When I become pregnant with my first child, I didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. This made baby clothes shopping a challenge, when my options were pretty much either pink for girls and blue for boys.
There was a clear and distinct difference between what girls and boys were meant to wear.
Even the white garments – with white supposedly intended to be a “gender-neutral” colour – I would find different types of white clothes. White yes, but distinctly boy or girl.
When I spotted a baggy soft denim onesie in the boy’s section of a little kiddies boutique, I finally found THE perfect outfit for my, then gender-free, baby.
After spending hours in and out of major department stores, I ended up with a baby wardrobe filled with soft types of denim items, bold primary colours, and a whole lot of white in basic styles. Onesies, shorts, and t-shirts.
When my son was born, I was very happy with the little collection of items I had picked out for him.
Two years later, I had my daughter and she too benefited from his wardrobe.
However, it wasn’t too unconventional to have my daughter wearing denim and blue.
It’s doesn’t mean that her wardrobe didn’t grow to include pretty pink hair accessories and princess dresses, but my son’s wardrobe didn’t venture very far from dinosaurs and Spiderman.
I’ve always allowed my kids the freedom to wear what they wanted and how they wanted to.
Their choices were often met with disapproving looks and comments, from both strangers and family members.
Now full-on teenagers, being part of the GenZ era, they are fortunate enough to find themselves in a position to, in fact, wear what they want and choose to listen to those snide remarks or not.
Able to shop where they want. Go into a store and, even though there remains a great divide between the men’s and women’s clothing sections, they can pop into either – and pick and choose what they want.
While many high-end designers and fast fashion brands have created unisex or gender-neutral collections, this generation of free-spirited and open-minded persons need more than baggy garments, in neutral tones, to satisfy their fashion needs.
The LGBTQI community has provided a safe space for any and every sexual orientation, and gender orientation, to flourish.
While all the definitions have given voice and acceptance to many who have struggled to find their place and voice, more and more young people are opting to not peg themselves into any specific boxes, but are instead identifying as non-binary.
Thanks to so many popular artists, this has filtered into fashion.
However, one can not say that gender-fluid can be termed as a fashion category, in the same way as “unisex”. It’s not a section one can select in a catalogue or pick in a drop-down menu when shopping online. And it certainly cannot be termed a trend, because trends come and go.
Gender-fluid fashion is a form of expression. It’s a state of being.
It’s in the HOW the person chooses to wear a particular garment, more than what the garment is, who designed it, or where it’s from.
Which, in fact, means that any garment can be considered to be gender-fluid.
In the past, iconic stars like David Bowie and Grace Jones effortlessly debunked all stereotypical gender-specific fashion, through their distinct styles.
Now celebrities like Harry Styles (who graced the cover of Vogue Magazine, December 2020, wearing a dress) Jaden Smith, and Jonathan Van Ness, to name a few, has brought this movement to the mainstream stage.
Since women have been wearing and pants and suits for decades, it no longer raises any eyebrows for a female to wear a garment defined as masculine, but it will take a long time for society to accept a male donning feminine clothes or shoes – even though high heels were originally made for men.
Gender-fluid style isn’t a fashion statement, it’s an attitude. Gender fluidity goes beyond the clothes we wear, or how we do our hair and makeup.
Hopefully, one day, a person can simply walk into a store and explore what there is on the racks, without being directed to a specific section.
I’m hopeful that when my children go shopping for their kids, that they won’t be faced with the same challenges I did when I put their wardrobe together.
Thankfully, they already have far more choices than I did when I was their age.