Whatever happened to dressing girly?

A few musings on the future of fashion.

We know fashion is a cyclical beast. Fashion items we once loved are making a comeback and it’s set to happen over (and over) again. But, when I look at modern fashion, I’m curious about where we’re sitting on the fashion cycle.

Obviously there are outliers but when you look at fashion right now, it’s hard not to see certain patterns. Stylistically we’re opting for monochromatic and tailored styles over bright and frilly pieces. Pants over skirts, muted tones over florals and trainers over heels. I don’t want to call it ‘tomboyish’ but I guess that’s where we’re landing. It’s a look that’s decidedly less girly, more structured and sporty instead.

This is in no way a bad thing, it’s actually quite the opposite. Dressing tomboyish is as indicative of modern trends as it is about personal style and creativity. It’s also a sign of the times. Modern fashion is turning classic feminine style on its head, and honestly, it’s about time. 

Today’s fashion, as it stands

I’m aware that in a few months’ time, this entire article will be completely outdated, simply because fashion trends change so often that it can be hard to keep up.
Fashion today is focussed on boldness and individuality, and style is as powerful as it is personal. For some, fashion is no longer just about the clothes. Instead, dressing has become a personal commentary on contemporary issues and trends.

We’re a culture that’s become increasingly more inclusive, whether that be with gender identity, sexuality, race or size. More to the point, the fashion industry is leaning toward clothes which aren’t defined by gender. Could this then be influencing our current state of play? Could dressing tomboyish simply be a way to fight against years of gender stereotyping? Am I overthinking this? It’s all possible.

The times they are a changin’

Growing up, females are ingrained with certain idealistic standards about how we should dress. For me, growing up in the ’90s meant my parents would place me in frilly dress after frilly dress. And it continued well into my teens. That cutesy look began early, and fittingly, it followed suit as I grew up. Even when I went though my sk8er girl phase in year six (all hail Queen Avril) or my emo phase in year eight (I really wish I was joking about this), I still managed to keep things feminine.

But that’s no longer the case. It’s the women that wear the pants now (both metaphorically and physically). We’re no longer tied to these archaic ideals about dressing to suit our gender; we have the flexibility to wear whatever the fuck we want. And that’s pretty liberating. So if that means dressing girly one day, dressing sporty the next and filtering through a bouillabaisse of other sub-genres of fashion (anti-luxe-hipster, cat-lady couture or whatever you’re feeling that day) then so be it.

Trends are dead

Take your average fashion week runway show. A handful of designers with individual styles are showing off what they think will be fashion forward next season. But with such an over-saturation of brands and styles, fashion ‘trends’ aren’t what they used to be. So much so, that maybe our idea of the ‘trend’ has lost all meaning.

Think about it. Your average multi-designer runway show will see both sneakers and platforms, midriff tops and over-the-top layering, mini skirts and midi skirts, wide-leg pants and skinny jeans. Across the board there’s a little of everything happening. Does that mean everything is a trend? And if everything’s a trend, is anything really a trend? My head hurts.

The rise of personal style

Today’s fashion is a collated mix of everything, so for a consumer, it’s no longer about what’s in fashion but about your personal style goals. What do you think looks god? What will fit into your lifestyle? What helps you express yourself? What makes you feel like a badass bitch 24/7? If that’s a floral dress, then so be it. If it’s an athleisure jumpsuit, more power to you. It’s up to you to curate your own style. We’ve now got the flexibility and availability to do whatever we please. And that’s pretty awesome. 

Illustration by Twylamae who’s also the genius behind this Larry David shrug tee.

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