Gender Neutral Clothing to Share

By |2017-10-13T20:14:53+00:00September 20th, 2017|The Fashion Edit|

The terms “menswear” and “womenswear” are losing their hold on fashion. Here’s our guide to shopping pieces you’ll both want to wear.

Uniqlo JWA Scarf and Sweater

As society becomes more accepting of all gender identities, barriers are also starting to blur between “men’s” and “women’s” fashions. In the past, androgynous fashion counted as an avant-garde part of fringe culture, but shifting labels have officially changed how we look at and shop for clothes.

Designers like Thom Browne and Gucci’s Alessandro Michele are paving the way for freedom from gender boundaries: For Spring/Summer 2018, the former featured a range of dresses and skirts in his “menswear” showing, while the latter frequently has male and female models walk the runway in pieces coded for the opposing gender.

After testing the waters with one-off, gender-neutral collections over the past few seasons (see: Zara’s Spring 2016 ‘Ungendered’ line and Levi’s Spring ’17 ‘Line 8’ capsule), it seems as though mass brands are also starting to move past the tokenism of capsule collections towards incorporating more androgynous pieces into their main collections. (The word “unisex” has also quickly fallen out of favour in place of such non-binary terms as “gender neutral” or “gender-free,” which are more inclusive of individuals who identify as gender-non-conforming or gender fluid.)

While most stores still relegate “menswear” and “womenswear” to separate sections, traditional silhouettes and fits are loosening up, complemented by muddled colour palettes. Chances are, when shopping for your partner, you’ll be equally likely to find a new favourite piece on any rack in store. (Also good news in the days of capsule wardrobes and small space living, when sharing a closet isn’t just an expression of androgyny—it’s a downright practical way to double your wares!)

Keep scrolling for a selection of stylish garments that flatter on most — no labels required.

Slim-fit cotton shirt COS.
Slim-fit cotton shirt, $150 at COS.

Millennial pink is has become so prevalent that, at this point, it’s basically a neutral. The slim-cut silhouette of this mauve shirt will suit both of you equally.

Uniqlo X JWA Cable Crew Neck Long-Sleeve Sweater
JWA Cable Crew Neck Long-Sleeve Sweater, $50 at Uniqlo.

What do you get when a Japanese retailer with an ethos geared towards essentialism and a British designer known for pushing the boundaries of androgynous fashion team up? Answer: A collection of classic yet cool garments that work for anyone, in any decade, like this two-tone take on the iconic Irish fisherman’s sweater.

Nudie Grim Tim jeans
Grim Tim jeans, $199 at nudiejeans.com.

Two things that literally everyone wants in their everyday denim: Plenty of stretch for comfort, and a slim-but-not-skinny cut. If you’re lucky enough to share a waist size with your significant other, you can break these dry denim jeans in twice as fast by taking turns wearing them.

Chalkstriped Stretch-Wool Bomber
Chalkstriped Stretch-Wool Bomber, $129 at Frank And Oak.

Staying true to its menswear roots, the pieces in Frank & Oak’s new women’s collection have distinct tomboy flair. The loose, slightly long fit of this wool-blend bomber is generally flattering.

Oak + Fort Pant 1579
Pant 1579, $98 at Oak + Fort.

The elastic waistband and cropped length of these tailored plaid trousers makes their sizing all the more flexible for sharing.

Biannual Reversible Parka
Parka, $450 at biannual.com.

All pieces from new vegan outerwear brand Biannual are made to be gender-neutral, and extremely adaptable: This parka reverses from black to pale pink, and the oversized fit means more room for serious layering.

Rad Hourani Skirt
Skirt, $775 at radhourani.com.

Here’s bit of trivia to make Canadian fashion lovers proud: Designer Rad Hourani made history when he was invited show at Paris’s Haute Couture fashion week back in 2013; he was both the first Canadian to participate, and the first designer to show a lineup of gender-neutral garments at the event. His one-size-fits-all wrap skirts, like this pinstriped jersey option, can be worn with the split in the front or back. 

Zara Long Coat
Coat, $199 at Zara.

A timeless wool duster coat is a must have this season: Ankle length for most, calf-length on taller bodies. The classic double-breasted styling and rich aubergine hue of this one make it a stand out, while the sloped shoulders signal a forgiving fit.