Welcome to UTILITARIAN
Gender neutral colors are colors that are not associated with one gender, but both. So, what do you wear when you want to wear something neutral? Below, we are including top ten tips on what to choose when looking for gender neutral colors and clothing.
What are gender neutral colors?
Gender neutral colors are those colors which can be suitable for both men and women. Although there is no specific list of colors for this category, but you can use it as a reference:
- Gray (the darker shade) - It looks good on everyone and gives them the points of authority. The color also has a soothing effect that can make people feel calm and relaxed. The color also works well with all skin tones, especially cool-toned skin such as light blue eyes and blonde hair.
- Brown (the darker shade) - This earthy tone is quite versatile because it points to something natural hence adds freshness to any look, especially for those who want to look younger than their age.
- Taupe - Beautifully combines gray and brown, making it a lovely neutral color for almost all skin tones.
- Bordeaux - Gives warmth to the look and makes people feel relaxed because of its earthy tone.
- White (the paler shade) - This color works well on everyone and is perfect for formal occasions such as weddings.
- Ivory (the paler shade) - Just like white, this color also works well on everyone and is perfect for formal occasions such as weddings or business meetings since it represents purity, cleanliness and virtue.
- Black (the darker shade) - The dark tone gives an intense look that's usually associated with power and authority while the paler version can give elegance to a look. It also works well with all skin tones, especially cool-toned skin such as light blue eyes and blonde hair.
- Navy - A rich hue that's perfect for formal occasions such as weddings or business meetings since it represents authority and steadiness.
- Beige (the paler shade) - This color gives a soft look, making it perfect for casual events such as shopping with friends or going to the park on a Sunday afternoon.
- Light Blue - Just like beige, this color adds freshness to any look while still looking formal enough for a business meeting or a wedding if paired properly with other dark colors such as navy or black.
Top Tips When Wanting to Wear Gender Neutral Colors and Clothing
Know Your Body
Clothes can come in a wide variety of cuts and styles that flatter every kind of body — but what flatters your shape may not always be flattering for you as an individual. For instance, knee-length skater skirts look good on many body types, but can make those who want slimming silhouettes feel self-conscious. High heels work for some people, but cause discomfort or pain for others. It's important to know what looks flattering on you before shopping so you don't waste time trying on things that will never work no matter how trendy they are. If you're still unsure about your silhouette, enlist the help of a trusted friend or family member who knows what works on your body.
Likewise, your comfort level is a big deal when it comes to being gender neutral in your fashion choices. If certain types of clothing make you uncomfortable or are difficult for you to move around in, don't wear them just because they're popular right now. There's absolutely nothing wrong with rocking the latest trends while staying true to yourself and your sense of style — but if pain or discomfort is holding you back from wearing what you want, try searching for an alternative that will work better for you.
Know Your Colors
Before choosing any garment to wear, take the time to learn your colors first. When dealing with neutral tones like browns, tans and grays, the color may appear different across various lighting situations. This means that just because something looks brown in one store's lighting doesn't mean it will look the same under natural sunlight outside of the store. This goes for all neutrals — black included! — and it's important to try on an item candidate in the lighting that you'll be wearing it in.
Moreover, colors can also appear very different depending on your skin tone — which might surprise you if you don't take the time to test out every possibility before buying something! Sometimes neutrals look great one person but terrible another, so knowing what looks good on certain people is crucial when trying to find gender-neutral clothing. If you're unsure about how a color will show up against your skin or frame, simply test some swatches on your hands or arms first! This is especially helpful when shopping for shoes or accessories rather than clothes.
Understand Style Terminology
There are some words used in fashion labels that may be confusing to those outside the fashion world. This is especially if you're shopping for gender neutral clothes, since many of these words and phrases don't necessarily mean the same thing in a non-binary sense:
Boyfriend: A trend where boyfriend styles (slim-fitting jeans, v-neck tees, etc.) become popular among women. Often times these trends are also referred to as "unisex" or "menswear."
Sheer: Denotes transparency in fabric — literally sheer material that lets light through.
Peplum: Generally refers to a type of skirt or dress that has an additional layer of material that fans out from the waistline and ends just above the hips.
Trench Coat: A type of coat that ends above the knee and features a wide, straight collar.
Cropped: Denotes a shorter length, generally measuring from the waist to just below the top of the thigh.
Seek Out Affordable but High-Quality Clothing Options
While there are plenty of expensive designer options out there for both men's and women's clothing - two words you'll often see combined to create "unisex" items. If you are on a budget, choose high quality items that last.
Moreover, just because something is labeled as "menswear" doesn't mean that it has to be worn by men alone! Many women rock unisex button-downs, blazers and sports coats quite often, especially for office ensembles.
