Masculine Clothing: A Gender-inclusive Guide

Masculine Clothing: A Gender-inclusive Guide

By Charlie Lewis - February 2024

Masculine clothing is only as limited as the imaginations of those who want to experience masculine expression. In this guide, we will explore historical and current trends in masculine clothing and accessories, while also giving tips for dressing masculinely for all bodies - including those traditionally left out of masculine clothing design.

Note to the readers: This article is not sponsored by any clothing brand/manufacturer.

What is masculine clothing?

The term “masculine” has a broad and ever-evolving definition that varies based on cultural, societal, and individual preferences. In the past, masculine clothing typically referred to attire designed and tailored with characteristics associated with what was traditionally defined as "menswear" or "men's fashion", but today it simply refers to one's outward gender expression/presentation. Masculine clothing can be and has been explored by people of all genders, and there is no authoritative way to qualify which clothing is masculine. 

History of Masculine Clothing

In early human history, clothing was a way to protect oneself from the elements. Eventually, as society progressed and social roles became more complex, clothing and accessories became a way to denote social standing and societal roles.

In the 18th century, peacocking was the trend when it came to masculine fashion. This was the era of the Dandy. This meant colorful, brocade, and elaborately cutaway suits and jackets, as well as pantaloons and britches.

As time passed, masculine fashion became more understated, with simple frocks and tailcoats becoming popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries. This was mainly due to the Industrial Revolution, and the need for men, especially those at the top, to appear solemn and authoritarian. In the 1920s, tuxedos became the popular look for masculine fashion, and dinner jackets were introduced.

By the 1940s, a major change in the fashion industry came about- mass production. With clothing companies suddenly making large-scale productions of clothing that were relatively inexpensive to access, manufacturers needed to find a way to get customers to continue buying their products. They did so by creating fashion “seasons” which required one to re-invent or change one's style every few months. This created the modern “trend cycle” in fashion, which led to masculine fashion evolving far more rapidly than it had in the past.

Through the 1950s-1980s masculine fashion evolved from formal wear all the time, to a rebellious movement towards colorful, comfortable fashion which allowed more of the peacocking of the past.

In the 90s-2000s masculine clothing became both colorful and eclectic, with bold patterns and futuristic materials taking over. Baggy clothing and previously athletic/casual clothes such as sneakers, sweatpants, sweatshirts became everyday items.

By the 2010s, the rise of the fashion star or influencer became one of the largest impacts on modern masculine fashion trends. Clothing was fitting tighter, ties were getting skinnier, and masculine-presenting people were wearing more curated pieces.

In the 2020s we are beginning to see the lines between clothing considered appropriate for masculine folks expand to cover more traditionally “feminine” garments, such as skirts and dresses. Gender-based taboos in fashion are slowly beginning to dissolve in favor of the expansion of style and expression.

Masculine Clothing Style Trends

These days, some trends mainly stay in the world of high fashion while inspiring more casual dress styles. But this guide is intended to provide accessible tools for masculine expression. The following trends are some that are currently popular who is presenting masculinely.


The nostalgia for the 90s and early 2000s is still sweeping the world of fashion trends. Futuristic clothing, bucket hats, low-rise jeans, and bright bold patterns/colors are all the rage currently. You’ll also find turn-of-the-millennium-styled street clothes which find influence from early hip-hop fashion in the present masculine style.

Cardigans/Suit Jackets/Layers

Another fashion trend to come back around is wearing layers such as cardigans and jackets for more casual looks, and suit jackets for the fancier moments. Layers help to add interesting lines to the silhouette and add an extra flair of pattern or color. Layers can easily be utilized to manipulate the appearance of your body shape.

Cargo Pants

Cargo pants have come back again, and have a lightness to the material while having a plethora of pockets for anything you may need. These are also great pants to wear if you want pants that are a little looser around the hips to allow for body shaping or packing. Forgo the basic khaki-colored cargo, and bring in some bright jewel tones to enhance your look.

