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Clothing and Gender Norms

People in the modern world are often overly concerned with gender norms. Many of us believe in unfounded stereotypes, such as that men should wear suits and women should wear dresses in formal business attire. However, when confronted with gender norms in my everyday life, I asked myself: What if a man does not want to wear a suit, but a woman does?

In 2015, fashion reporter Marc Bain told Quartz, “... As research and the experiences of countless non-gender-conforming people show, sex and gender aren’t perfectly binary. So, why should our clothes be?”

Gender nonconforming wardrobe has grown increasingly popular in modern times. Countless people have broken cultural expectations to wear what makes them feel most comfortable, including many inspirational public figures. Whether on the cover of Vogue magazine, at the Met Gala, or during other publicized events, singer Harry Styles has worn traditionally feminine clothes— including dresses, blouses, and more.

Many are thankful for Harry’s ability to defy gender norms, which has inspired them to be confident and comfortable with their own clothing choices. However, not everyone appreciates such displays of gender nonconforming wardrobe, and many have complained that it makes them uncomfortable to see a man wear traditionally female clothes.

Nonetheless, in the opinion of myself and other members of my generation, everyone should be allowed to wear what makes them feel most confident. As writer Li Na Jiang reports in The New Dealer, “Fashion has always been a limitless way for people to express themselves and feel comfortable. Men who dress in ‘feminine clothing’ are still powerful men, and women who dress in ‘masculine clothing’ are still powerful women.”

Clothing does not designate one's gender identity. It is only a way to express your inner self.


Atherton, Grace. “Clothes Have No Gender.” The Central Times, 3 Jan. 2021,

Bain, Marc. “Sex and Gender Aren't Perfectly Binary. Why Should Clothes Be?” Quartz, Quartz, 26 Apr. 2015,

Jiang, Li Na. “Do Clothes Have a Gender?” The New Dealer, 18 Dec. 2020,

About the Author:

Phebe Mietelski is a high school student. She is part of her cross country team and loves to be outside whenever possible. Over the past few years, Phebe has started to enjoy writing, and is excited to have the opportunity to write for The Alcott Youth Magazine.

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