Know When to Splurge (& When Not To)
There are certain instances where finding a good deal on an item you'll wear regularly can be hit or miss. A few examples of this include: shoes (more relevant with unisex options), pants/jeans/skirts (you'll want these in several colors and styles to mix up your wardrobe!), jackets and coats (because you should have one in every color, right?), and bags (because you'll use them regularly).
On the other hand, neutrals like t-shirts and tank tops are usually decently priced so you can easily find something flattering without breaking the bank.
Invest in Quality Basics to Mix & Match with Trends
Buying quality basics will prove more beneficial than buying cheap trends at first glance because they're simple investments that can be worn multiple ways for various occasions. For example, pair neutral sweaters with bright feminine dresses for a fresh take on basic black; or go monochrome but throw one piece into an animal print (snakeskin, leopard, etc.) to update your look even further! By simply adding these types of items to your wardrobe, you can spruce up any outfit for a night out or an everyday look.
On the other hand, trendy pieces won't always be flattering and aren't as versatile since they're made specifically for a certain event. For example, leopard print pumps might be perfect for going clubbing with friends, but not great if you have a business meeting during the day!
Plan Your Outfit Before You Make a Purchase
This is especially important to those who want to wear neutral colors because it helps determine whether you need more masculine/feminine articles in your closet before putting together an ensemble. Some people may go from head-to-toe feminine by pairing a lace dress with dainty jewelry and flats, while others might be more masculine by pairing a jacket with jeans and boots.
The point is to know what type of look you're going for before grabbing those clothes because it will help you narrow down your options accordingly. If you do this, there's no need to stress the next day about what to wear — just grab whatever neutral piece looks best and mix and match!
Know Your Shape & How It Affects What You'll Wear
Similar to planning out an outfit, knowing your shape ensures that you can find flattering pieces that work well together either way (dressy or casual). For example, if you are looking to elongate your figure, perhaps you can try a well-cut blazer that is not too fitted and goes over your hips. If you are looking to lengthen the appearance of your legs, perhaps you can pair your pants with gender neutral boots and have the slim pants cover the boot past ankles.
Know Your Body Type & How It Affects What You'll Wear
Understanding what kind of body type you have can help when shopping for gender neutral options since different clothing styles flatter each body shape differently. If you have slender legs, try to avoid skinny jeans because it'll make you look smaller than you are. Instead, wear dark denim with longer tops to balance out your size more effortlessly!
Accessorize Accordingly & Have Fun!
Since neutral colors are pretty simple in terms of patterns and textures, accessorizing is key to livening up an otherwise basic outfit. This doesn't mean you have to go overboard with statement necklaces, scarves, and hats — it's all about finding what works best for you!
The key is to go with simple pieces that add a touch of flair without looking like too much. For example, add a bright scarf or necklace (even both!) for an outfit that's perfect for fall; or throw on some funky accessories to balance out an otherwise neutral look. It helps if you're shopping in the right stores since there are plenty of options available nowadays!
By knowing your personal style, body type, and shape beforehand, picking out gender-neutral pieces is just as easy as putting together an outfit that highlights femininity or masculinity! Try these tips when wanted to wear gender neutral colors next time around and see where they take you.
Welcome to the world of UTILITARIAN - a gender neutral clothing, accessories, and footwear brand for all. My name is Bentley Wederski, and I am the founder and creative director of UTILITARIAN. I am thrilled to announce the launch of my gender neutral clothes and accessories line that can be worn by everyone and anyone. UTILITARIAN’s non binary outfits combine modern construction with minimalistic designs and neutral tones, in order to represent gender fluidity and equity within fashion.
My vision for UTILITARIAN is to ignite cultural change by progressing society forward. For far too long, the societal norms and expectations of fashion and how it pertains to gender have created deep binary divides between people. We can see it all around us. These societal constructs have forced men and women to act and think a certain way - which I believe has limited our ability to progress beyond where we are at today. A divided and broken place.
I understand these are big words and strong ambitions. Words and ambitions we fully intend to deliver on. You can hold me to it, and I certainly hope you do. Quite frankly, we live in a time where fashion brands and any large corporation for that matter throw statements like this out with no real intention of following through. They just want to capture your attention and more so your spending dollars. I’ve worked for these companies. UTILITARIAN intends to not be like those companies.
If you’re questioning how UTILITARIAN can deliver upon this mission statement of igniting cultural change through nonbinary fashion, I can answer it simply: by creating a strong culture through product and storytelling that allows people to be authentic and the way they want to be without condition. The conditions I’m talking about are the ones we may not think are necessarily conditions. Think of a place where you love to buy your clothing, footwear, or accessories. Let’s say you’re a person that goes by the pronouns of he/him/his and you love a floral blouse with eyelet details. Let’s say this top is by a store that only markets to people who identify as she/her/hers and a certain type of womxn. Lastly, let’s say that the floral blouse with eyelet details only comes in sizes 2-10, but you’re a size 14. Those are the conditions I’m talking about. The brand selling the floral blouse with eyelet details is saying that only women size 2-10 that look a certain way can be authentically them in that blouse. I say fuck that.
