Friday’s Washington Post hyped a new trend in fashion on the front of the Style section. The headline was “His. Hers. Theirs. Whoever’s. In an increasingly genderless fashion industry, if the blouse fits, wear it.”
Fashion writer Robin Givhan championed designers who are asking “Why are clothes assigned a gender at all?” The story began:
The end of gender is near.
Menswear designers are on a mission to eradicate it. Some are going full bore, wielding lace shirts and floppy, grandma blouses like cultural grenades. Others are taking a stealth approach, quietly chiseling away the boundaries between masculinity and femininity through non-traditional retail, models and silhouettes.
...And when New York hosts its first men’s fashion season in recent memory next week, one can only expect more of the same. The over-arching message: Gender is a mood, a metaphor, an anachronism.
That might seem true on a runway in New York or Paris or Milan. But to look at lacy men’s dress shirts and suits that look like turquoise-blue curtains, will this sell at Sears in Nebraska? Givhan knows that there’s a limit to what men (and women who love some machismo) would accept. But she kept shaking the pom-poms:
This determination to eradicate gender, however, is broader than ever, with significant establishment heft behind it. The push is coming from corporate-owned design houses, publicly traded companies, major department stores and even IT wonks.
She admitted “Almost certainly, every idea won’t endure. But menswear will have moved forward — ever farther away from the oppressive confines of gray, Glen plaid and button-downs.” These days, what can seem oppressive is the “progressive” itch to blow gender distinctions to bits.