October 9, 2009

Clothing during the early middle ages of the 10th to 13th centuries focused more on composite garments which later on evolves to more cutting and sewing of garments. The shape of the body was what was more important rather than just trying to conceal the body. Cote was one form of dress in which both men and women wore. Men and women wore the cote which was a tunic like garment worn with a girdle, which is a type of belt. The cote was loose fitting and measured from the neck and down to the ankles almost covering the feet completely. The sleeves of the cote are long and form fitting to the arm. The girdle was belted around the waist to show more of the shape of the body. I would consider this garment to be an example of unisex clothing. The mantle, or cape is another form of unisex clothing. These capes or cloaks were fur lined, and fastened with a broach called fermail. The function of the mantle was to keep both men and women warm. The Tunic was also another form of clothing I would consider to be unisex. Though this type of dress served as a different purpose for men than women, the style of the tunic was the same. For women, the tunic or chemise was an undergarment usually undecorated. For men, the tunic was used as a working garment in which they can easily move actively. Though during this time period men and women wore similar clothing, men and women wore different garments to represent their status role in society. The Bliaut, or bliaud was worn by the upper class, and was often sewn with two pieces of finer, fuller, and luxurious fabric.

Today, unisex clothing has somewhat become a popular choice by big clothing companies. Maybe the reason for unisex clothing is because in today’s society race and gender doesn’t seem to be much of a big deal when it comes to clothing. Anyone and everyone can wear whatever they please. I think that people are learing to accept the fact that this society is one big melting pot or tossed salad. As far as gender roles, who decides what men should wear, and who decides what women wear? How come in clothing stores, there is a men’s section and a women’s section? Do we decide this ourselves or does the media have some influence on who can wear what? I believe that media does have a lot to do with how we as humans carry ourselves. The media is a big portion of why we change ourselves to look like what we think is “beautiful” based on television. Though most articles of clothing distinguish men from women,there are also a lot of unisex clothing that is available today. A few examples that come to mind are clothing from American Apparel, a clothing company originally based in Los Angeles California. One garment I want to highlight is the collared long sleeve. Both men and women can wear the collared long sleeve in different variations. Here in the picture below shows both the men’s style and women’s style wearing the collared long sleeve tucked into the pants. Another unisex item I want to highlight is the circle scarf favored by both women and men.



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