Thursday, September 27, 2012

You Go, Pretty Androgyne: A Fashion Pipe Dream

I know. Considering how often I talk about dresses, corsets, skirts, and hair accessories, this title probably came as a bit of a shock, but hear me out.

I wish I could pull off androgyny.

I simply love the look of it, this fluid clothing choice that lands itself somewhere between our gender stereotypes and stays there, looking fantastic to all and confusing to some. Suits especially catch my eye because they are fantastic.

It's not being able to dress like a man and be seen as a man. I'm a woman and I do not intend to change that. However, there is something appealing to me about slipping, for a while, into the gray areas between society's definitions of shape and style for the genders. I adore menswear (especially period menswear, which, I am certain, comes as no surprise to you, dear readers) and really do wish I could pull it off without looking like I went through puberty midway through dressing myself.

This is not something I've merely idly toyed with, unfortunately. I've looked at the idea of binding and even tried a few methods, but The Girls wouldn't budge. At least, not enough. I've tried on as many pieces of menswear-inspired clothing as possible (especially vests), but nothing ever really suited me unless it was cut so curvaceously that the androgynous look was lost completely. I always look distinctly woman-shaped. My body simply isn't suited to the look.

This, of course, became much more apparent to me when I began to explore subcultural fashion.

Goth was my first subcultural love, and it will forever be something that I enjoy, if not a label I apply to myself or to my wardrobe. It plays with so many themes, and gender is always one of them. This especially applies to young men in makeup, but young women get in on the act, too, and it is fantastic. (Forgive the picture, but the internet was unhelpful at finding outfit shots for me, so this H&M ad is the closest I could find to what I'm talking about here)

Exploring Lolita made me fall in love with androgyny all over again. Kodona and ouji style are just another fantastic romp in the world of gendered fashion, and I adore them. Especially with the historical influence, these two are right up my alley.

But, alas, it is not to be. I have a stocky, wide-hipped frame inherited from my German ancestors and ample breasts on top. This hourglass figure cannot be bound into a rectangle.

So I will watch from the sidelines, fitting clothing for and giving suit advice to my friends of all sexes and gender expressions and wishing that, just once, I could pull off the look. Boy, girl, genderqueer, androgyne, or any other identity, you're all fabulous and I am proud to be the curvy girl in frills and strange barrettes shouting “You go, pretty androgyne!”

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