Pushing the boundaries of fashion

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Itzel Giron, Audience Engagement Editor

In recent years, people from celebrities to everyday people have pushed the boundaries of what fashion is and what it can mean. It has become an outlet for many to express a multitude of things including emotions, problems in society and so much more.

One of many celebrities who push the boundaries of fashion is Harry Styles. The 28-year-old singer who shot to stardom for being in a ‘little’ band called ‘One Direction’.” In the band, Styles remained to dress more femininely with floral patterns and heeled boots, though it was not until the band went on an indefinite hiatus where Styles evolved with fashion.

His extravagant Gucci suits and 2019 Vogue cover were all most young adults could talk about, but his fashion with raving reviews did come with much backlash.

History has shown us Styles was not and will not be the first man to dress feminine-like, you look back at the ’ 70’s where feminine styles were all anyone could wear. Floral prints, flared jeans, platform boots and glitter were a part of anyone’s closet but why has it become such a problem now?

As mentioned earlier, Styles was on the cover of Vogue; a well-known and prestigious fashion magazine, but his good looks were not a problem to some, it was the Gucci dress Styles wore. It became the start of conversation between conservatives and liberals specifically when Candace Owens, a conservative author, and political commentator tweeted the following:

“There is no society that can survive without strong men… Bring back manly men.”

The phrase “Bring back manly men” was the only thing everyone could talk about. How could wearing a dress make a man less manly? There is no handbook given to anyone once they begin to dress themselves that states men must solely wear pants and cargo shorts, or women should feel obliged to wear dresses and knee-length skirts.

Fashion is not a construct of gender; it never was and never will be.

Fluidity in fashion has been around for years, from the American 1970’s fashion to the European royalty. There was never a question of what looked wrong on either gender; fashion was just another form of art.

We could look back at paintings or photos of different periods of time and you will find the way fashion expressed so much more than gender. Fashion only began to have ‘rules’ when society deemed it wrong for someone to be fluid with how they dress.

Harry Styles is only one person in a group who pushes for fashion to have no gender identity, others include Billy Porter, Billie Eilish, Bad Bunny, and others.

Billie Eilish is notable example of how she steps out of the gender norms and chooses to wear baggy clothes rather than sexualize her body like most women’s clothing do. She has faced backlash for not looking feminine enough, when again there is no handbook to how feminine or masculine one should look.

At the end of the day, fashion will always be an outlet for many to express who they are and how they feel, which means as an audience we should not judge their style because it is out of the box for us personally. Fashion is meant to be bold and out there and if we limit what it can be society ruins the endless possibilities.

Itzel Giron is the audience engagement editor and may be reached at [email protected]; @by.itzel.giron on Instagram; @itzel_anahi_16 on Twitter.