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The Creative Issue – News for Creatives | March 1, 2021

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Girls Will Be Boys - The Art Of Androgyny

Girls Will Be Boys – The Art Of Androgyny
Lucinda Bayly

As I have aforementioned in previous articles of mine, I am no stranger to dressing like a boy.  Gender and sexuality have always been things that have tested the fashion world, and it’s plausible that this gender-bending moment in fashion goes beyond merely gender.  For me, androgyny has always been a source of interest and intrigue.  Fashion and beauty have always been one of the most discernible indicators of gender, and have continuously been beneficial for society in preserving or undermining particular figurative limitations.

As society’s boundaries are becoming blurred, so are the masculine to feminine boundaries.  Women’s fashion is starting to go down a very masculine road, and it’s not just recently that such a relaxed position was taken on gender blurring.  In the 20’s there was Coco Chanel, in the 60’s there was Stevie Nicks, and in the 70’s there was David Bowie.

Throughout history, the boundaries of what’s acceptable are becoming increasingly faint, and the ideals behind androgyny have become a large-scale fashion trend, not only on the catwalks, but also on the streets.  Androgyny has been completely infiltrated into mainstream fashion culture.



The most interesting thing about the idea of androgyny in the modern day, is that society’s definition of what’s ‘acceptable’, has drastically changed through the era’s.  In turn, the androgyny game has to be upped considerably in order for it to be noticed.  Cue a plethora of androgynous models, including Freja Beha, Andrej Pejic, Agyness Deyn, and Erika Linder.


Pejic and Lindner in “Battle Of The Sexes” editorial, where Pejic plays the woman and Linder plays the man.

One minute, society was viewing a full-figure female strutting down the catwalk, reminiscent of Marilyn Monroe, until suddenly the 90’s waif model created a critical turning point in gendering fashion.  Female models became almost genderless.   To add fuel to the androgyny fire, we found a plethora of these waif-like models in the 2000’s had embellished themselves with edgy tattoos and piercings, a boyish attitude, and a sexual confidence.  Freja Beha Erichsen is openly bisexual, alluring to both sexes.  Andrej Pejic too identifies with bi-sexuality, adding to the idea of him being completely genderless. It gets confusing, I know.

Like all things fashion, the trend of androgyny took over the fashion scene, all guns blazing, and then faded into the normalcy of every day trends.  While 2011 and 2012 were completely focused on tomboyish charm, 2013 focused back on the fashion while adopting elements of dandyism.  Designers were seen mixing oversized blazers with full skirts, and tuxedo styling, balanced back with structured heels.



The collections shown in Spring 2013 created a more equalized ideal.  Instead of complete gender detachment, the idea seemed to be to sexualize manliness within females, while keeping an element of femininity sexiness to create equilibrium.

When it comes to working a little menswear into a women’s look in 2013, the opportunities put before us are now endless.  The thing to remember now is that it’s not about an all-out single gender look anymore, making it much easier, and less bold to incorporate a style like this into one’s everyday wardrobe.  To say that fashion has any number of ‘rules’, is really all academic.  There are no such things as fashion rules in modern day society; everything is open to interpretation, including gender.