Katie Abson explores the rise of feminine clothing and accessories in men’s fashion.
Content makers on TikTok and Instagram are pushing the boundaries or what is percieved as predominantly masculine or feminine fashion. Men dressing in maid outfits, in particular, is spreading like wildfire across TikTok, with users such as @tristanpvaldez and @chxsley contributing to the #maidoutfit trend that has altogether received a whopping 340.4M views, with figures rising each day. It’s just one way in which men are experimenting with feminine and non gendered beauty and fashion. Similar videos receive millions of views per day, and whether viewevers like or dislike this content, the world is interested.
Curiosity sparks change. And isn’t that what we use fashion for in the first place; to challenge and express and inspire? Men are rebelling against gender-conforming behaviour for the world to see. And Generation Z is watching.
“It’s all been done before, “ you say? There’s no doubt that what goes around comes around in fashion; we’ve seen the rise ans fall of the flared trouser, ruffled shirt , and leather jacket, full circling from ‘70s culture to the current market. History is full of men who embraced clothing and accessories typically worn by the opposite sex. Influential cultural figures such as David Bowie, Boy George, and Steve Strange straddled this dichotomy for decades. They brought the Glam Rock and New Romantic movement to the forefront of culture, testing boundaries never before seen in mainstream media. But that isn’t to say these famous figures were the first. Men have been sporting flowing hemlines for aeons, from Greek togas to skirt worn as part of the Roman army uniform, worn to allow freedom of movement.
Another worthy mention is Freddie Mercury and his legendary impact on fashion. Queen’s captiving music populated the charts across the world in the ‘70s and ‘80s making them one of the most renowed rock bands of all time. Alongside their music, Freddie’s sequin jumpsuit and eye-catching patterned leggins paired with lavish neon jackets have influenced contemporary fashion for decades. His style was ever transforming, influenced by New York’s gay club scene, his surrounding, and former girlfriend Mary Austin. Freddie incorporated women’s clothing, accessories, and makeup as part of his stages costumes, contributing to his legacy of becoming one of the most memorable performes of the ‘80s. Freddie’s expressive clothing paved the way for many present-day artists to explore more flamboyant and outgoing styles on-stage as well as off-stage. This, in turn, continues to influence fans and followers who look up to celebrity style, revolutionising the way men dress in the modern day.
But there is hope. Harry Styles, Billy Porter, and Ezra Miller are just few examples of cultural figures in mainstream media who can inspire brands to incorporate alternative pieces into their lines and diminish that all too wide gap in the market. We still have a long way in terms of acceptance and accessibility, but fashion continues to challenge and inspire curiosity by trascending social norms, and will continue to do as long as the world is willing to listen.