15 January 2012

A Basic Andro Style Guide, From The Top Down

Androgynous style is often misinterpreted as simply wearing clothing often associated by the opposite sex. To an extent, it works, but to have a truly androgynous fashion sense you'll cater to both sexes at once. A way to determine if a piece of clothing you're about to buy is androgynous in style is to ask yourself these two questions:

1. Is the piece of clothing commonly worn by both men and women? The answer should be "yes".

2. Does the piece of clothing make you look particularly masculine or feminine? The answer should be "no".

Androgynous tops will generally be non-formfitting so that it doesn't define your gender. Specifically aiming to keep the chest area undefined. 
        -Loosely fit, flouncy tops and t-shirts
        -Large sweaters
        -Button downs, flannel
        -Collared shirts
        -Loose tank tops
        -Androgynous pants are commonly straight-legged, but lately flare is coming back in style
        -You don't want your pants to be too baggy because that seems very masculine
        -Harem pants, or drop-crotch pants
        -Skinny jeans
        -No skirts

        -Boots are a very commonly worn in androgynous fashion, boots with heels are fine for both sexes
        -Converse are common
        -No 'girly' heels
        -Sandals are fine 

        -Backpacks, messenger bags, no purses
        -Unisex hats, like a beanie
        -Any kind of jewelry is fine as long as you address the two questions above

        -Neutral and earthy colors (browns and tans)
        -Achromatic shades (black, white, grey)
        -Commonly unisex colors like red, blue, and green (mostly darker shades)
        -Neutral patterns, or no patterns at all

These rules are not set in stone, all fashion can be modified to fit your personal gender, fashion and gender are constantly changing, this is just one opinion by observation.

14 January 2012

The Androgynous Face

What is it about a face that makes its gender indistinguishable? 

First we have to consider what makes a face particularly feminine or masculine.

Facial qualities that are seen as more feminine might be:
  • generally smaller face with soft features
  • longer eyelashes, arched brows
  • high cheekbones
  • big eyes
  • fuller lips

Facial qualities that are seen as more masculine might be:
  • larger, angular face with hard features
  • square, defined jaw
  • deep-set eyes, larger brows with less shape
  • firmer lips
  • facial hair

Androgynous individuals have a combination of these qualities, or they have qualities that just aren't very defined on one side or the other.

10 January 2012

Andrej Pejic: 2 Models for the Price of 1

At first glance, most people would say that model Andrej Pejic appears to be a woman. However, given a closer look, you'll find that is not the case. Andrej, 20, is originally from Bosnia, had to escape to a refugee camp in Belgrade during the Bosnian War, eventually settling in Australia.

He was discovered as model material between the ages of 16 and 17, and is now one of the most sought after androgynous models in the industry. He has modeled for many major names like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, and John Galliano. 

The fact that his gender is apparently ambiguous is what intrigues the designers the most -- and the fact that he can model as male or female is obviously a huge plus for whoever is paying for him. 

In an interview with OUT Magazine, Andrej answers questions about being a male interested in feminine things.

OM: If you had something to say to the boys who go to who might live in a smaller town in America and play with the idea of femininity and masculinity, [what would you say]?

ANDREJ: It's okay, you know, it's ok to do it and be different, and to explore this side of you. It's nothing that you should suppress.

OM: How do you deal with bullies or people who mention something about you and your clothes?

ANDREJ: You need to get to a point where, you know, if it makes you happy then at the end of the day no one can take away from that. You have to understand that a lot of people are not so educated in these matters and can be ignorant. so I guess the hatred, or whatever it is, comes from that.

Designer Marc Jacobs talks about Andrej: "There is just a feeling like 'this boy is so beautiful' and, you know, i think we live in a modern world and I hate labels. I hate when people say something is masculine or feminine, or pretty or ugly, because to me everything is interesting if you're interested in it."

Whether or not you can tell he is a man or a woman (and truly, that shouldn't matter anyway), what we all can agree on, without question, is that he is truly beautiful, and his beauty goes beyond labeling a gender. Based on many sources, he seems pretty intelligent as well, so we look forward to this AndrejAndro bringing some of his knowledge even beyond the high-fashion world to open up some minds to see beauty in all its different forms.

check out more beautiful images of Andrej >> here <<

09 January 2012

la bowie inspired la roux? oh yes.

In the 1970s, music legend David Bowie re-emerged, after already have some success, with an alter-ego called Ziggy Stardust. A well-known pioneer of self-reinvention (seen later in artists like Prince, another androgynous figure), Bowie's "Ziggy" was colorful, flamboyant, and androgynous. 

