Over the last century, there have been many different fashion trends and unisex clothing has been part of that. Below I go into more details about the history of it and how it became part of culture worldwide.
During 2016 one of London’s latest department outlets Selfridge’s experiment with gender neutral clothing. It featured mannequins wearing unisex clothing by designers Gareth Pugh, Haider Ackermann, and Ann Demeulemeester. It did not cause a revolution in the fashion industry but worked incredibly well as a marketing tool.
World War 2 & Gender Roles
The first unisex clothing has been around for a long time in American culture and dates back to 1824.The socialist community managed to pass a law that permitted women and men both to wear trousers.
During the buildup to WWII and for a decade after, this changed and gender clothing roles were established without any questions. The men of the house were expected the be the breadwinners with the women staying at home to look after the children. Men did all the masculine jobs such as fixing cars, playing football along with hunting. The fathers raised their sons to become men and the ones who did not like cars of football were accused of being gay or girly.
During this period women and men dressed in accordance with normal gender clothing. The fashion trends were set by movie stars such as John Wayne and James Dean who dressed to prove their manhood. Women were expected to wear feminine clothes that highlighted their female features. This typically included knee-length dresses along with high heels. Again this was inspired by movies stars like Elizabeth Taylor.
The Feminist Movement & Sexual Revolution
During the 1960s the feminist and sexual revolution began and may go against the political, social and sexual discrimination. In the U.S for the first time, women challenged the imposed gender roles. It was a battle that continued for many years which still to this day women are not paid an equal amount as men for doing the same job.
A change started to occur with men ditching their traditional masculine clothes and women become more androgynous. It was the first time that both sexes were going against the idea of fixed gender and status roles.
The Resurgence Of Unisex Clothing
Over the last 30 years, we have seen a resurgence in unisex clothing with the grunge scene during the early 1990’s helping to move it forward. Both women and men wore jeans, combat boots, flannel shirts, and caps. The scene made it acceptable for women to dress in a more tomboy aesthetic of clothing.
Things have moved on a great deal since the revolution started during the 1960`s but still have a way to go before they are fully accepted as the norm. With more people than ever before coming out as gay and been proud of the fact, it has become more socially acceptable. Not both sexes are not bound by the strict rules enforced on them during the 1960`s.