Fashion, Trends

PSA: Men can Paint their Nails and wear lingerie

Men can too.

words by: Natasha Marsh
Aug 8, 2022

Feeling good in your clothes is a great feeling. Shopping for clothing however, doesn’t always resonate with such a good feeling when you’re forced to shop the traditional men’s or women’s sections. In the men’s section, for instance, you will find oversized options, whereas the female section is loaded with crop tops.


Sure, these outdated categories work for some people, but if you don’t fall into either category, it can be a really frustrating process. Fortunately, there are more and more brands and consumers coming out with gender-neutral options.


We saw it in the nail industry with high-profiles like Tyler the Creator, Harry Styles, and Machine Gun Kelly rocking their own star-studded manicure, leading to their eventual collections. So, if men can paint their nails, they should also be able to wear lingerie, right?


Robert Smith, founder of nonbinary clothing store Phluid Project, once said: “A dress is a dress, a skirt’s a skirt, a jacket’s a jacket, lipstick is lipstick. We tend to gender everything. Our entire world is built on a binary construct, and the objective of the Phluid Project is to allow folks to express themselves in the way that they feel comfortable — the way that feels authentic to them.”


Lingerie wasn’t traditionally advertised to men before now because of social conditioning. For so long, fashion trends and runway shows were shown via gender norms — creating a binary system and the inner knowing that this is for her and this is for him. The language around products, marketing signs and everything in between was decided for us. But it’s fashion that really has the authority to break down these old constructs.


Fortunately, in 2020, Leak NYC, a genderless lingerie brand, was born out of the creative spirit designer Louis Dorantes witnessed in nightclubs. Dorantes views the brand’s clothing — including mesh bodysuits, unexpected cut-out details, neon color ways, and sportswear-inspired corsets — as a celebration of freedom and self expression.


“I grew up in the Midwest, and it was very conservative,” Dorantes said in a former interview. “I always felt like I had my hands tied behind my back with how to dress, how to be male-presenting, so it was so liberating to run with it, finally being able to just let all that go and challenge the binary.” And it’s not just Leak NYC. Cosabella, Savage x Fenty, TomboyX, Fluer du Mal, and others offer lace and mesh lingerie for all genders and sizes. These brands are producing silky boxers, board shorts, lacy underwear, and more for non-binary customers.


We are happy to see so many brands embrace a more fluid aesthetic through clothing options for everyone, no matter their gender identity. After all, a piece of fabric, material, or garment has no inherent gender, so why should people have to bend to gender norms? The simple answer, guided by this lingerie for all movement: They shouldn’t.


This is how glitter and drag history intertwine.


Photo via Justin J Wee/The New York Times