Throughout the years, fashion has been a way to liberate ourselves from society’s expectations and make a statement about what should or shouldn’t be considered normal. The best part about fashion is how versatile it is and how clothing can be used to express yourself. Many influences such as Marilyn Monroe, Coco Chanel, and more created their own styles and went on to inspire generations of people to defy stereotypes and be themselves.
For centuries, women’s fashion has been made for men by men. Marilyn Monroe, one of the biggest fashion icons in the world, has helped women all over the world take back clothing from men. Monroe reclaimed her own femininity through her clothing and made it hers. Today, many women continue this legacy. This includes Leandra Cohen who, like Monroe, inspires women to choose what they want to wear and encourages self expression through fashion. The female influences who defy the fashion standards made by men are so important because much of the audience who are consuming these fads and clothing items are young women and girls. Commercials and ads made by men can evoke problems with self worth and paint an unrealistic picture for the younger female audience. With female influences and more women in the fashion industry, the stereotype that women’s clothing exists for men instead of for the woman wearing those clothes dies.
Marilyn Monroe not only helped women in fashion but also greatly encouraged body positivity, showing the whole world that fashion is for everybody, not just for the people seen as the beauty standard. This idea carries on today, with women of all body types rejecting the idea that they are more or less beautiful because of their size. Beauty is much more than that. Tess Holiday, a plus-size model, advocates that size does not dictate the clothes you wear. She is a huge inspiration, encouraging everyone to “[accept] yourself the way you are. If you want to work towards a better you in whatever regards… do it. But you’re okay just the way you are today.” Magazine covers are not just for one body type, and the stereotype that bigger men and women can only wear one specific style is being fought against by many. Fashion is for everyone, and these women and many more people support that fact.
Today, more and more people are embracing androgyny. While it used to be rare, now androgynous fashion has only become more mainstream. One of the most influential, well known fashion designers in the world, Coco Chanel, began the push towards androgynous fashion in the early 1900s. Her designs liberated women from the rigid confines of Victorian Era fashion and paved the way for future fashion icons. The wave of androgynous fashion in the 70’s led to artists like David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Jimi Hendrix embracing new looks. Some of the style staples were blouses, high heels. In general, androgyny included clothes that didn’t necessarily fit what the stereotypes for men and women’s clothing had been. With the power of time that has continued to invade different sectors of society. Jaden Smith, Lily-Rose Depp, Harry Styles, and Billy Porter are good examples of today’s abandonment of old stereotypes and regulations. They support the ideas that fashion is what you want it to be and that femininity and masculinity are mere labels that do not express something real. Jaden Smith worked with Louis Vuitton for their womenswear campaign, in order to show everyone that you don’t have to be afraid to express yourself. Harry Styles was recently on the cover of Vogue magazine wearing a beautiful dress. Lily-Rose Depp wore a Karl Lagerfeld suit for a Paris party. And Billy Porter has popularized wearing extravagant gowns to award shows. Young audiences watching these influencers are able to better immerse themselves in progressive fashion while navigating their sense of self.
We are embarking on an age of non conformity. At times things are novel and often we reclaim and reframe things from the past. And so we move forward as a path towards new beginnings can only be forged when we remember the past while leaving it behind.