Blouses and Halter Tops

Masculine fashion is coming around to clothing previously considered “feminine” and re-framing it in a masculine context. This includes wearing blouses and halter tops. For a more formal or elegant look, a blouse can replace a button-down shirt, often adding color, texture, and softness to an ensemble. If you’re looking for something more casual or playful, a halter top will show off your arms and shoulders and is good for a summery or flirty look.


In line with the Y2K nostalgia, mesh a long-time raver gear material, is finding its way into casual masculine fashion. Along with mesh and sheer, knit and lace garments are seeing a rise in popularity at the moment. Mesh and knit sweaters, tops, and dresses add texture to a look and can offer a nice option for layering.


The casual but cool look of wearing sweatpants, sneakers, and hoodies is very popular in current masculine fashion. Fitted garments made of sweatpants material have overtaken the gym-ready sweatpants of the past, and have become a more fashion-forward choice for masculine folks on the street and in the office.

Shorts/Short Lines

The rein of the short king is here. Wearing shorter shorts, mid-calf pants, mid-length shorts, and dresses are in right now. If you are FTM, transmasculine, non-binary, or even just a short woman or cis-man, this is your moment to shine. Casual and formal shorts are on the rise. Pairing shorts with a crop top allows your body shape to be on display if you want. If you’re more interested in wearing clothing that conceals your body shape, a long blouse or caftan can also be worn over a pair of shorts.


Not just for working on a car or sky-diving, jumpsuits are a main fashion choice for masculine fashion this year. Jumpsuits are a fun and somewhat androgynous masculine clothing item, with several gender-inclusive brands specializing in jumpsuits. These versatile garments can be styled casually for everyday wear, or elevated with accessories for going out.

Tapered Waist

Though the more recent masculine silhouette has generally included wide and straight lines/angles, the tapered waist is emerging again as a trend in masculine fashion. This brings back the more elegant silhouettes of 1920s and 1970s fashion, which elongates the torso and pulls focus to the lines of the body.

Masculine Clothing Tips for Specific Bodies

Gender-affirming clothing should be accessible to all who identify along the spectrums of masculine identities, regardless of body shape or type. However, fashion is still very binary. Certain body types are focused upon when designing clothing. This leaves people with bodies outside of that mold due to gender, disability, size, and body shape without a lot of options when dressing masculinely.

Those seeking gender affirmation often wish to utilize their clothing to be more easily recognized as their gender. This section will help those with bodies that are often seen as falling outside the expectation of “masculine” to be better seen as they are by the world around them.

Consider Your Desired Silhouette

The first step when considering how to dress your body is to figure out which body shape you already have, and what you would most like to look like. You can spend time looking at other masculine-presenting folks to see which silhouettes/lines appeal to you most. Keep in mind, that there’s only so much you can change utilizing clothing.

Opt For Loose Cuts, But Consider Sizing

Looser cuts that make extra space for shoulders, waist, chest, and other body parts can give you the illusion of than wider, straighter body shape which reads as more masculine. Looser cuts can also be more comfortable than clothing that requires squeezing or pinching your skin/body fat to achieve a similar look. However, don’t size too far up, often when people are dressing masculinely, they opt for clothes quite a bit larger than their size, sometimes due to a lack of options, and sometimes from a desire to appear more masculine in frame. However, this will often have the opposite effect from well-fitting but loose-cut clothing, as it makes you look smaller and makes your clothing look more out of place on your body.

Account For Curves

If your body is especially curvy, masculine clothing often won’t fit correctly. For larger people in general, including large cis men, “men’s” clothing doesn’t account for things like wide hips, larger bellies, breasts, and other body features that protrude out from the body. This can leave you with pants that are falling, button-ups that gape around the chest, and t-shirts that fit unflatteringly. To counter these issues, consider shopping from gender-inclusive clothing brands that focus on well-fitting masculine clothing that accounts for different body types. Take time to measure yourself with a flexible tape measure so you know which clothes will fit best when shopping online, as most brands will have size charts for comparison.

Consider Binding, Padding, and Packing

If you’re interested in having a more “masculine” reading body but struggle with wearing masculine clothing due to body shape, or you experience discomfort or dysphoria from your current body shape, certain tools can help reshape the appearance of your body.

