four people wearing simple unisex outfits posing in a studio
Photo: Anna Shvets

When I think about my mid-to-late teenager years, about the fashion phase, in particular, the world unisex is the first thing that comes to my mind. I couldn’t be bothered with something feminine, all I wanted was to look free, and unisex wear made me feel this way. As a tribute to my past fashion passions, we are going to take a closer look at the unisex fashion phenomenon, its origins, and reasons for its popularity.

The Origins of Unisex Fashion

The term 'unisex' is used as an adjective and points to something with no specific gender. A thing, act, or concept that is suitable for absolutely any type of sex. The Latin prefix uni- used in the word 'unisex' is meant to give a sense of something shared. The term first appeared in the 60s, but such thing as unisex fashion has far more old roots.

Unisex clothing as garments that are suitable for any gender is believed to appear in the late nineteenth century. The fashion industry of that time was forced by The Victorian Dress Reform, resulting in a more practical design with fewer social restrictions. Simply saying, women have finally had an opportunity to enjoy various athletic and professional activities in comfy clothes.

Unisex, Gender-neutral, or Genderless Fashion?

There is no particular difference between the terms unisex, gender-neutral, genderless, agender, or androgynous clothing when it comes to fashion. They pretty much mean the same thing: a style of clothing that is meant for everyone no matter their gender. In my opinion, wearers should come up with a term that is more familiar to them.

woman in a beautiful white hoodie and joggers posing in the srudio
Photo: Ali Pazani

How to Style & Wear Unisex Clothing?

Unisex fashion came a very long way. Its versatile hand has touched several styles, leaving gender-neutral footprints in men's tactical clothing, women's boyfriend jeans, and even kids' onesies, which were based on union suits — a type of one-piece menswear. In fact, most unisex clothing is based on men's fashion, as it was always more universal and less restrictive.

When styling unisex pieces, try using them, foremost, as a base, layering it over with other clothing. Unisex tees and sweatshirts can be worn underneath any type of clothing and layered over with cardigans, vests, and jackets. If you feel like your look turns out to be too dull, add a few statement accessories to dilute them. Jumbo watches, eyewear, and hats work wonders with the unisex look.

The biggest appeal of such a fashion style comes in its forgiveness of being imperfect. Unisex allows one to use oversize silhouettes to their advantage, creating an all-forgiving contrast between the person and their outfit. So, go ahead and try to incorporate those vintage men's t-shirts you have in your collection. There is definitely a nice way of pulling off that unisex look. 

Why Choose Unisex Fashion?

If you are still wondering if you should go for a unisex in your daily life, I'm pleased to tell you that you already have incorporated it into your style. We all have opted for it a very long time ago. Everyone wears t-shirts, jeans, athleisure, sneakers, and boots. These pieces are all more or less universal, gender and age-neutral. 

Unlike men's or womenswear, unisex designs are easier in production. Sure, it is important to consider all body types and sizing, but the concept can be applied to any gender. Another advantage is the simplicity. Most unisex models are capsule-friendly, which means you can build any type of outfit, based on unisex basic clothing. This style is both time and money-saving.

three people wearing gender-neutral, unixes otfits posing in the studio
Photo: Armin Rimoldi

Why is Unisex Fashion on the Rise?

With the worldwide pandemic, genderless fashion gave been peaking in popularity. Of course, it's been peaking for years now, but the Covid-19 seemed to drastically quicken up the process. According to Lyst, people increased their interest in unisex clothing by more than 33 %, which directly influenced the industry.

The reason for the popularity lies in the universality and welcoming designs. Unisex fashion seems less confusing, more simple in styling, less confusing, but more affordable at the same time. With the popularity of athleisure and pajama-styled looks, unisex designs have found their rightful place. 

The Takeaway

I love that in the recent decade brands and stores started to launch more and more clothing collections that are not restricted to a certain gender, age, or a certain fit. This gives a more universal, approachable appeal to the fashion overall, unifying people together. Because, in the end, fashion is meant to serve our needs as consumers, not dictate its own rules, and create boundaries. And what are your thoughts?

Lots of love,