Gender Bending in Clothing

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Since the dawn of time, there has been a men’s section and a women’s section in nearly every place that sells clothing. Over all, this can be helpful if not for general style preference than for familiar sizing. But as the years have gone by, fashion, general clothing cost, quality, and fit have all shifted with the times. This has resulted in certain tendencies with the clothing genders as well. Women’s clothing sizes can vary from store to store, whereas the guys go by inches, making their sizing more universal. Women have more options for flash-fashion lower quality clothing, but men’s high quality staples tend to cost less across the board. And as we can all tell, we see pink, sparkles, skirts, and all things floral in the women’s section while the men’s section displays darker hues, and everything that could be described as rugged, handsome, or dapper. There are obviously plenty of exceptions to this generalization; just walk into American Eagle and find walls lined with loose dark tees, baggy jeans, and chunky boots– all marketed as gals. And to the surprise of many, Forever 21 has a men’s section (best accessed online, but still, it exists).

But even with reforms that we can sometimes find, clothing stores almost always lack a truly functional yet affordable option for women and a truly fabulous option for men. That is why shopping in another gender’s section is entirely okay. Why wouldn’t it be?

All my life I’ve had a love affair with boyfriend jeans, but even so, my first pair of men’s section jeans happened to be the first pair with pockets large enough for me to actually fit my cell phone. I rejoiced in the magical world of functional pockets (as I’m sure any woman would), not to mention that they were significantly less expensive than the equivalent of quality in the women’s section. Boys tees tend to be softer, boys socks tend to be warmer, and my life has benefited from all of these facts.

Now, for the guys. Do you like pastels? Do you like florals? Contrary to what you may have heard, this is no crime! Anyone should be able to wear whatever they want, and this includes boys! However, more “femme” pieces are few and far between in men’s. So why not venture into the ladies’ section? Rock a crop top! Don’t be afraid to wear a floral sweater! Buy that fabulous skirt if your heart desires! Channel your inner Jaden Smith, and constantly remind yourself that having fun with fashion is for men too.

No matter if you’re a girl, a boy, a mix of the two, or neither, you should be able to wear whatever makes you feel confident and comfy. What the tag says is nobody’s business but yours!

Jamie Kahn is a writer, band member, dancer, and contributor to Decaf Magazine. She can be followed on Twitter: @jams_pixie and Instagram: jam_pixie. You can give her band a listen here: fatalepa.bandcamp.com

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