Harry Styles has transformed from a teenage music heartthrob to a fashion icon. Recently, he became the first man to feature solo on the cover of Vogue magazine. He modeled a periwinkle Gucci gown on the cover while flaunting many stereotypical feminine looks within the pages.
This isn’t the first time the former One Direction star has donned outfits considered feminine. From vibrant manicures to subtle pearl necklaces and ruffled lace shirts, the What Makes You Beautiful singer is a front runner when it comes to breaking gender-defining stereotypes.
As quoted in the magazine, Styles said, "You can never be overdressed. There's no such thing. Now I'll put on something that feels flamboyant, and I don't feel crazy wearing it - Clothes are there to have fun with and experiment with and play with. When you take away 'There's clothes for men, and there's clothes for women,' once you remove any barriers, obviously you open up the arena in which you can play."
However, the iconic Vogue Harry Styles Magazine cover brings up the question, "Is gender-fluid fashion entering the mainstream?" To answer this, one must understand what gender-fluid fashion means, where it came from and what it aims to achieve.
The newest buzzword in the fashion fraternity, gender-fluid fashion, is gaining momentum as the go-to style for many. But what exactly is gender-fluid fashion?
Gender-fluid fashion is not bound by the traditional ideas of masculinity and femininity. It merges masculine and feminine styles to create an alternative personality that does not ascribe to binary definitions of gender. The trend can include skirt-wearing men, who don't hesitate to show a more flamboyant side, to women in pantsuits, breaking away from the set definition of femininity.
Although gender-fluid fashion may seem like a reasonably new idea with the Vogue Harry Styles magazine taking center stage, the truth is far from it. Gender fluidity has been around for thousands of years. The earliest examples of gender-fluid fashion are ancient Grecian theatre art, where men dressed in women's clothing to portray female characters. The same trend continued during the Renaissance era, where men performed women's roles in Shakespearean plays, an experimentation of gender-fluid style that continues even today.
Perhaps that most prominent spokesperson for gender-fluid fashion was the 20th century music industry when gender-neutral fashion was thrust into the limelight for the first time. The century's most significant icons, like Marc Bolan, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and Prince, all experimented with daring styles that didn't stick to the set definition of masculinity. Their styles became as iconic as them, defining their personality and creating gender fluidity when the term was relatively unheard of.
Gender-fluid fashion, heralded by the Vogue Harry Styles magazine, sure seems to be enjoying a moment in the limelight. From Jaden Smith's Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2016 womenswear campaign in a skirt to Bollywood's very own Ranveer Singh's ghagra look and floral pants, challenging gender norms seems to be trending.
Not only TV and movie personalities, but social media influencers too have hopped onto the wagon of gender-fluid fashion. While male influencers have picked up make-up brushes to give wings to their dreams, female stars are creating stylish looks with pantsuits, tuxedos, bell-bottoms, and cargos.
The explosion of the #femboy hashtag on TikTok is another example of how gender-fluid fashion is picking up steam. Vogue Harry Styles magazine edition was just one of the defining moments in gender-fluid style, showcasing to a broader audience that experimenting with gender-neutral and non-binary trends is not taboo anymore.
The Vogue Harry Styles magazine cover saw the singer sporting a dreamy Gucci gown; however, he is not the only one embracing a gender-fluid identity. Celebrities from all walks of life have adopted gender-fluid fashion as their norm. Here are a few examples of non-binary styles that prove gender-fluid fashion has hit the mainstream, hard and fast.
Jaden Smith, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith’s son, appeared in Louis Vuitton's Spring/Summer 2016 Womenswear campaign, flaunting a skirt.
The newest crush among young adults, The Kissing Booth star Jacob Elordi took a huge step away from his masculine character and appeared on the cover of Man About Town magazine wearing a corset teamed with earrings.
Singer Yungblud admits to feeling a little sexier when he dons female silhouettes, thereby experimenting with gender-fluid fashion that defines his style.
Ranveer Singh's quirky style is even more colorful with the addition of gender-fluid silhouettes, like leggings, skirts and other vibrant feminine prints, making him the most stylish Indian celebrity in recent times.
Is gender-fluid fashion here to stay? With the way it has captured the mainstream, it seems very likely.