I’m going to create a beautiful androgynous clothing, accessories, and footwear that subscribe to the UTILITARIAN aesthetic and if you feel that product is authentically you, you can wear it because I don’t design into gender, size, sexuality, or anything that fashion brands have for many years. Through this platform, I’m setting out to create much more than just non binary clothing and gender neutral outfits. I aim to create the product of a community that cultivates inspiration and action in others. Through UTILITARIAN, I want to tell stories and bring to light all different types of thought leadership that are thread together by the same theme: igniting cultural change. Big or small, I want to share with you people who have faced adversity but used those hardships to create meaning in their life and shift the paradigm. This idea of sharing stories to cultivate a community comes from my own personal story and very much how UTILITARIAN was created.
UTILITARIAN - the business and its unisex clothing - is the product of many experiences in my life, but the biggest part stems from the story of my colorful pants. Sounds odd but you read that correctly. The modern and minimalist brand rooted in neutrals fashion for all genders was born because of colorful pants. When I was younger, I had an affinity for color. In 7th grade, I was tired of wearing the same banal wardrobe my peers were and I wanted to wear colorful pants. So, I did. Growing up in the small, rural, and ultra-conservative town of Riverton, Wyoming, boys did not wear colorful pants. I faced a lot of adversity for what I was choosing to wear. The labels that I was given started soft such as girly and fruity - but they quickly escalated to very derogatory terms such as homo and faggot. There were times where the hatred for my pants turned to physical violence from others. All because I was choosing what I wanted to wear, and not what society was telling me I could wear.
Growing up gay in a place that didn’t widely accept homosexuality, or colorful pants on boys for that mater motivated me to get out of the dying town as soon as I was able to. I dreamed about moving away to a big city and never looking back for as long as I could remember. I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted to do leading up to graduation, but it eventually became clear at the end of my high school experience that I wanted to make fashion my career. I was accepted into the Fashion Institute of Technology through an impressive high school resume as well as a beautiful essay about my experience with the colorful pants and how they were the pen that helped write my story in fashion. I never realized it until then, but fashion played an integral part in my formative years and shaped much of the person I am today. I moved to New York City that Fall after receiving my acceptance letter.
After working diligently and continuously learning more about the fashion industry, I found myself inspired to create positive change through this creative outlet. My first role in the fashion industry started at The Row. There I came to fall in love with the minimalist and modern aesthetic of their androgynous clothes. Constructed with amazing fabrics and inimitable attention to detail, they created art, not just products. This is where my style truly began to shift and I felt I hit my stride. I hadn’t worn or played with color much after 7th grade (mostly because I suffered from PTSD after the experience) but focusing on minimalist shapes rather than color gave me the same intoxicating and stimulated feeling I felt when I wore the colorful pants. I believe you know this feeling too, dear reader. The feeling when you wear something that makes you feel sensational; it makes you stand a little taller, your strides become bolder, and you just be. You will notice I focus on and experiment a lot with shapes in my gender neutral clothing and footwear collections. I love accentuating and extending angles of the body; mixing fluid with structured; elongating and shortening portions of the body. We are sculptors of our own bodies. After The Row, my journey led me to a completely different experience at Anthropologie. Both experiences provided me with invaluable skills and insight at an early age. Through this journey, I saw the work and care that went into designing clothing and accessories and found the motivation to create my own brand - thus, UTILITARIAN was formed.
As you get to know me through this journey, you’ll come to find that I’m a person of symbolism. Not in the literal sense of just putting a rainbow on a t-shirt to symbolize the pride movement. More so in a way that many of the things I do come to fruition to resemble something of my past. An indirect, and sometimes very direct, suggestion to express my mystical ideas of how life can be better, my emotions around a subject or ideology, and my evolution to my current state of mind. Even the name of my brand intentionally symbolizes more than just a utilitarian aesthetic. The word utilitarian is used to describe usefulness and practicality. My unisex clothes, handbags, and shoes are utilitarian because they are not adorned with decadent embellishment, but refined, polished, and versatile enough to be used in all areas of the customer's life. I also think of the word utilitarian as it relates to clothing as a useful tool to express who we are. If you are a person who values the modern and minimalist aesthetic and chooses to dress that way to express who you are, then UTILITARIAN clothing is in fact utilitarian to you. Additionally, when taking a philosophy class in college, I became fascinated with the utilitarianism theory in ethics - which even further solidified naming my brand UTILITARIAN.
