Innovations in non-gendered clothing
January 31, 2013 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Most androgynous clothing styles skew towards the masculine. I'm trying to work out some ways might it be possible to go in the other direction. Specifically, if you have or have wanted to shift towards a more feminine presentation, what kind of clothing do you wish you could find?

I'm an artist and fashion designer, working on a collection that will be more of an art project than a commercial venture. All perspectives (trans, genderqueer, people who just want skirts to have pockets) welcome!
posted by velebita to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (24 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A kilt, or kilt-like skirt. Ideally one that you could lengthen or shorten the hem (not quite sure how that would work, logistically). So if you want something a little longer and maybe more formal, that's do-able, but if you want to shorten it for more laid-back or even sporty presentations, that should be do-able too. Make it reversible for even more options (day/night)
posted by LN at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

I find Matt Smith's style to be fairly androgynous/feminine. It's mostly in the cut of shirts he wears--blousey tees with boatnecks or deep v-necks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:13 AM on January 31, 2013

Best answer: Even without mentioning items of clothing that don't even exist for men (skirt, dress), men's clothes just have so few... forms, I guess, or silhouettes? Women's clothes have so many different sleeve lengths, inseam lengths, hem circumferences, neck shapes, fasteners, etc. than men's clothing does.

Obviously I'm talking about mainstream men's clothing -- what you might find at a department store.
posted by Rock Steady at 11:18 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

Add pockets to your skirts, and you will make so many people happy.
posted by jb at 11:23 AM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]

In Asia androgynous dress has been happening for many hundreds of years, and Western dress is encroaching on it. A sarong and a shalwar kameez can be seen as innovative, though, because Western dress is appropriating and integrating some of these styles.
posted by Mistress at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

More clothing based on salwaar-kameez would be nice.
posted by wens at 11:27 AM on January 31, 2013 [8 favorites]

Best answer: what kind of clothing do you wish you could find?

Honestly, I think this is the sort of clothing I gravitate toward. I turn down pretty much anything that is movement restricting and I like stuff that is very practical, but I also like bright colors and soft things and for things to hang right on my curvy body. Here are things I would like to see more of...

Pants that have legitimate pockets made out of a lightweight natural fiber that also have a flattering silhouette.

Shoes that have no heel and are great for walking, are funky looking, but also dainty and come in pretty colors. (These are my favorite shoes ever, but the style has sadly been discontinued.)

A-line skirts that have pockets and enough fabric to keep everything covered when I move around, out of a material heavy enough not to fly up in the breeze, but also with cool patterns.

Military style coats that have some froof. (Like the one I have now.)
posted by phunniemee at 11:29 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Tight t-shirts, drapey t-shirts, deep V t-shirts, super-skinny jeans, non-wintry scarves, and man bags are all examples of men's fashion borrowing from women's fashion.
posted by acidic at 11:29 AM on January 31, 2013 [3 favorites]

As a woman who presents in a mostly feminine-typical way, this is what I wish I could find more of:

- T-shirts that are neither a tightly ringed crew neck nor a deep v neck, but more of an "open neck". Actually, the ones Matt Smith is wearing in those pictures PhoBWanKenobi posted are exactly what I mean. (Also, spoiler alert, there is one company that reliably makes the type of neck I'm talking about, and it is unfortunately American Apparel)

- Button Down shirts constructed so as not to gape in the bust. I'm actually a relatively flat-chested lady and still have to check to make sure in the dressing room, and then forever worry about what bra I'm wearing.

- Pockets pockets pockets pockets. On dresses and skirts especially. Also, why do men get those useful inner pockets on jackets, and women don't?

- Sneakers in colors that are not pink or purple or pastel. I mostly wear unisex sneakers like Converse because I hate the female-sized alternatives from most companies.
posted by Sara C. at 11:29 AM on January 31, 2013 [7 favorites]

Oh geez, and sweaters with sleeves that GO ALL THE WAY TO MY WRISTS. I have a number of sweater dresses (sweater=good when it's cold out) that have sleeves that stop at 3/4 length. WHY. IT IS COLD. I WANT SLEEVES DAMMIT. These are so hard to find.
posted by phunniemee at 11:31 AM on January 31, 2013 [10 favorites]

speaking of sweaters... I think cowl necks would be a good sorta feminized but not too weird for a guy look.
posted by ansate at 11:34 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Asymmetrical necks and tunics. I don't know why that immediately comes to me, but I find them very appealing in fashion.
posted by Sophie1 at 11:46 AM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I find a lot of Asian male fashion to be feminine-androgynous.

Skinny jeans
Drapey cardigans
Fitted cardigans
Dolman sleeves
Tall boots
Slim shoes with small heels
Fitted jumpers?
posted by specialagentwebb at 11:57 AM on January 31, 2013 [5 favorites]

Casual shoes where the sole has a distinct separation between the heel and toebox.
Small patterns on bright or light backgrounds.
Polka dots. For some reason polka dots and swiss dotting are much more extensively used in women's and girls' clothing.
posted by VelveteenBabbitt at 11:59 AM on January 31, 2013

Best answer: Have you asked this at You might get some good answers there, too.
posted by needs more cowbell at 12:36 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks and keep the answers coming, they are all very helpful! looks great.
posted by velebita at 12:58 PM on January 31, 2013

The people behind Genderfork also have started Genderplayful Marketplace.
posted by divabat at 1:40 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

I have seen more and more men wearing high heels with daily wear -- not explicitly "draggy" or fanciful, just a great pair of black high-heeled boots. It can really change the silhouette of a look.
posted by decathexis at 1:46 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Hey, remember Multiples, from the 80s? Those pieces were often styled on both men and women. Man, I miss the 80s. Maybe because I was 13 and covered in colorful drapey jersey.
posted by houseofdanie at 4:11 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

This article is relevant -- and mentions drop-crotch pants. I mean, they're pants, but ...unpantsed.
posted by batter_my_heart at 7:00 PM on January 31, 2013 [2 favorites]

Something I have never seen and want - round-collared dress shirts that would look awesome with pearls. My ideal look is a men's suit with that round-collared feminine shirt, ventless (tunic) suit jacket, the pearls, and sensible 4" heels. Bonus points for a double-breasted ventless that accents B-cup breasts.

It is terribly difficult to find off-the-shoulder tops that don't look badly distorted on me (usually the fault is too narrow sleeves and next is lack of taper from shoulder to waist).

Thank you, thank you, for considering this niche!
posted by jet_silver at 9:17 PM on January 31, 2013

Elbow length sleeves, boat neck shirts always strike me as feminine. Boots over jeans. Necklaces with simple pendants. Shirts that stop at the hips and cling there (thus revealing belly/muffin top when the wearer does anything at all). Cap sleeves. Those slightly blousy cuffed shorts. A dude who catches my bus wears his skinny jeans scrunched up to capri length (they're also burgundy coloured) and that always feels feminine too. Ballet flats aren't androgynous but they scream feminine.
posted by geek anachronism at 11:26 PM on January 31, 2013

OMG houseofdanie: my sister and I are always bemoaning the fact that the Multiples/Units thing didn't just explode and gobble up the whole demented fashion industry. Comfy! Inexpensive! Interchangeable! Personalizable! Yes! Bring it baaaaaack! True, you do end up looking like someone from one of the Star Trek TNG episodes, but that could be a feature not a bug.
posted by SinAesthetic at 6:43 AM on February 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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