Juxtaposition in Fashion

Juxtaposition in Fashion

I’ve always loved that fashion, in its purest form, has no rules. Fashion includes anything and everything—as long as it’s not boring. We’re all such unique individuals who don’t fit into the same mould, so our clothes shouldn’t either. To have our clothes reflect our diverse identities, I suggest we all incorporate juxtaposition into our fashion.

On her website, Carrie Colbert perfectly explained that juxtaposition in fashion is “simply talking about creating an interesting outfit through unexpected combinations.” What I love about the concept in general is that, even though it hinges on contrast, the word “juxtaposition” really attributes to balance. You’re not just creating an outfit with unexpected combinations for the shock value, but using those combinations to pull your whole outfit together. Moreover, not only does contrast make an outfit look more interesting, it allows multiple aspects of personal style to shine through. There are lots of ways to incorporate juxtaposition into your style however, a great place to start is pairing masculine and feminine pieces together into one outfit. 

Over the years, certain items and silhouettes have been deemed either masculine or feminine. The adjectives made sense in an age where women wore corsets and flowing dresses, while men wore structured suits and combat boots. Times have changed and gender norms are changing with them—women are infiltrating old boys’ clubs in corporate America and men are breaking the barriers of masculinity. 

Androgyny has also been on the rise in the fashion and social world, blurring the concept of gender binaries. As gender roles have begun diminishing and sexual fluidity becomes more widely accepted, the line has been blurred when it comes to gender binaries in fashion. Mixing and matching traditionally masculine or feminine pieces is a way to create balance and defy stereotypes because it allows multiple aspects of personal style to shine through. We’re not 100% masculine or 100% feminine—and our outfits shouldn’t be either.

It’s almost spring, so light coloured floral dresses and blouses are flooding the markets. I love the whimsical feel of these pieces. However, instead of pairing them with equally dainty ballet flats or heels, I usually opt for sneakers or lace-up boots. Sturdy shoes make the whole outfit look more effortless and add a good balance—think of the chiffon dress as being the sky and your brown boots connecting you to the ground. Let’s face it, shoes with a traditionally masculine connotation are also way more comfortable. 

The combination of light and heavy pieces is an easy way to juxtapose styles. Pairing a cotton or chiffon top with dark leather pants, adding a belt with heavy hardware to a linen dress, wearing a structured denim jacket over a romper can pull the whole look together.  

Silhouette juxtaposition also adds balance. Traditionally, fitted pieces are seen as feminine while oversized or loose items are seen as masculine. However, wearing an entirely skin-tight outfit is better suited for Stages and entirely baggy outfits can make people think you’re having a quarter life crisis or trying to be a 90’s rapper. Wearing a figure hugging top with moto jeans or an oversized jacket makes the outfit more casual. In contrast, pairing a loose fitting button up with a figure hugging mini skirt can make the whole look more chic. By combining pieces that contrast each other, you can make your whole wardrobe more versatile.

Header Image: Carrie Colbert
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