androgynous style is something you won’t see in magazines or in media in general. we live in a world of labels-gender is directly and strategically placed onto everything from m&ms to children’s clothing, and it has been this way for as long as any of us can remember. the classic ideology of pink is for girls and blue is for boys and dresses are feminine and pants are masculine is something the vast majority of us grew up hearing, like something our brains have been conditioned to feel. however this is a modern world and many people are coming to the realization that gender roles were made to be shattered. at nova, the population of nonbinary* people and even cisgender* people who choose to dress and present in a way that is unexpected according to classic gender roles is larger than any i’ve seen at any school.
what is androgyny? classically defined as an appearance that is not strictly male or female, androgynous fashion is becoming more and more widespread as the years go on. this will be a basic guide for those who prefer/feel more comfortable dressing or presenting in a gender neutral way.
think of traditionally masculine or feminine attributes, such as shirts that show off the breasts, which are considered feminine, or shirts designed to draw attention to arm muscles, which many people consider to be masculine. the key to gender neutral style is minimizing traditionally gendered attributes such as these things in your clothing. if you look at the clothing from the mens section at any store, you’ll notice that these items are cut and shaped differently from the things you find in the women’s section. women’s clothing tends to be tighter and more fitted (designed to show off the person’s curves, whereas clothing you find in the men’s section tends to fit more loosely and has more of a relaxed feel. if you are, for example, a nonbinary/genderqueer person who was assigned female at birth, try to avoid clothing designed to draw attention to your hips, breasts, waist, etc (the same can be applied to transgender men wanting to pass as male).
now try to think of non-gendered clothes that are often worn by both men and women, flannel shirts, straight leg jeans, and most kinds of sweaters are often considered some of the most gender neutral things possible. short haircuts, while typically considered masculine, are being worn by many women as well, proving that they are another idea of gender neutral style. (if you’re someone wanting to look androgynous but you love your long hair, tying it up and putting it into a hat is an effective way to simulate short hair without actually committing to a haircut). wearing long hair in a bun or knot is also a good idea, as these hairstyles are worn by both men and women with longer hair.
binding is a term that refers to flattening the chest to minimize the appearance of breasts and is often something that trans men and nonbinary people assigned female choose to do to give them a more masculine or gender neutral appearance. the majority of binders (the garment worn to flatten breasts) can be ordered online from brands like gc2b. however, binding CAN be dangerous, so there are several precautions to take before trying it. first off, never bind with tape, ace bandages, or anything that wasn’t specifically made for binding. using these things can cause bruised ribs, deformation of the ribs, and difficulty breathing, especially while running/walking/doing any form of physical activity or exercise. purposefully wearing a binder that is smaller than your size is dangerous for the same reasons, so be sure to order one that fits you and won’t be overly tight. that being said, a binder is supposed to feel slightly tighter that most clothing. an overly loose binder will be ineffective at doing its job, so find one that balances the line between appropriately tight and overly tight/overly loose. binders can be expensive as well, so make sure to check out resources* that provide free or reduced price binders, or see if a friend has an old one that they don’t need anymore.
i’ve met a lot of people who assume that androgynous clothing has to be basic or boring, with minimal patterns or designs, focusing mainly on neutral colors. the idea that gender neutral = boring is one that doesn’t have to be true. things like graphic or band t shirts, hoodies with brighter colors, and gender neutral accessories like rings and simple necklaces can make an outfit that much more exciting. feel free to experiment with things and find what you personally like.
as a disclaimer/conclusion, if you’re a nonbinary person who likes to wear bright makeup or skirts or have long hair and painted nails, then that is perfectly okay. if you’re a nonbinary person who likes to dress as masculine as possible then that is also okay. there is no one way to exist as a nonbinary person or as somebody who dislikes gender roles. what matters in the end is that you feel comfortable with how you appear, both to yourself and the the people around you.
*nonbinary: a person who identifies as neither male nor female.
*cisgender: a person who identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth. (opposite of transgender)
*genderqueer: a term similar to nonbinary, defined as a person who does not identify as male or female, but rather somewhere in between.
*resources that provide free or reduced price binders: http://point5cc.com/chest-binder-donation/
there are several other websites such as Big Brother Used Binder Program that are blocked by the school computers but can easily be accessed from a personal computer.