The line between menswear and womenswear is becoming more blurred with every fashion season and collection.
Black booty shorts and a cropped white tee layered with a grey tunic opened to your navel paired with brown gladiator sandals. This sounds like the it outfit for women this season, right? WRONG. It’s actually the look men everywhere are going to be sporting any day now.
It has been said that fashion has no gender and seeing a male model wear a feminine outfit on a high fashion runway wasn’t a baffling concept, but when the looks started to hit the mainstream shops that’s when we have to stop and ask; where is the line between menswear and womenswear? If we’re going by the above images from J.W. Anderson’s collection, it seems to have disappeared.
Celebrity stylist Basilia Ramsey believes these new men’s clothing lines are a result of the lack of growth in menswear. “Men have the basics to work with all year round,” she says. “Shorts, pants, tee-shirts, button ups, jackets, jumpers – there isn’t really anything else for men to wear. So designers are looking to womenswear for inspiration to grow menswear, it’s just going to take time to adjust.”
It’s true, and compare men’s basics to women’s basics – on top of the standard tees, shorts and pants they’ve got skirts, dresses, crop tees, high waisted this and that, camisoles, maxis, boleros, vests, shoestring singlets, midriffs, capes, not to mention the accessories.
It’s all well and good to see feminine menswear and think that no one will wear what’s on offer – and when talking about runway looks it’s all too true, but for a different reason. The designer will only make a very small quantity of an outfit, and sell them for thousands and thousands of dollars, which puts them out of reach for most bar celebrities. However, these runway looks inspire mainstream fashion store collections and in as little as a few weeks, will be hitting the mass market at a far cheaper cost.
While you might think men won’t buy these looks, men buying womenswear is already happening. According to popular menswear shops, one in 10 guys choose a women’s pair of jeans in a store over the menswear equivalent. Staff at Topshop revealed that when some men come into the store and ask for a pair of jeans they are directed to the menswear section and upon trying said jeans on, they discover that they aren’t as tight around the legs as they wanted. “Whenever this happens, a member of staff will suggest the man try on the women jeans in either a 12 or 14. These jeans will usually fit perfectly around the ankles and so after some convincing on our part that they look exactly the same as the men’s one, the customer will buy them and the rest of society is none the wiser,” said jean-fitter and staff member Rachel.
Menswear lecturer at the University of Arts London believes that menswear is in fact growing. “Small detail changes drive menswear forward, but authenticity is key. Contemporary menswear design is driven by obsession to reinvention and subversion of the traditional, and sensitive attention to fabrication, scale and proportion, where in some cases, the width of trouser or a lapel can become a life changing event, it just so happens that this look has been mastered my womenswear for years,” she said. – Zachary Pittas
Top screenshots from J.W Anderson’s 2013 fall runway show video, collated by Zachary Pittas.