Binders flatten your chest to appear flatter and help you fit in tighter shirts, keeping button-ups flat against your chest. To learn more, check out our guide to chest binding. Padding can fill you out in certain places to further manipulate your silhouette.

Packing involves using a prosthetic or padding to create the feeling and appearance of a penis, which can help you to fill out boxers, pants, and bathing suits that are designed with people with penises in mind. If you’re curious about packing, we have a packging guide to get you started.

Utilize a Tailor

Accessing gender-inclusive clothing can be difficult due to price, access, or lack of styles. You can purchase second-hand and from more traditional masculine clothing retailers, and take it to a local tailor to have them altered to your body size/type. An LGBTQIA+-friendly tailor can even work with you to cut the clothing to emphasize certain features while minimizing others. The possibilities for well-fitting clothing are endless when it can be tailored to your body and needs.

Accessories Complementing Masculine Clothing Style

There are also number of accessories that you can use to complement your masculine clothing style, here are a few.


Ties are back! They’re thicker and more patterned and eye-catching than they were ten years ago. They are very reminiscent of the fun and funky ties of the ‘70s-’90s. Pairing them with a tucked-in button-up and a suit jacket or cardigan is big in masc style today.


Belts are a great way to elevate an outfit from casual to formal, and also a great way to take advantage of the cinched-waist trend. Thick belts with classic and fun buckles read as very masculine and can be a fun way to express yourself while keeping pants up if you have a body that doesn’t fit as well into masculine sizing.


Jewelry is an endlessly exciting way to express yourself. Earrings, necklaces, and rings are all popular jewelry items that can complement a masculine style. Coordinating your jewelry with your outfit can be a good way to bring a look together by highlighting colors, patterns, and theme/style that aligns with the rest of your apparel.


A classic masculine accessory, a good watch is both practical (a classic analog watch can tell the time, and a newer smartwatch can do almost everything your phone can do) and fashionable. Though expensive watches can be a status symbol, if you can’t afford a fancy watch, there are a lot of ways to use a watch in a way that will complement your masculine style. A vintage watch from the local vintage shop can add a classic look, while a colorful or patterned watch can be paired with more expressive outfits. You can even get a watch face with interchangeable bands to match different moods/outfits.


Bucket hats, baseball caps, and fleece beanies are all currently trending accessories for masculine folks. A good stetson or other rimmed hats can be a fun way to bring some more country style into streetwear. Designer caps and those with phrases printed on them are especially popular at the moment.

Tall Socks

Showing off tall socks with fun colors/patterns, or a simple black/white to pair with your understated ensemble is a popular trend in masculine fashion. They can go quite well with your short pants and fashionable sneakers. Our advice is not to roll your socks down or bunch them up around your shoes, instead, treat them like a fashion accessory.

Masculine Clothing Brands: Our Recommendations

Both& Apparel

Both&’s mission is to make gender-affirming clothing available to all people. Their collection includes basics/staples, such as tees, button-ups, sweatshirts, jeans, and more. They provide images of models of all sizes, specifically featuring ones who bind as well as those who do not, and those who have had top surgery.


TomboyX is a good brand for intimates, compression tops, pajamas, swimwear, activewear, and other types of apparel. Their clothing is non-gendered and made in a wide range of sizes to accommodate all types of bodies.


Wildfang is a Portland, OR-based queer-owned clothing company that focuses on bold prints and fashion-forward designs crafted to fit all bodies. They focus on inclusivity with their models and sizing, specially creating apparel that can transcend gendered categories/styles of clothing. Button-ups, mesh shirts, dresses, and jumpsuits are some of their staples. In addition to casual and workwear, they have some of the most affordable gender-neutral suits and formal wear available.


The expression of masculinity through clothing is diverse and subjective, with no singular template to adhere to. In this guide, we have explored masculine clothing from the lens of Offbinary. For more tips relating to masculine presentation, check out our guide on how to look more masculine.

Credit for the featured image: Model: Galen (@galenlewischan), Photography: Jamie Edgar (@byjamieedgar). Permisssion to use image granted by Galen.

Charlie Lewis (he/him/his) is a queer non-binary writer and filmmaker based out of Portland, OR.