Contemporary women’s fashion often contains classic menswear pieces, certain detailing and styling aspects are regularly taken from menswear pieces in order to create functional more appropriate clothing for women, however this hasn’t always been the case.
Designers now re-engineer menswear to fit the woman's body, sharp tailoring and contrasting textures are now common features within women’s fashion. Genderless fashion is popular today with designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, Hugo Boss and Yves Saint Laurent adopting androgynous style, however this hasn’t always been the case.
The 1980’s saw the rise in the use of jersey and stretch fabrics used as outerwear for women - something that previously hadn’t been seen before. Popular culture, music and street style influenced designers to play around with different fabrics and silhouettes crossing the boundaries and overlapping menswear and womenswear.
Over the past twenty or so years, the fashion industry has seen the appearance of androgynous style grow as men’s and women’s style breaks away from its stereotypical characteristics. Women have began to dress more like men and men have began to embrace their feminine side.
Coco ChanelIts impossible to talk about the influence of menswear on women’s fashion without mentioning Coco Chanel. Menswear influences on womenswear has been apparent since the 20th century with Coco Chanel creating the “power suit”. Chanel produced powerful statement pieces influenced by masculine silhouettes leading the way in terms of elegant andrology by interpreting menswear pieces with a feminine twist.
Because of influential designers like Chanel, it is now possible to dress masculine yet still appear feminine. Chanel was the first to introduce the use of tailoring with her garconne or boyish silhouette which at the time shocked certain members of society. The androgynous look has become one of the most influential looks in womenswear and this has continued through to the 21st century.
Chanel made it possible for the women of today to have the freedom to wear masculine boxy shapes, moving away from the typical constraints associated with womenswear to clothes that they can actually move in and feel comfortable in.