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Style Inspiration

David Bowie and the Current State of Gender Fluidity

david bowie

As you have probably been reading a lot this week, David Bowie was the original gender maverick. He was one of the first in the public eye to incorporate gender fluidity, the buzzword of 2015, into his on-stage personas.  If you think about it, it is pretty amazing that David Bowie was addressing these issues, with which we are only now becoming more comfortable, 40 years ago! Keep reading to hear how gender issues have come up in our house and scroll down to see how we have caught up in 2015, when designers like Gucci have men in pussy-bow blouses on the runway.


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The gender divide was not something I thought much about, aside from when a male friend borrowed my silver dress for a costume freshman year at Parsons School of Design and ROCKED IT, until I had kids. Now I find myself giving Mr. Real Life Style a talking to if I think he is trying to steer our boys away from pink, purple, unicorns, dolls or anything else traditionally considered feminine. I purposefully purchased a bath baby for Max so that he could practice taking care of his coming baby brother as well as develop empathy at the same time. Now the two boys fight over who gets to wash the baby. When Max needed new slippers, I didn’t try to influence which color he chose. I picked out a good quality, warm pair, and told him he could have any color he wanted. He requested purple, and we ordered two pairs so that his female best friend could have the same pair. She has a purple bike, so he wants one too. Mommy puts on makeup, so he wants some too. Some new childrenswear companies are solving parental frustrations with less gender specific clothing. The idea is that if your daughter wants a green dinosaur tee shirt, or your son wants something in pink or purple, they shouldn’t have to shop in the opposite gender’s section.


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My son, along with many other kids today, are following the trend set forth by David Bowie over 40 years ago and by fashion today. Androgyny was one of 2015’s most talked about trends. While we’ve seen women in menswear cuts and prints for a few seasons in a row, Alessandro Michele’s Fall 2015 menswear collection at Gucci had waifish men walking down the runway in lace and pussy-bows. The inspiration is obviously taken from the Seventies and David Bowie’s gender-bending aesthetic (look at the picture above and the picture below and tell me you don’t see it!). Alessandro Michele then ran with the trend, of which labeled him “the movement’s unofficial leader,” and created an even more ambiguous Spring 2016 collection, sticking with the pussy-bow motif and adding bell-bottoms and florals.  And guess what? After Gucci’s experimental collection hit runways, the fashion house reported its first sales growth in two years.


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Gucci Fall 2015 Menswear Show



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Gucci Spring 2016 Menswear Show


What do you think? How has the trend of gender fluidity affected you? Have you noticed David Bowie’s influence in your home or in clothing stores?  Let me know on my Facebook page!

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist, working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day. You can find her in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia and New York areas.

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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