This comment was by Mike on the post “Switcheroo: A Confrontational Gender-Bending Experiment“.
I think the predominance of sport/casual in American fashion already infuses a lot of androgyny into people’s appearance. I was struck by how, with a few exceptions, much of the women’s clothing was already similar to menswear.
The significant distinction, for me, was how the cut of women’s clothing, even casual/sport, is so much more body-oriented. And this wasn’t noticeable, I felt, until the men were in women’s clothes. Immediately, the shape of their bodies, the beauty of their body line, became apparent. It was hidden in men’s clothing.
I think this is very much a gendered starting point in fashion, that cut and line are about the body, and that body is female. It means that aesthetically, the female body is the more interesting, and hence representative of the concept of “body.” And this licenses fashion to romance it with colors and textures and ingenious constructions that heighten or obscure or reveal—that create a story of allure and power and mystery. The men became part of this process for a moment when they were in women’s clothing. Suddenly, they too had bodies that had curves and erotic volumes, with a tension between what was shown and what was suggested.
Strange as it may be to say, to me, only in drag were they able to convey a very powerful presence based on the projection of their physicality—not just size and bulk, but the allure, the ability to command attention and dominate desire, of an artfully presented body. This is a daring concept of manhood that only high-fashion menswear (think Dolce & amp; Gabbana) takes on regularly.
Conversely, the women seemed reduced aesthetically by men’s clothing. The “story” men’s clothing told was mere utility, expedience. They might as well have been wearing animal skins.
All Switcheroo photos from http://sincerelyhana.tumblr.com/