Although the persona was short-lived, Bowie's ambiguous image and lifestyle continued and became a large part of his brand. At that time, gender-bending seemed much more rebellious than it is today, but that's why he stood out, made headlines, and inadvertently continues to inspire others to do the same even now.

Like who? La Roux! Lead singer, Eleanor "Elly" Jackson, of the UK pop group has been quoted many times through various interviews including from AOL and MTV in saying that she has a "fascination" and "love" for David Bowie and that he is a strong inspiration to her, "style-wise". 

I think you probably could've guessed that by watching the "In For The Kill" singer's video for their most popular hit "Bulletproof" from early 2010 -- what with all her boldly colored pants and eye makeup, patterns on her blazer, unisex hairdo, and an obviously not-so-feminine-yet-totally-intriguing face.

Otherwise looking like a ridiculously accurate love-child of androgynous actress Tilda Swinton and Pretty In Pink's unlucky-in-love character "Duckie":


BUT it's not just Elly's style that makes her part of the Andro Club. 

In late 2010, she was quoted in an article appropriately entitled, Elly Refuses to be Labelled, "I don't have a sexuality. I don't feel like I'm female or male. I don't belong to the gay or straight society, if there is such a thing. I feel like I'm capable of falling in love with other people. I'm not saying I'm bisexual, I'm just sexual!" She says another thing that might perk an andro's ears, "...weirdly, I want to look like the people I fancy."

Unfortunately, she, like Bowie, was criticized for not being easily identified as 100% her biological sex by paired gender. She says, "I felt very out of sorts at school. I was a tomboy and didn't dress like a girl. I wanted to hang out with the boys and got picked on because I was different. It was constant abuse. I tried to be more girlie but I ended up losing myself." 

Read in full:

And that's that, I suppose. A truly androgynous musician. Let's hope she and her band partner Ben Langmaid bring a few more successful singles in 2012 so Elly can continue to inspire other androgynes out there that's it's all good.

It's Not All Serious Business

looks what's coming up...

08 January 2012

Thomas Gramstad says it like this:

"One of the biggest and most prevalent mistakes in Western Culture is the idea that there exist two separate and 'opposite' genders, masculinity and femininity. This gender dualism is not only false and without any factual or scientific support, but also very harmful.

One strategy to overcome this wrongness is the idea of androgyny, by which masculinity and femininity are not conceived as opposite ends of one spectrum, but as two separate spectrums: you can be or have both at once (or neither), not only the one or the other.

Thus, you can combine the various components of masculinity and femininity in any number of ways, according to your individual preferences, needs and nature.

Should we then strive for an androgynous, individualist, highly diverse culture?"

check out his page.

My response to this is that we shouldn't necessarily strive to all be androgynous, because, of course, we don't all feel androgynous. However, we should strive to not only accept androgyny (and stop freaking out when you can peg someone right away), but also accept that, even within ourselves, none of us are absolutely, 100% completely masculine or completely feminine. it's just not possible. We share aspects of the opposite gender that have nothing to do with our sex or sexuality, but in our personalities and interests etc.

This is why it's ridiculous to say that boys don't cry or that girls shouldn't play certain sports.

There are an infinite number of variables that determine and shape who we are in every way. How is it possible that any of us ends up with what 'society' believes is 100% of anything besides being alive or dead?

05 January 2012

I, Androgyne...

Androgynous male model Andrej Pejic (left) with female model Jana K. (right).

What does it mean to call oneself Androgynous? simply states:
-neither clearly masculine nor clearly feminine in appearance

Of course it's more complex than that, otherwise this blog would only have a singular post and there would be nothing more to say.

Let's break it down. The prefix "andro-" means male, or man, as in 'androsterone', a hormone produced in the male testes. And the suffix "-gyne" refers to the female reproductive organs, as in 'gynecology'. 
I'm sure this brings up many more questions.

Isn't that just a different way of saying you're a hermaphrodite?
Does it simply describe a person's sexuality?
Is it a counter-culture?
Can someone naturally just be androgynous?
Do you choose to be androgynous?
Is it simply a fashion statement?

I'd like to answer some or all of those questions from my own perspective with a few facts and testimonials to back me up throughout the development of this blog, and I will no doubt share that with you. However, in my opinion, in regards to the androgynous evolution, it's more undefined now than ever. Nothing is ever certain. If you believe that it is, ask yourself that in another 5 years. The grey area is slowly becoming dominant in our culture. And that's what makes androgyny what it is.

This unisex appearance (and more), and its effect on our society challenges the idea that we need to label ourselves in any way, whether it's our gender or anything else. be continued.