3 Clothing Pieces That Have Defied Gender Roles and Become Ubiquitous
On the International Women’s Day, when the world is coming together to celebrate women and womanhood, the fashion industry has different plans of its own. Rather than fighting the vices of gender bias head-on, the circuit has taken on a separate fight. The fight to establish certain clothing pieces which don’t agree with the double standards of gender prejudice. These clothing pieces have defied all taboos of clothes being linked with masculinity and emerged victorious, getting accepted as unisex pieces. Want to know what they are? Keep reading to find out.
It is pretty obvious that flannel was, once upon a time, limited to men’s wardrobe only. Given that these were constructed to keep the “male” farmers warm from the cold Scottish winds, flannel resulted in gender bias for a very long time. During its high time, kilts (tartan plaid flannel skirts for men) were the most popular piece made of flannel, and yes, they were worn by men.
For the next few centuries, flannel as a fabric was used by the male members of the royal family. When introduced to the westerners, flannel again got limited to lumberjacks and cowboys (again male-dominated industries). Even the 90s rock music was subjugated by men with very few female participants. Later during that era, women started sporting flannel clothes but only in the form of skirts and jackets.
It was only after the resurrection of flannel in the industry a few seasons back that flannel clothing became unisex clothing, equally in demand from both the genders. Most designers now craft flannel clothes that can be worn by both men and women.
After centuries of being limited to men only, flannel clothes have finally broken the gender rules and emerged triumphantly. No wonder, women are leading the flannel industry with such undeniable panache.
If you rewind a few years back, you will notice that there was no existence of maternity clothes as such. Moms-to-be would wear the oversized tees, shirts, and pants belonging to their husbands and boyfriends. Although there is nothing wrong with wearing the significant other’s clothes, pregnancy demanded more comfortable apparels.
These women would fight for ease because the ones they wore failed to provide any. Their changing body and growing belly would become difficult to accommodate in the old coarse clothes. Picking up each of these factors, enthusiasts started designing maternity clothes.
From t-shirts to maxi dresses, pants to tops, jackets to shoes everything got included in the category. These pieces were comfortable to wear because of their quality make and were in sync with the latest trends in the fashion industry. These maternity clothes balanced function and fashion with such effectiveness that they rose to prominence. Pregnancy would now not limit the new mommies from wearing fashionable clothes. They wouldn’t have to adjust with old clothes. They wouldn’t have to choose between comfort and style. They could get it all with varieties in the maternity clothing section. The introduction of maternity clothes is a huge win for women who undergo so many hardships to give birth to a new life.
First introduced as an undergarment, the use of t-shirt was limited to men only. Sailors and soldiers would wear tees underneath their clothes to keep themselves warm and protected. The comfort providing qualities of a t-shirt was highly valued by the hard-working men. With time, these comfort pieces entered the mainstream fashion circuit.
The newer varieties had the same ease but looked much better than the previous solid white versions. Slogans, prints, and patterns were added in abundance to the t-shirts so as to give them a sophisticated boost. All this while, they were worn by men only.
It was in the 50s that t-shirts started breaking the norms and a few rebellious women sported them with another biased clothing piece, jeans. The tees worn by the lassies were, however, simple and came in a solid shade of white only. By this time the gender role became so prominent that by the 60s, t-shirts started becoming associated with defiant women. With variations like crop tops becoming popular, the conventional t-shirt started getting limited again.
This trend continued till the 90s when sitcoms become prominent and actresses started dawning t-shirts with shorts and miniskirts. The oversized variations also became popular and just like that; tees were now a household item, notwithstanding the assigned gender roles. Today, women love wearing t-shirts with bold slogans and quirky prints, and the piece has become a part of the most common casual ensemble.
There are many such clothes which have become ubiquitous after a long fight. Clothes can and don’t have gender, and they should not be held as a symbol of either masculinity or femininity. You are free to wear whatever you are comfortable with. Fashion is for everyone. And with such charming clothing pieces, it seems unfair that they are limited to use by men only.
The above-mentioned pieces have fought prescribed gender roles and have emerged victoriously. This International Women’s Day, let us all unite and live harmoniously. Fashion is just a reflection of the society; cohesive fashion trends mean united society. So let’s use these clothing pieces as examples and defy gender roles.