Your Guide To Nailing Androgynous Dressing

Prince. Annie Lennox. Twiggy. Patti Smith. David Bowie. Ruby Rose. What do all these icons have in common? They absolutely nailed the androgynous aesthetic and made it their signature look. Merriam-Webster defines androgynous as "having the characteristics or nature of both male and female." Mixing your natural features with those you can enhance using cosmetics, clothing, and accessories allows for an endless variety of different looks that bend or break through gender expectations.

Experimentation is necessary any time you decide to change up your personal style. According to The Well Dressed Life, the best first step is to create an inspiration board full of looks you like in the style you're going for. Then, edit that board and leave only the looks you love enough to want to actually live in. From the fashion staples to the hair and makeup tips and tricks that support them, here is a guide to defining and mastering your own take on an androgynous style.

Start small with makeup

If you're used to putting on a full face of standard femme makeup on a daily basis, you'll need to dedicate some time to experimenting with a more masculine no-makeup makeup style. Once you get your routine down, making the switch can feel quite freeing. No more need for heavy foundation, false lashes, elaborate eyeshadow, or extensive highlighting. Start with concealing any blemishes or dark circles, then add a tinted moisturizer or sheer foundation. Focus on creating a thicker, bolder fluffier brow using a high-quality powder or pomade. Add a little contour to chisel your jawline and cheekbones, swipe on a nude lip, and you're good to go (via Instagram). 

Keep it casual

When you're ready to extend your androgynous styling into your actual wardrobe, start with your typical casual attire. What do you normally wear on a daily basis while running errands, working, or hanging out with friends? If you can usually be found in khakis and a cardigan, consider swapping them for a boxier men's button-up and chinos. If you're typical go-to is comfy jeans and a fitted t-shirt, replace your stretch denim with a more structured pair and explore a looser-fitting top with a wider shoulder seam (via Instagram).

Embrace the classics

Ready for an event or a night on the town? Consider replacing your trusty little black dress with a classic suit or tuxedo. A suit symbolizes power and success, and those are two things many feminine-presenting people haven't yet had a chance to embody. The experience of wearing one out in public can be a transformational part of embracing wherever you are on your androgynous style journey. It can even change how you think, as reported by The Atlantic. If you like a high-contrast look, pair an ultra-masculine power suit with stilettos and a smoky eye or red lip (via Instagram).

Make it your own

Changing your personal style doesn't have to mean abandoning the pieces you love to fit a strict and inflexible aesthetic goal. There is nothing you can't work into your new androgynous look. If you feel called to exclusively wear clothing designed for men but still love purses, you should absolutely continue to proudly carry one. If you choose to rock a short, masculine haircut, no makeup, and baggy basketball shorts as your signature look but feel most comfortable in cropped tops, by all means, wear your cropped tops. The center of your personal style is you (via Instagram).

Consider a big chop

There is no rule requiring you to cut your hair short if you want to dress androgynously. However, there is also no denying that it's a badass look. If you've been pining over a short-haired aesthetic, but you're too afraid to pull the trigger, just let go. After all, hair always grows back. There is also the option of going with an undercut if you'd like to enjoy the option to display or hide your gender-bending side in certain social situations (via Instagram).