AKG

Posts Tagged ‘80s’

On Androgyny in Fashion

In On Entertainment, On Fashion, On Fashion History, On Menswear, On Muse-of-the-Month, On Style on April 18, 2012 at 7:55 pm

I don’t know about you, but I have heard “androgyny” in various contexts, varying from a scandalous or heated discussion to casual daily use. Androgynous traits are usually asexual or are qualities attributed to the opposite sex. There is physical, psychological, and fashion-related androgyny. To be clear, my inspiration is found in androgynous fashion and styling. Some people accept the idea, whereas many are steeped in traditionalism, focused on the idea that men and women are both supposed to look certain ways that are unique and separate of each other.

A rulebook from the older days for dressing and fashion etiquette (from 1965) includes rules that sound ludicrous today.

“It is disrespectful and unwise to deviate from the norm of those around you. It is not polite to stray from the costume worn by your date. If he is in street clothes, you are to wear a day dress or a dressmaker’s suit. […] You must always compliment your man.” “Mules, open-toed shoes, and ankle straps are in poor taste at all times.”

The writer and followers of this book would probably end up in shock if they ended up in any kind of gathering, party, restaurant, or department store today.

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Prince & David Bowie - Challenging Norms

Considering that these were the rules, consider how nonsensical the idea of finding pieces in “your man’s” wardrobe would be. Performers like David Bowie, Boy George, Prince, Grace Jones, Marlene Dietrich, and Annie Lennox challenged the norms back in the 1970s and cross-dressing continued to become more elaborate through the 1980s. Leonardo DiCaprio wore the ‘skinny’ look in the 90s, resulting in a fad known as “Leo Mania”. Marilyn Manson wore female clothing and PVC suits that made him seem genderless. These entertainers started trends so that men and women could think outside of conventional styling and start to explore where they felt at home outside of the limitation of their own department at the store. In high fashion, Coco Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent became pioneers by encouraging women to dress in a minimalistic manner, freeing them from the bind of corsets and stockings. In 1966, YSL created the “Le Smoking” tuxedo, the first of its kind for women. Now, fashion on the street was changing and women were freer to find and wear what they liked most.

There is considerable societal redefinition of traditional gender fashion norms today due to the popularity of these artistes and the trickle-down effect of high fashion. Menswear inspired womenswear (and visa versa) has become commonplace: boyfriend blazers, boyfriend jeans, oxfords, and more.

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling

Androgynous Women Fashion Styling
Disclaimer: All pictures are sourced - not mine.

Experimenting with androgynous fashion doesn’t mean you have to dress like David Bowie when he performed. But it’s certainly inspiring, isn’t it? See Diane Keaton in “Annie Hall” or Cate Blanchett in “The Aviator”. Remember Katherine Hepburn? As current style inspiration, we have Ellen Degeneres, Agyness Deyn, Kate Moss, and Diane Keaton to look to. These ‘celebrities’ incorporate menswear pieces into everyday dressing all the time. In the next post, we’ll talk about how they borrow from the boys. Arshia inspires me to learn to borrow from the boys, and experiment to define our individual style further.

AKG

On R.I.P. Whitney Houston

In On 80s Fashion, On Entertainment, On Style on February 13, 2012 at 5:27 am

There are many reasons to mourn the passing of the regal Whitney Houston, one of the world’s biggest pop stars. Her self-titled debut album (released in 1985) sold 25 million copies worldwide. Since then, she released seven albums and three film soundtracks. Sold over 200 million albums and singles worldwide. Winner of six Grammys. Earned 30 Billboard Awards, 22 American Music Awards and two Emmy Awards. Who knew what she was going to bring us next?

She IS an inspiration; her music moves millions. Close your eyes. Listen to a ballad start slow, build into what some call “a cheesy smooth-pop flourish”, go down a few octaves only to come back to an unbelievably high note, and maybe belt out an amazing ending with her. That is the real reason to mourn her loss.

I feature here, my favorites: “One Moment in Time” and “I Will Always Love You”.

Seriously. Turn the music up. Any of the others even. “Greatest Love of All”, “So Emotional”, “Count on Me”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”…the list goes on. Sing along with her, sway with her, even if you’re off-tone and singing through your nose on the song’s peak notes. You may feel an incredible shift.

Many of her songs were about friendship, love, freedom – about believing, dreaming, and achieving. This month, remind yourself of why you love you. Dream. Believe in yourself. Walk with your head high.

Much could be said about her style. She was a true diva – her fashion epitomized 80’s glam, complete with the big shoulders, big hair, and glittery sequins. Her shoulders shrunk as fashion changed, but her glamorous style and big hair never did.

But I will remember Whitney Houston more for her fearless style than for her glitz. She was stylish because she was never afraid to be her ridiculously vocally gifted and talented self. In a time when the industry was judging her for cold technique, she brought ballads to a crescendo that tug at your soul.

Oh, R.I.P. Whitney Houston – your stirring music, your unforgettable style – you will live in our hearts forever.

AKG

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