It’s no secret that women are the most fashion-forward segment of the population, and yet, in 2017, the majority of women’s clothing choices fall somewhere between “manly” and “feminine”.
According to new research from American brand H&M, women’s wear looks more masculine than men’s clothing.
In a study published in the Journal of Fashion, researchers found that more than half of the clothing styles studied by H&Ms had at least one gender-neutral word in their name.
While the findings were unsurprising, they are a reminder that there’s still a long way to go before women’s style becomes mainstream.
“We need to stop thinking that a woman’s fashion is a commodity and start thinking about fashion as an opportunity for self-expression,” said lead author Sarah Stirling, who is a marketing professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
While this is not to say that women’s looks are the only part of their fashion preferences that are relevant to the fashion world, it’s clear that the majority are not necessarily looking for the most flattering option.
H&ms’ study shows that men’s and women’s styles are more similar than they are different, as it shows that people are drawn to the same general look across gender lines.
When asked about their overall style preferences, people preferred a wide range of options.
Hominid, slim, and curvy were the most popular choices.
However, women were most likely to select a neutral look that had at most two genders listed as its genders, while men were most often more likely to choose a style with two genders on the label.
Overall, the study found that women were more likely than men to want to wear clothes that reflected their personal style.
While this could be due to their personal preferences, the researchers believe that women have a greater need to be confident in their own style choices than men.
There’s also a potential reason why women prefer more neutral styles: While it might not seem like it, a man’s fashion statement can affect a woman differently.
“Our research suggests that women often feel like they have to take a back seat to men when it comes to the type of clothing that they choose to wear,” Stirling said.
Women also tend to think about clothing choices in terms of fashion, rather than gender.
In a 2016 study, researchers from the University at Buffalo and Northwestern University asked people to list the top three things they’d like to see in their clothing when it came to fit and functionality.
Women rated fit at the bottom of the list, and men ranked it at the top.
It seems as though women are drawn more towards clothing with a higher degree of functionality.
While some studies suggest that women prefer women’s suits and tops with a little more functionality, the authors of the H&m study argue that women tend to prefer something that is “light, functional and practical.”
The majority of the studies cited by the researchers showed that women had greater expectations of men’s clothes.
HMC’s study showed that men were more than twice as likely as women to describe men’s style as “very feminine.”
In an effort to help people get to know their own styles, H&s has created a clothing catalog that focuses on fashion, but also addresses gender and style.
The catalog includes a few styles that are gender neutral, including men’s dresses and women’t shirts, and there’s also some clothing that women find appealing that they would choose to go for on their own, such as hats, scarves and gloves.
Despite all the attention being paid to fashion, Stirling believes that fashion is still largely overlooked.
“Women and girls in particular are often overlooked for their style and they don’t always get the attention they deserve,” she said.
“If we can teach people to look for style and the right fit in a way that feels authentic and gives them a feeling of belonging, it will make all the difference in the world.”
Follow me on Twitter: @lizfritzing