Category Archives: Articles

Genderplayful Cosplay at Comic Con

Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.

Here are some shots of mine from New York Comic Con this past weekend, of cosplayers having some fun with gender, or in some cases just plain having fun.

This Loki was trying to meet up with another Loki on the other side of the incredibly crowded convention hall:

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Trenchcoats and Superheroics

Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.
a child dressed as Wonder Woman mid-jump, reaching for the sky

We’re all toting super powers.
Some of us just reach higher with them.

In a flurry of black leather capes and jumpsuits, the superhero summer of 2012 is sadly over. Reading through The Fashion Harbinger’s rundown of the Avengers costumes, I was pleasantly surprised to realise that superheroes can be very reasonably dressed, especially compared to some of the more outrageous costumes that comics have inflicted on the world.

One staple of the superhero wardrobe is the trenchcoat ensemble. Trenchcoats hang comfortably on the frame of the body, don’t connote any particular expression of gender, and yet can be tweaked across styles to fit any sartorial preferences and gender presentations.

“Tintin in DC” by oinonio

Plus, they look badass.

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WorkWear, Part 1

Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.

Black-and-white photograph of a high-heeled shoe treading into carpet.

‘Looking professional’ is a phrase that never fails to set my teeth on edge. ‘Workwear’, ‘office attire’, or ‘formal dress’ are some of the most binarist categories of clothing, and they just don’t work for me because of that.

People who code or are read as female, for instance, are often pressured to present as femme in order to present as formal. (h/t to Emma for this gorgeous phrasing) In this post, some of the Genderplayful team members weigh in on this aspect of workwear binaries.

* * *

huimin says:

As s.e. smith writes:

There is an expectation, a demand, that working women dress fashionably. Not necessarily at the height of fashion, as runway looks wouldn’t be, as they say, work appropriate, but certainly neatly, elegantly. Dress codes are a snarled tangle to navigate when you’re supposed to be demure, but not drab, neat, but not flashy.

Whenever I have to dress up for a new setting – say an office job, or a formal presentation, or a dinner event – I become even more critical of my wardrobe. I am not a very femme person; I have some heels, some skirts, some dresses, and I wouldn’t have got them if I didn’t like them, but to present so explicitly as femme is a choice that I have to deliberate over, to be comfortable with. Continue reading

Steampunk Genderplay

Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.
A sepia photograph of a person wearing a beret and a flower-adorned suit standing in front of dinosaur bones.

Oxford Steampunk Art Exhibition. Photograph by Amanda Scrivener / flickr.

In the first issue of Neo-Victorian Studies in 2008, Rebecca Onion wrote: ‘Steampunk, a multi-textual aesthetic which first began to form in the late 1980s, imagines the world as it was during the early Victorian era, when steam power still fuelled machines.’ The steampunk aesthetic, which began as a subculture, has moved progressively towards the mainstream, helped in part by its appeal to crafters with the growing trend of DIY design. (Yay! – For example, see Sugardale’s How to Make a Petticoat: I can’t sew but feel so tempted to try, nonetheless!)

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Visual Feasts

Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.

Today’s conversation: designers and collections! Of course, the Genderplayful Marketplace is a fantastic place to find both, but what about other spaces?

High school student maresalsalis has a lovely English period-inspired sketch of ‘a nineteenth-century gender-nonconforming young lady, inspired by a very amazing reference book of period costumes I found today’, entitled Monarch.

From Natalie Brilmeyer, a fashion major at Chicago’s School of the Art Institute, comes Gender-Queer Glam, a series of designs which combine urban clothing trends with looser fabrics and flowing lines.

And, because of the growing interest in the steampunk subculture as a source of style, something that might please you – John Yau’s ‘Gothic Dandy’. Described as a combination of ‘Victorian elements such as highly starched shirt collars and cuffs with feminine fabrics such as lace,’ the collection seeks to present ‘blended sexuality and the softened image of traditional masculinity’. An interview with the creator is available at NOIR Magazine.

A model standing on an urban rooftop, dressed in a loose beige blazer over a colourfully-studded black vest, and wearing beige bermudas.

Photograph from Jason Menswear. Model: Kirill V.

Finally, Singaporean brand Jason Menswear, by JR Chan, has a decidedly kiltish look, with a baggy, skirtlike smart-casual cut and a mission: ‘Let’s break stereotypes.’

Sounds like a sentiment we can share!

Are there any collections that have caught your eye lately? Any arresting sketches? Any designers you like to windowshop? Or, if you yourself are a designer and/or seamster, why not drop a link to your work in the comments? Better yet, sign up as a vendor, if you haven’t already done so!


Editor’s Note: This post is from the original Genderplayful Community Blog, back when we were also a marketplace.
Chinese fabrics hanging on a store rack, lit by a halogen lamp.

Photograph by Jakob Montrasio on Flickr, used under a CC-BY licence.

新年快乐! To everyone whose culture celebrates the spring festival, happy new year!

While contemporary Western modes of clothing have become part of globalised wardrobes in many societies, traditional fashion is often worn on holidays, and some people also deliberately elect to make these garments a part of their everyday closet as a political statement.

However, one problem is that traditional clothing tends to be treated as though it exists in historical stasis – globalisation stifled its organic evolution – and, as such, the garb may reflect outmoded understandings of gender as a binary. For example, certain kinds of clothing, like the cheongsam or the Aboyne dress, are coded explicitly feminine, and there is a lot more resistance to androgynous or genderbending approaches thereto.

Does your culture have different types of traditional dress for different genders? Is there a traditional dress that is particularly dear to you, or which you particularly enjoy wearing? How do you negotiate conventional restrictions on what kind of dress you can wear in your culture? Do you know of any modern, genderplayful takes on these articles of clothing?

And can you point me in the direction of interesting qipao designs? ;)