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When I started writing my blog, I did not have a clear defined vision for the blog.  I was unsure of the direction in which I wanted to take the blog.  The only thing I was sure of was that along with my other passions, I wanted to share my concept of non-conformity with my readers, if and when I was privileged to have some readers.

 Now some of you loyalists (whom I appreciate with all my heart) have bestowed upon me your precious time by reading my blog and commenting upon the entries.  Your comments are so thought provoking that I want to make a mini-blog of all the comments.  I am absolutely floored by your lacerating intellects, breakdowns and dissections.  Oh how I wish to sit down with all of you over a cup of cappuccino and enter into a discussion on a myriad of subjects ranging from fashion to philosophy; architecture to inspiration and conformity to non-conformity. (Such a discussion, if held in a café on the Italian Riviera will be preferable haha!)

I am an advocate of non-conformity and will continue to write on it.  I admire it because it shows strength, bravery and risk taking.  It can be in any walk of life-be it fashion, art, music, literature, architecture or even a profession.  If Mark Zuckerberg had continued to conform by following the tried and traditional path of diligently attending classes at Harvard, taking exams and upon graduating sending out resumes to be a computer programmer, would we be enjoying the fruits of the revolutionary powerhouse phenomenon called Facebook! 

We all interpret non-conformity based on our personal life experiences and sensibilities.  My sweet friend Anika just wrote a beautiful piece on her interpretation of non-conformity, that I enjoyed reading immensely.

There is no set archetype.  One of my interpretations of non-conformity is to explore, to veer away my comfort zone and forego established gauges and measures.  I am not necessarily being rebellious or radical just to make a point of being a non-conformist, but merely pivoting towards the edge in order to find my edge, my extreme, my limit.  I am testing my strength.  I am taking a risk.

 

Androgyny in fashion is a way to step out of the comfort zone for both men and women.  I have written earlier blogs on androgyny as applied to both men and women.  I find androgyny extremely intriguing and captivating.  What makes us want to digress and explore the sexuality of the opposite sex?  What is so alluring about role reversal?  Is it empowering or simply a way of testing our limit, our edge and our extreme.

Androgyny in fashion is a perfect example of non-conformism.  Both men and women who dress androgynously take a risk.  The risk of being ridiculed, judged and possibly be even rejected.  Yet, they test their limits by using their strength and stepping outside the comfort zone.

  

James Franco photographed the embodiment of androgyny, Agyness Deyn for Elle magazine.  The shot is inspired by James Dean.  Agyness is a brave girl and so comfortable with her overt androgynous sexuality.  She is unique and hence one of the most sought after models.  Yes, non-conformity pays and can bring huge dividends!

marc jacobs

Marc Jacobs is wearing pearls and a skirt while supporting a day old stubble from Prada’s fall 2011 collection.  It is an ode to being an ardent Miuccia Prada fan.  He look simply scrumptious!  Marc took a risk to don a skirt and wear a strand of pearls on that perfectly chiseled Greek God body of his. 

I too explored my androgyny by dressing in a man’s suit, albeit a somewhat shrunken one inspired more by Thom Brown than Brooks Brothers!  It was a step towards finding my strength, even if the pivot towards the edge was only slight.  I think I still have it in me to risk a steeper incline to find my edge.  As for the day old stubble, I will have to stand on the precipice of my edge for that!

  • I really like your look and am reminded of an old tie I bought and have yet to wear at Rags. I totally agree about androgyny, but I come at it from a writer’s point of view… It’s been years ago now, but twice I have shaved my head and been routinely taken for a Mr.

  • I enjoyed this post. For me, I remember at former workplace on days that I’d wear a simple bolo tie, or trousers more than once a week, or a tailored shirt with a vest then someone at one point would say something or give me a look as if, I was on a “special radar” – all just because I dressed a bit androgynous. Typically in my dress it is so massively eclectic that I do not understand why it would be an issue or should be for anyone who wants to dress androgynous. For some reason I sometimes feel many think about women first when fashion + androgyny is mentioned. However, a couple years ago I read an interesting article about male youth wearing women’s pants, particularly skinny styled denim. It focused mostly on the hipster and alternative (as it was called specific) group. I also love dresses, skirts… basically everything from my own clothes to wearing my bf ties, lol.

