Fashion That Has Crossed the Gender Barrier


Not too long ago, it used to be the case that we’d have women’s fashion trends and men’s fashion trends. More and more, we are finding garments working their way from men’s closets into women’s (or the other way around). Stealing your boyfriend’s style isn’t anything new, however ‘the girlfriend look’ is a fashion trend that is brand new. Although it isn’t (yet) common to see guys walking around wearing their girlfriend’s clothes, current fashion trends show men adopting a more ‘feminine’ style than the traditional ripped jeans and plain shirts.  Let’s talk about some of the iconic pieces that have made that jump across the gender barrier.

Sneakers When I say sneakers, I bet you immediately thought of the Converse All Star, perhaps the most iconic sneaker in the world. Chucks began life as a men’s basketball shoe, but at some point in the not-too-distant past, they worked their way into women’s hearts (and closets) Women have been borrowing from their boyfriend’s closet for centuries, as Couponbox found in their interview with Elizabeth Semmelhack, and Converse started to make the leap into women’s fashion when Shirley MacLaine first wore them on TV in 1956. These sneakers are truly for everyone – children and adults, men and women – and will remain a closet classic. Indeed in 2017 the All Stars will be celebrating their 100th birthday!

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Blazers At one time, you’d only see a blazer as part of a men’s three-piece. Nowadays, it is yet another staple in a woman’s wardrobe; throw on a blazer and class up any casual outfit. The move to women’s fashion is thought to have started in the 1960s British Mod movement when they would be paired with a pair of drainpipe jeans. From the Mods to the modern day, it’s now unlikely that you’d ever shop in a work wear section of a women’s store and not find a blazer.

Bags I’m not talking suitcases or camera bags, I’m talking handbags and manbags. Speak to any woman and they’ll tell you that they rarely go out without a handbag, that it makes them feel ‘naked’. They’ll probably also tell you that they’re sick of their other halves asking them to put their belongings in said handbag. Well hallelujah! Bags are now a fashion trend for men; dubbed manbags, it’s now completely normal and fashionable for a man to carry around a bag that has no other purpose than to store their everyday items. Just like a handbag.

High Heels This is a bit of a different one as it’s kind of a history lesson. High heels are thought to have been originally worn by male Persian horseback riders; the extended heel being really great for stopping their feet from slipping out of the stirrups. The style of shoe was later adopted as a statement of status by Western European aristocrats, most famously by King Louis XIV of France who was known for not being the tallest of men. It wasn’t until the 1600s when women started to wear high heels, and back then, it wasn’t for a statement of fashion but of equality. In her book Heights of Fashion: The Elevated Shoe, Elizabeth Semmelhack tells us that women of that time would cut off their hair, add epaulettes to their outfits, smoke pipes, and wear heels to prove that they were of equal status to the men. It was the 18th century that saw men drop the high heel and for them to become a women’s fashion statement.

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So what next? This isn’t the end of fashion crossing gender barriers. Who knows what will be next, perhaps ‘the girlfriend look’ will catch on?

About The Author

Aleksandar Tomovic
Editor in Chief

French photographer (of Serbian Origins) lives and works in Los Angeles. Known for his celebrity fashion editorials and recognized around the world for his european esthetics and american efficiency.

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