Gender Stereotypes in Fashion


Photo by Pixabay

Aubrie Hickmon and Cindy Diaz Rey

Girls wear pink. Boys wear blue. Girls wear dresses. Boys wear suits.

These are just some of the gender stereotypes associated with fashion. In the past, these stereotypes have been very concrete, and very rarely did people “cross-dress.” However, in today’s world, those lines are getting blurrier and blurrier.

Looking back at each decade, there are fashion trends throughout all of them, but for the most part, those trends have been different for each gender. Take the ‘50s for example. Men dressed in suit and tie during the week and wore slacks and a nice shirt on the weekends. Women wore dresses and pearls pretty much every day, and always looked pretty and put-together. Then if you look at today, it’s clear that the differences aren’t so clear anymore. In an article by Who What Wear, a fashion website, about fall/winter trends for 2018, there are not specific trends for men and women. They are put together, which shows that there aren’t the same fashion stereotypes according to gender anymore.

Fashion trends aren’t becoming similar for men and women because clothing brands are becoming lazy; they’re making their clothing gender-fluid for a reason. According to an academic paper titled, “Deconstruction of Gender Stereotypes Through Fashion,” “Expectation of society and culture related to the biological structure of the individual carries some roles and this role also carries many gender stereotypes in it. But the individual can use the clothing style to express his or her gender identity which may not match the expectations of the community and society.” These changes in fashion trends are coming at the forefront of even bigger social changes. Gender identity isn’t such a black and white concept anymore, so therefore fashion isn’t also.

The goal of fashion companies isn’t to simply switch the “roles” of men and women, and what they can wear. In that same article, it clarifies this. “…today’s fashion revolutionaries are not interested in feminizing men or emasculating women. Fashion wants to eliminate those labels. This means fashion wants to deconstruct gender stereotypes in the context of wearing styles. Also this means that the fashion is aiming to blur the masculine/feminine divide because of idea which argues that garments have no gender.”

The place where the erasure of these gender fashion stereotypes is in Hollywood since celebrities are in the spotlight almost always. Stars like Ruby Rose and Jaden Smith show that this stereotypes should be defied–then eventually erased. Ruby Rose stated in an interview with Elle that she doesn’t identify with being female or male, and her fashion reflects that. Jaden Smith is known for wearing skirts and dresses. After receiving backlash for doing so, he tweeted, “If I Wanna Wear A Dress, Then I Will, And That Will Set The New Wave…” showing criticizers that he is not ashamed of defying fashion stereotypes.

In today’s world, what it means to dress like a boy or like a girl, isn’t such a strict thing. There’s fluidity in fashion, just like there is in gender. So no matter your gender, no matter how masculine or feminine you are, dress how you want because the stereotypes don’t matter.