see it on someone else first. Trust your instincts and know that these small additions will give you a broaderwardrobe from which you can create new looks with less effort.
  • It's powerful. This is is the sort of trend that makes you feel like you can take over the world - in a sophisticated, fashion-forward way. Take a cue from Annie Hall and see if trying out a few of these items doesn't make you feel confident, strong, and fierce!

Your Turn!

What do you think of the androgynous look? Do you have a favorite element? How do you incorporate this trend into your personal wardrobe? Any other trends you'd like us to explore here? Leave a comment!

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