True story: In college, I was at the mall, browsing around H&M, when within a few minutes, one of the sales associates came to up me to say, “Excuse me, this is the men’s section.” He directed his hands across the back of store as if he was marking a line of property. “I know,” I quickly replied, then continued to sift through a rack of T-shirts.
More than a decade later, I still think about that interaction often. Who was this guy to tell me that I was shopping in the wrong part of the store? And who was he to tell me that I should be picking out a tee from the women’s aisles instead? Besides, I liked how a larger fit and size draped over my skinny jeans. (This was the early aughts, OK?)
Genderless fashion has always been around, but for it to catch on with the mainstream shopping masses has taken quite some time. Luckily, there have been some recent strides. According to a report from global fashion shopping platform Lyst, genderless styles are gaining momentum. Since the beginning of the year, searches for fashion pieces including agender-related keywords have increased by 33 percent. Meanwhile, in May 2021 alone, mentions related to genderless fashion across press and social media have jumped 46 percent.
Some of fashion’s most trendy items are essentially unisex, as well, from the coveted Telfar Shopping Bag to summer-friendly camp shirts. Skirts and dresses worn by men are on display more than ever before, including Harry Styles’ Vogue cover, Kid Cudi’s SNL performance, Billy Porter’s red carpet looks, and style icons Lil Nas X, Bad Bunny, and A$AP Rocky. Plus, Billie Eilish and Chika’s penchant for oversized silhouettes have also defied the sartorial expectations as a woman in the music industry.
Of course, there is still some work to be done. Fashion weeks are divided by men’s and women’s collections, and so much of the retail experience is very much the same. Even fashion pieces claiming to be genderless often overlook butch women and the non-binary community. Fortunately, a wave of up-and-coming, queer-founded fashion brands are challenging the industry’s norms. Case in point: Self-expression through style should exist beyond the binary. Wear whatever the f*ck you want, even if a pushy sales associate might tell you otherwise.
Inspired by NYLON’s Pride Issue cover shoot, starring Rickey Thompson, who seamlessly wore a mix of men’s and women’s clothing, we gathered up the exact pieces (and some similar recommendations) for you to add some more fashion-savvy to your own wardrobe, below.
We only include products that have been independently selected by NYLON's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.