Intro to Fashion Studies – LP Post #2

In this fashion advertisement from the brand Westley Austin, two models, one presumably female and one presumably male, wear the exact same outfit featuring the brand’s “linen 5 pocket straight pant” and the “suede flame no.3” jacket.  The outfits, despite the genders of the models, are identical in style and shape, and only differ in size.  The hairstyles of the models are very similar as well – a down-do with an 80’s flare, and even the stance of the models are nearly identical.  The only ways in which this brand conveys gender in this advertisement is through model selection and styling.  The reason the models are easily gendered, despite their identical outfits, is because “human biology… includes a wide range of traits (e.g. height, build, voice), genes, chromosomes, hormones, and needs to be understood as a continuum of sex/gender,” (page 130).  The brand chose two models that are pretty clearly male and female under these terms, or at least convey clear masculine and feminine vibes.  The male model is much taller than the female model, and his pose is slightly more angled towards the camera, inferring slight dominance.  Both models seem to be wearing little to no makeup, however the male model has a mustache, which is often an indicator of gender.  I believe the advertisement reinforces traditional gender norms in terms of physical features, however I believe it subverts them in terms of clothing.  This is because the physical features of the models are traditional to their genders (i.e. females are shorter than males, females have longer hair, males have facial hair, etc.), however their clothing provides almost no indication of their gender because they are wearing the same exact outfit, which is unisex.

Kaiser, Susan. 2012. Fashion and Cultural Studies. London: Berg.

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