First published on Kettle Mag:
In a time where new age feminism and gender equality issues are at the forefront of many conversations, gender-less clothing is massively on the rise and it’s both the sexes getting involved.
Women wearing trousers – that’s pretty standard right? You wouldn’t think twice about a girl walking down the street in a suit, or a football shirt, any more than you would if she were wearing a dress or skirt. But if you saw a man walking along wearing a dress… that’s bound to cause a few stares.
Well maybe not for long…
The ‘man dress’ was the hottest trend during this year’s New York and Paris Fashion week, with the likes of Telfar and Hood by Air catching a lot of media attention with their feminine designs.
This isn’t a new idea, with J.W Anderson’s Mens Fall collection in 2013 featuring a number of tailored dresses, skirts and frilly shorts.
But this year, rather than simply making a statement about gender neutrality, these pieces were all about sexualising men with clothing – in the same way a tight dress with a thigh high slit would do for a woman.
They somehow seemed more wearable for a man too. Sure, you wouldn’t necessarily encourage your boyfriend, husband, brother etc, to throw on a ball gown for your next night out, but why shouldn’t men be able to dress as they please in the same way women can now?
So when Jaden Smith was pictured wearing a ‘man dress’ earlier this month, I was quite surprised just how much Twitter exploded with criticism over the 16 year old’s outfit choice.
His sexual orientation was the first thing to be scrutinised, as well as comments like, “Why is his Dad letting him wear weird stuff like that?”
He had a tonne of praise too though –
There’s been plenty of times I wanted to wear sneakers & a dress but couldn’t go through with it. Go ahead Jaden Smith 👌🏾
— #Nerdland ⚢ (@iiHeartPolitics) April 18, 2015
“Gender is a continuum, not a box.” Boys in skirts are hot. So are girls. Come to think of it, skirts are hot. Period.
— Dawn Serra (@Dawn_Serra) April 16, 2015
Following in the footsteps of Kurt Cobain, (google ‘Kurt Cobain dress‘, you won’t regret it) who wore dainty dresses back in the early 90s as an anti-fashion statement, Jaden has since worn a selection of dresses and skirts, further pushing past the gender binary and good on him.
Speaking after posting a picture of his Coachella outfit (you guessed it, another dress) he explained he wasn’t wearing “girls clothes”, just “clothes”.
He also had this to say, tweeting a note for his 5.7mil Twitter followers:
“When you tell me something I am doing is wrong, don’t forget to put the ‘to my conditional brain and social ideologies’ at the end because there are no existential yes or no’s in the universe, there are only truths.”
With such a current and popular young figure embracing this idea, perhaps you’ll see more dresses for both men and women on the high street, sooner than you think.