Mens Fashion Paving Way For The Expression Of Female Identity

Pavithra S Kumar
May 17, 2019   •  5 views

Women’s fashion has evolved through the years as an industry that constantly tries to appeal to the female mind, and setting considerable standards of what a woman should signify through her clothing. The past few decades, the population has witnessed women’s clothing range from dresses pinched at the waist portraying the ideal hourglass figure, to body fitting apparel like tights, ripped jeans, crop tops that expose their midriff and leather jackets. In the 40’s and 50’s, women’s dresses served as a motif for femininity and submission, while the bold colours and clothing worn by men provided the impression of masculinity that is considered to portray dominance. There has been a noticeable trend in how women’s apparel has grown to have an uncanny resemblance to the features of male clothing – how there has been increase of suits, shirts and pants tailored for women.

The post-millennial era has been exposed to several changes in fashion, with women adopting fashion that was customary to men – like suits, blazers, suspenders, dungarees and so on. Cross dressing has been on the rise as the population grew open to different types of sexualities, and more liberal in the clothes they wear. It was during the 1970’s that men ceased wearing suits and reserved it for more important occasions like a party, a job interview, weddings and so on. For women, skirts were replaced with trousers in an effort portray their freedom in terms of clothing – abolishing the clothing traditions that the population was subject to. An evident shift in women’s clothing is also emphasised through the change in the general colour. What once used to be pastel coloured clothing was replaced with bright and bold shades, and colours like black and navy blue which were originally reserved for men’s clothing were also incorporated. The invention of heels, which is now commonly associated with women’s fashion, was first introduced for the use of men – the heels prevented the shoes from slipping through the stirrups while riding on horseback.

In a country like India, which is an amalgam of different traditions, lifestyles and clothing, the rise of capitalism in the West contributed to a different perspective in fashion. Prior to the foreign settlements in India that enforced capitalism, men and women were strictly differentiated with their gendered clothing. Sarees and dhotis, kurtas and kurtis, gagra choli and sherwanis were all specific clothing that was reserved for the two genders. The Western fashion lifestyle influenced the adoption of jeans, blazers and modified Indian wear such as crop tops with lehengas. It was an attempt to conform to the Western standards of fashion and appeal, while also blurring the clothing distinctions that separated the two genders, in a movement what has commonly been referred to as westernization.

The adoption of heels, wristwatches, hats, pants, denim, suspenders and blazers to be customized and altered according to the female identity contributed to a sense of independence from the older regime of gender based clothes. Hats were decorated with ribbons, pants had floral embroidery and blazers were manufactured in brighter colours to establish the image of a woman. The integration of men’s fashion into women’s clothing and accessories may be identified with the need to be independent of stereotypes that emerged as a result of a sexist ideologies. Since clothing is considered to be the conveyance of individuality, the adoption of different features from the opposite genders clothing has contributed in blurring the lines of clothing based sexism.



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Sakshi Jain  •  4y  •  Reply
good one!