A colleague sent me a link about fashionable men who wear women’s clothes. ‘Ain’t nothin’ new,’ I said, wrangling my hairy toes into my stilettos.
The story came from The Guardian a few weeks ago. It’s about male actors and musicians that are starting to wear women’s clothes, pairing them with men’s #fashion.
Remember that while men and women have always had their own fashions and trends, the form was similar for a very long time; for example, in Bronze Age Britain, both sexes wore skirts, though those for men were shorter.
With fashion being so fluid and complex these days – different tribes drawing on details from varied cultures and periods – why can’t we put together what we want?
I think more important than the ‘sex’ your clothes were made for, is the context and congruence when you wear them.
Context is the easy one to understand. Your outfit has got to work in the situation. Just like you shouldn’t wear a ballgown to a funeral, if you’re going to mix and match male and female office attire or accessories, be thoughtful about it. Leopard-print jeans might work in a casual environment, but will look odd at dinner with a client.
Congruence is a bit trickier to define. It’s basically acting in a way that you’re comfortable with and that others feel you’re comfortable with.
For example, I’ve got a pair of women’s #sunglasses. I bought them because I thought they looked cool and I didn’t care they weren’t made for men. When I wear them people can sense I’m at ease, which puts them at ease.
I’m beginning to think that Euroffice should have a Dress in a Dress Friday, where men and women can wear whatever way they want. (I can definitely imagine the Euroffice big boss, Simon, striding in wearing a twin set.)
What do you think? Would you be comfortable with male colleagues if they accessorised their briefcases with bangles?