Gender Bending Is Back in Fashion

Men's, women's, who cares? young dressers tell market
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 19, 2009 11:20 AM CST
Men are dipping into their mother's closets as gender blurring becomes accepted, even "cool."   (©bareknuckleyellow)
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(Newser) – Call it the new cross-dressing: Young fashionistas are exhibiting a willful disregard for whether items of clothing are “men’s” or “women’s,” mixing and matching what works for them into an androgynous personal statement. So while one young clotheshorse allows he might not don a skirt, “a long drapey shirt with really tight pants” is fine, he tells the New York Times. And the trend has percolated up to runway fashion, where one retailer says that “the more successful designers are the ones that try to bridge the gap between the sexes.”

Though the androgynous look was popular in the 1970s, most feel the current trend is less rebellious. These days, one psychologist says, “gender blurring is not only acceptable but cool.” And even utilitarian: “It’s a way of breaking down sexualized relationships,” says a woman who dips into the men’s aisle for work, “to find a common ground.” But don’t expect it to last, says one expert. “To carry it off, you need the physique of an adolescent boy,” and youth-only trends aren’t “going to be economically sustained.”