Gender-Neutral Dress Ideas: A Designer’s Guide
The fashion world has finally caught up with the gender-inclusive movement. Displaying empathy, sensitivity and compassion, more and more designers are coming up with collections that eschew gender connotations and embrace the non-binary identities of the wearers. Gender-neutral fashion is garnering interest as more and more wearers become comfortable expressing themselves as who they are.
Considering that gender-neutral fashion is still at a nascent stage, dress ideas can be challenging to dream up. It helps if designers first stock up on their knowledge of clothing styles that incorporate unisex elements and the staples of a gender-neutral wardrobe. This knowledge along with an understanding of their customers’ mindset will help them come up with thoughtful designs.
Gender-Neutral Clothing Styles
Certain clothing styles are more gender-fluid than others. Items of clothing that follow these styles can be easily incorporated into gender-fluid ensembles. These pieces of clothing also provide designers with the inspiration to create other kinds of clothes that incorporate similar features.
The following are some gender-neutral clothing styles:
- Streetwear: Casual, comfortable pieces of clothing like loose tees and trousers, jeans, baseball caps, oversized hoodies, and chunky sneakers constitute what is commonly known as streetwear.
- Corporate Wear: Corporate wear consists of shirts, trousers, and overalls. The objective of this dressing style is to project a look of efficiency that befits an office environment. It is not surprising that many items of clothing that conform to this style are deliberately designed to be gender-fluid.
- Goth Clothing: Gothic fashion wear is conspicuous for the homogeneous features of the different items of clothing. Stark black clothes and leather are some common features of Goth clothes that strip away almost all gender-specific connotations.
- Glam Rock Clothing: Jumpsuits, satin shirts, velvet sports jackets, leather jackets, flared trousers, and silk scarves are the signature clothing items of the glam rock style. The emphasis is on glitter and color and creating an androgynous look. This is understandable considering that glam rock musicians created larger-than-life personas and lived their lives playing out the avatars they had created for themselves. They wore clothing that didn’t take anything away from their personalities.
7 Essentials for a Gender-Neutral Wardrobe
Gender-fluid clothing has evolved from the days when almost every item of attire had a baggy or blousey look. Today, gender-neutral clothing lines do not shy away from being bold and creative and offer fashionable choices with silhouette and style.
Individuals who prefer to dress without conforming to a particular gender still want to factor in their personal styles and create a unique look. The following seven pieces of clothing are essential to build a gender-neutral wardrobe:
1. White Button-Down and White Tee
Yes, both these pieces of clothing have their places in a gender-fluid wardrobe.
A white button-down is a classic piece and extremely versatile. It pairs well with other pieces of clothing to create multiple attire combinations. It has a breezy casual look but combined with a tailored waistcoat, a colorful tie, and loose drawstring trousers, it creates an easy-on-the-eye semi-formal attire.
A white tee can be paired with jeans, trousers, and bike shorts. And a white-tee-and-jeans ensemble need not be boring! Those who want to tone down the edge of masculinity from their attire can wear a white tee with a pair of mom jeans, a few pieces of gold jewelry, and chunky dad sneakers to create an androgynous look.
An oversized hoodie not only screams comfort but also slays the casual look. This piece of clothing is ideal for anyone who does not want to emphasize their curves. The hoodie can be paired with structured pieces.
An oversized blazer is also an essential part of a gender-neutral wardrobe for those who prefer a more formal look. A blazer gels with many pieces of clothing, such as trousers and skirts.
Overalls are the staples of workwear collections. But they pair well with plain tees to create a minimalist gender-neutral look. The right size of overalls does an excellent job of hiding curves without giving a saggy, baggy look to the wearer.
4. Wide-Legged Pants
The billowy silhouette of a pair of wide-legged pants makes for easy movement and creates a casually chic look. A drawstring design ensures the right fit.
Wide-legged pants balance out whatever a person is wearing on top. These can be paired with crop tops, fitted tees, and oversized shirts depending on whether the wearer wants to add to or lessen specific gender overtones in the attire.
Jeans come in many shapes and fits—skinny, straight-leg style, or a pair that is flared at the bottom. And then there are mom jeans and boyfriend jeans. There is a style to suit anyone, whether they want to balance out a baby tee, hide a large backside, or add a measure of masculinity or a touch of feminine grace to an attire.
It is a wonder how this little piece of unstitched garment can add oodles of elegance and luxury to a plain attire without imparting specific gender overtones. Wearers can get as bold and creative as they want to be with the way they loop the scarf around their necks and the patterns and hues they choose.
The scarf can be worn with many attires.
A high-top sneaker is a staple of any athleisure clothing line. Although originally designed to be worn on the basketball court, the high-top looks equally fitting on city streets, in the bar, or at a party. They can be worn with dresses, suits, jeans, or shorts and gel with the gender-fluid look that the wearer intends to create.
Tips to Design Gender-Neutral Attires
Designing for a population that eschews gender identities and embraces non-conformity can seem daunting. But it need not be.
The trick to designing a piece of clothing or putting together an ensemble is to peek into the minds of the wearer and figure out how they want to be perceived. Extensive market research is also crucial to identify the gaps.
The following are some pointers to help designers envision and create gender-neutral pieces of clothing:
- Accounting for differences in gender expression. Some wearers want to incorporate both masculine and feminine elements in their clothing. Some others prefer a completely genderless look. Designers need to be clear about who they are designing for.
- Being careful while working with clothes with strong connotations to a particular gender. Certain pieces of clothing, such as dresses, have strong connotations of a specific gender. Weaving these pieces into an ensemble to create a gender-neutral look can be challenging. However, it is possible to reduce the masculine or feminine overtones of a piece of clothing by playing with colors, fits, textures, and cuts.
- Designing clothes that hide or emphasize specific areas of the wearer’s body. Many people who are into gender-fluid fashion are looking for clothing pieces that conceal specific bodily characteristics. Some may want to hide an ample bust or wide hips. Some may want to hide their broad, powerful shoulders. Designers should create ensembles that either hide specific bodily features or take away attention from these body parts by emphasizing certain other areas.
- Searching for clothing inspiration by choosing and following a role model. There are many stylish people out there who sport gender-neutral looks and clothing. Many of them are active on social media and have countless followers. Choosing and following a role model from among them and creating a mood board for the attires they rock in are great ways to find inspiration.
Designing gender-neutral clothing treads the fine line between creating a piece of clothing that projects the preferred gender expression style of the wearer and coming up with a design that resembles a sack. It is hard to find such clothes. Save yourself the trouble of scouring the marketplaces only to settle for less. Contact Fashinza to order clothing that your clientele will love to flaunt and re-order in a heartbeat.