With news that fashion brands are moving towards creating unisex lines of clothing, available for men and women to buy and share, it appears that the androgynous look that was pioneered in the 80s by people like Madonna is going nowhere.

Since the 80s, things have softened up and toned down, of course. We’ve rid ourselves of the exaggerated shoulder padding and welcomed a streamlined shape for both men and women. Here’s how to get the androgynous look without looking like you’re just borrowing your boyfriend’s clothes.

1. Straighten Up

Go for a drain-pipe trouser or a straight leg jean that streamlines your legs and lends itself to a more masculine frame. If you’re curvy, opt for a high waist cut with a straight leg that runs over your hips.

straight leg trousers

Another trick is to go for a trouser with a defined central crease the elongates your legs and draws attention away from your curves.

2. Button Up

Cara style

The staple button down shirt is a go-to staple if you want an instant androgynous look. A well tailored shirt can be work with any number of separates to smarten up a look and give it a slightly more boyish feel.

Wear it smart with a crisp white number and a pair of tapered trousers. Or go casual with a denim shirt worn over a simple t-shirt and straight leg jeans with sneakers.

The shirt adds a masculine tone but can be softened with whatever you choose to pair it with – be it a pink Tee or a skater dress.

3. Add a Smart Shoe

Brogue shoes or Loafers smarten up an outfit but can also be worn by men and women, giving them instant unisex appeal. Wear it with a straight leg trousers and an upturned cuff to show off a brightly coloured sock underneath.

Alternatively, you can add a brogue to a skirt and shirt combination to give it that extra edge of masculinity your outfit needs.

4. Accessorize

Re-appropriate traditionally masculine accessories into your outfit for a subtle nod towards this change in the dividers between masculine and feminine. Of course you can wear a tie. Add it to a shirt and pinafore dress combination for a preppy look, or wear it tucked under a v-neck jumper.

In a similar vein, look for a man-bag or vintage briefcase instead of a traditional handbag. It adds a sharper edge to your look and will instantly make your outfit combination smarter.

5. Add a Blazer


The boyfriend blazer has made itself a staple in most wardrobes. It’s easy to layer over an outfit to give it a tougher feel. Go for one with soft shoulders that still has an air of girlishness about it but stick to dark shades that you can mix and match.

Wear your blazer with anything from a jersey maxi dress to a jeans – sneakers – t-shirt combination. Stick your hair in a casual top not for an off-duty model feel that pins down the androgynous look with easy.

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