Utilitarianism is defined as “a doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.” Utilitarian, relating to or adhering to this doctrine of utilitarianism, perfectly embodies the values I aim to share with my clothing line. Through the creation of UTILITARIAN, I seek to create a cultural shift in the fashion industry, by designing clothing that could be worn by anybody and rejecting the establishment framework to emphasize that style and clothes have no gender. UTILITARIAN exemplifies not only fashion but values and the desire to create change: by ensuring authenticity in clothing, we can begin to recognize and take on the labels and stereotypes that are frequently matched with gender.
What can you expect from UTILITARIAN? The first and most exciting thing you can expect from UTILITARIAN is to break down a lot of barriers and blow up a lot of glass ceilings. The fact is there are very few gender neutral clothing brands that exist in the world today - so we get to create a lot of firsts in fashion. Although gender neutral clothing is still considered a niche market, we don’t plan on providing you with niche products and experiences. UTILITARIAN strives to provide great products that suit many areas of your busy lifestyle. In our non binary style way, UTILITARIAN offers a diverse wardrobe of gender neutral business casual to well-tailored androgynous formal wear. All while maintaining the beautiful modern and minimalist aesthetic we love across all androgynous clothing styles. Whether you’re a man looking for mens feminine clothing or a womxn looking for masculine clothes for females, UTILITARIAN is a brand for the entire gender spectrum for those who appreciate quality, luxury, and the aesthetic of the brand.
When I began building the framework of UTILITARIAN’s sourcing matrix, I had to make the hard decision of how I was going to organize my production. Many USA clothes brands choose to manufacture their products outside of America for cost reasons. Manufacturing outside of the United States is much cheaper than manufacturing in America - especially for bigger brands. The USA clothes brands that do manufacture in the United States, have a very high and unattainable price tag, which is not what I wanted for UTILITARIAN. I wanted UTILITARIAN to provide luxury products at an accessible price point. However, there’s a certain energy and vibrance in the New York City garment district that makes it a hidden gem (underneath its very grimey surface).
When I was visiting factories both in America and abroad, something kept bringing me back to the fantasy of keeping my production stateside. I decided that for now and the foreseeable future, I will try my hardest and be a brand that manufactures my clothing in the United States of America. By manufacturing in the United States, I personally can ensure that UTILITARIAN is providing quality brands clothing by being in the factories during production and overseeing the quality of the manufacturing. I was even able to find a great handbag manufacturer locally. Even more importantly, the factories that make my clothing and handbags provide their workers with a safe place to work and good wages. I want there to be equity in every aspect of UTILITARIAN. The only product we do not manufacture in America is our gender neutral shoes. This is because there are virtually no footwear manufacturers left in the United States that can produce at the capacity we need. However, the manufacturing partners we have chosen have exquisite facilities and embody the same values as our company.
Beyond finding impeccable quality in the fabrics and construction of our products, and the sublime aesthetic of minimalism and modernism, UTILITARIAN strives to be a place more than just commerce. We will also be a place that is an epicenter of culture, where you can find both innovation and inspiration. Through our website, YouTube channel, Instagram, and TikTok, you will be able to find us spotlighting others, who, like me, have overcome adversity and championed individuality. I find myself most inspired when listening and learning from other people's experiences and I want to share that kind of inspiration with you! By way of sharing powerful stories with similar threads of hardships and valiant efforts to make the place at least a little better, I hope to create a community with you, dear customer. I’m excited to start building this so you can find and experience it with me.
In forming a non binary clothes, footwear, and accessories line that promotes originality and validity in what you wear, my motivation for UTILITARIAN is to continue to be a strong advocate for equal rights and social justice. Working in the fashion industry I noticed, and it became overwhelmingly clear to everyone in the summer of 2020, that many large fashion brands lacked the voice and the spine to stand behind something they believed in. Or, and this might be more of the case, many large fashion brands just didn’t care much about humanity. They cared about investors' pockets and pumping out more products as fast as they could so they could sell more stuff and get more of your money. I truly believe that is what most large fashion brands prioritize, and that is not how I am going to run my business. When I think about UTILITARIAN, I think about the people first, then the products I can design to make their lives a little better.
I also believe that you can’t be everything to everyone. When writing my business plan, I thought long and hard about what causes I care most about. What did I want my business to stand behind ferociously? What was the hill I was willing to die on? As a result of my own childhood ties to Wyoming, I hope to be a supporter and friend to those in LGBTQIA+ community in my home state and beyond, striving to be an aid for young minorities who may be struggling to feel comfortable or welcomed by others due to their own sexuality. UTILITARIAN will stand behind all equal rights and social justice, and we will hone our efforts by focusing on a state that needs the help the most.
UTILITARIAN represents becoming a part of something bigger. The brand represents becoming part of a movement, a culture, an aesthetic, and a purpose. We embrace feeling good in what you wear, whether it be colorful pants or an oversized white cotton poplin turtleneck top. The brand ensures practicality and comfortability in clothing, whatever those words might mean to you. Thank you for coming on this journey with us - welcome to the UTILITARIAN community!