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 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!Tweet
Androgynous: having the characteristics or nature of both male and female. (Merriam-Webster dictionary.)
A woman wearing a tailored Savile Row suit, vest, slim tie, crisp white collared shirt, cufflinks, Oxfords, black rimmed eyeglasses and a hat. Hot or not?? If you say NOT, please STOP reading any further and return to your generic, white-bread life.
There is nothing cooler, hotter, more seductive and captivating than a woman wearing an androgynous look. Women probably are attracted to the look as it stems from the deep seated desire to usurp the century old power vested in men; it is role reversal; it is gender bending; it is rule breaking; it has shock value. On the other hand men find women sensual in the look (or should) as it is fantasy; it is kinky; it is confusing; it is intriguing.
Women dressed as men have been historically seen in performance arts and mythology. The Greeks and Hindus are examples of such.
In modern times, fashion designers and Avant-garde celebrities have utilized the look to shatter the traditional fashion norms and invade new fashion territories. From the YSL suit, to the Church’s Oxford; from the boyfriend shirt by the Olsen twins to the boyfriend blazer by Stella McCartney; from the latest collection of Dries Van Noten inspired by the “handsome woman” to the Chloe loafers.
From the past who can forget Lauren Bacall, Marlene Dietrich, and the oh so lovely Isabella Rossellini who has given a whole new meaning to wearing a suit. From the modern times the poster girl and representative of androgyny is Agyness Deyn. She is the epitome of style and glamour in men’s wear while still retaining her femininity and sexuality.
My advice to the rule breakers and the fashion-forward dressers is that if you are bold enough to take the risk of dabbling with the androgynous look, dare to go ALL the way! Do it with style so that it does not look “costumey.” Don the flat Oxfords, wear the vest, tie the tie, (I am not a smoker, so will not promote a cigarette dangling from your lips.) I WILL recommend wearing make-up as we do not want to go for the grunge-man look. Keep femininity and sexiness alive. And most importantly, if you have long hair please pull it back. The cascading hair is not befitting for this look. It makes it to be a “Stripper ready to Spin on the Pole” look. We are not going for such an effect….maybe another day, another time, but not now.
So, do it with confidence and panache and I assure you, never before will you have received as much attention as you will now. So, ladies empower yourselves and reverse the roles!Tweet