    Ambu, I love your look above, especially those shoes, you look beautiful. Continue to take the risks, it suits you dear.
    *Agyness Deyn is also a favourite.
    A random side note: Additionally, I recall hearing long ago some chatter about Diane Keaton, because of her continuous wear of suits and tailored garments as opposed to only skirts, and dresses in public. I love her style and the fact that she wears gloves and suits often… remember, Annie Hall?

  • However invented the world of blogging I must say “thank you” because thats how our friendship started!
    I always liked the androgyny look, but not so sure I will look great wearing pearls and skirt like MJ. But I must say… he looks good.
    Lee x

  • Firstly, I love what you’re wearing! It looks amazing on you and the androgynous style is something I’ve always wanted the confidence to do! And you’re such an inspiration when it comes to non-conformity. It definitely shows more strength! Taking a risk is always more fun, and you can acheive much more from life by non conforming, and doing what you want.

  • Ambu, first of all you look amazing and you are in one of my favorite places; a library.
    I love mens clothing for me it always been more comfortable and cheaper to buy men’s shirt
    and undershirts than women’s. I was heavily influence by Annie Hall and I would wear ties with
    my high school uniform even tough only the boys were supposed to wear ties. I also adore David Bowie, T-Rex
    and The New York Dolls and tried to imitated their style when going out to high school parties with my friends.
    The androgynous looks works if you wear it and if it doesn’t wear you and if you
    feel comfortable and happy. Basically you have to wear it from the inside out and my dear, you do!

  • I’m certainly with you on this point. In fact, I’m the only male fashion-blogger I know who regularly puts up outfit-posts of female clothing. I find that wildly creative and rewarding. Those of us who are different often hide our deviance to avoid social opprobrium. I’m learning being open has its benefits. Thanks for writing such a great post!

  • Albert:

    I see contrast and a bit of secrecy in androgyny. A woman’s gender is contrasted with male clothing or accessories, hiding and sometimes hightening her feminine sexuality. The same goes for what you’ve called reverse androgyny, men adopting feminine looks.

  • Oh Ambu! I have to say first, this is such a strongly written post. I hope you felt it, because really the words sparkle and so does your message. I really love your non-conformist ways and really I think you find your edge in the best way possible. I love your style and your take on style. This bit on androgyny is no exception. I think there is something really strong that lies beneath the look. And I think it lies in being confident enough in your femaleness to dress in a tie and being bold enough in your personality to cause a stir.

    And on risks, everything worth anything will require risks and if you are too busy trying to conform and be something else you will never be who you are which is just really sad. So keep on finding your edge and pushing those boundaries and damning all the rules, friend.

    P.S. You are GORGEOUS and I mean in the seriously stunning way, in these photos. I always get outfit envy with you, friend. You carry your clothes so well.

  • I want to see Lee in pearls.

  • Wait….can we discuss how amazing you look in that suit! prob favorite outfit I have seen you in! work it!!!

    Veronica

  • Whenever we step outside of our comfort zones, whether sartorially or in life, we find an inner strength we didn’t know existed. There is so much power in doing away with the preconceived notions of life and society and doing what feels right to you. Non-conformity is an important issue to me. It doesn’t have to be radical or over-the-top, sometimes the simplest gestures, like wearing a tie or a woman cutting her hair, are great acts of rebellion.

  • This part of your post I am not necessarily being rebellious or radical just to make a point of being a non-conformist, but merely pivoting towards the edge in order to find my edge, my extreme, my limit. I am testing my strength. I am taking a risk. resonated with me … I think blogging has been a great medium for me to not only push myself to ‘be’ myself … but also to discover parts of me which I wasn’t even aware of …

    You look wonderful in these pictures. Some how there is always a sense of calm on your face in all the pictures I have seen!

  • Hi Ambu! When I read this post previously, I also remembered Anne Lennox and Boy George in the 80′s and what a stir they caused. But that’s what I love about androgony. Lines are blurred and people are forced to think about their own appearance and how much they are willing or not willing to push the envelope when it comes to fashion.

    I am wearing a menswear look in honor of you today. I’m going to put up an outfit post next week and dedicate it to you my dear!

    xoxo
    Cyrillynn

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