So let’s get to the good stuff, Men’s Fashion, more like the corset of masculinity and society that it seems to be tightly roped into these days. When absorbing fashion information, I must admit one of my favourite hobbies especially during time I should be spending on revising for upcoming fun exams, browsing blogs/ fashion magazines/ newspapers with a style section/online shops etc. it seems to me that the general consensus is that for a man to be stylish one has to fall into two categories:
Firstly the tailored crowd: suits, shirts and slacks and the incredible variety there of, obviously without being ‘too fashion forward’ (ewww McQueen prints, who does that.) or too structured or just too anything really. White and maybe if you really want to push the boat out in a matt colour (pale grey/green/blue who knows maybe even yellow! (Don’t fall off your chair quite yet.) If you have already pushed the boat out and you are one of the few curaazaaay men, maybe maybe maybe even a bold red. But that’s just if you can handle it so think twice, you wouldn’t want to get a heart attack, you see I am looking out for your health here. This ‘look’ generally goes hand in hand with black rimmed glasses (regardless of whether you need glasses or not, but magically everyone does seem to need glasses these days.. oddly suspicious if you ask me.), designer stubble and, if we are talking high fashion and summer trends, shorts that look like slacks which have just been cut off just below the genital area (well.. maybe a tiny bit lower than that.). Other fun things that are ‘in’ are maybe a jumper or two, even in a colour, but only if by Raf Simons for Jil Sander obviously, duh, who do you think you are. Shoe wise, smart shoes and high topes seem to dominate that area, maybe throw in some simple leather sandals and you have pretty much covered the range there is. Don’t even get me started on the atrocities that are boat shoes, practical they may be but so uninspiring at the same time but I guess that makes it a perfect fit.
Secondly there is the, actually nope that’s it. This is generally the only acceptable way of safe stylish dressing, well the only way if you buy into the dictatorship of the magazines/ blogs etc. There is, of course, the more casual approach to the same style; straight cut Jeans (only blue, of course, no fading/rips/cuts/shock horror, colours.), boot cut? Umm where do you live, in 1879
? No. Skinny jeans, are you a girl? No? Then nope, sorry. Actually not sorry, silently judging you. Maybe some military boots, again fashion suicide adjacent but doable for the edgy fashion foxes. Rocker chic is another big one but slightly frowned upon by ‘people’ which brings this pretty much back to the skinny jeans argument. Texas
Most guys obviously don’t fall into either category, at University the t-shirt/ tracksuit bottoms look definitely dominates and walking around most cities the slogan T-Shirt jeans combination is a staple look. Of course you have all those other, fashion and otherwise, groups of people with their individual (or the lack of.) style, Dickheads, Chavs, Emos, Wanna be 15 years younger but are actually 45, and so on and so forth but the only times, to my limited knowledge, when a guy is described as a ‘stylish’ dresser is when he falls into the, well the only category of stylish dressing. Like to any other ‘fake’ rule there are exceptions of course and there are men out there that are stylish in an actual individual way, but those are generally only stylish in the eye of the beholder and the beholder is me and not society.
Another distinction that has to be made is between the catwalk shows and the real world, the drift between the two seems to me a lot larger than on the female front, which is surprising because the runway shows for men’s fashion are not, to me anyway, that exciting. I mean was Nicola Formichetti for Thierry Muglers introducing leather panelled vests/tops and veils for the styling, was that really pushing the boundaries? Was it really that exciting or edgy? Well it was but I don’t think it should have been. It was nice and exciting show, don’t get me wrong I actually liked that collection but I thought it represented the sort of ‘crazy’ that should be normal on the runway, isn’t that the place where fashion should start and then trickle down into conformities from there to the masses? While we are at distinctions another consideration is the official dress code in formal occasions and being stylish, in men’s fashion they seem to go pretty much hand in hand.. Interesting isn’t it? especially considering that a good fashion sense should somehow integrate creativity and an understanding of the play of fabric, cut and colour and ummm does that really apply if you are wearing what is expected of you? Not in my books.
There is, of course, a degree of variation within that group, but it is just curious to me how, for women, there is this massive variety of stylish garments: dresses, skirts, suits, jeans, high/low/kitten heels (umm where’s the point in kitten heels anyone?), shirts, tops, t-shirts, variety of fabrics (see through, uhhhh naughty!) leather (not acceptable on guys except for in a jacket, well only maybe.. it has to be a pretty awesome leather jacket.) and the list goes on and on and on. It just seems, as a man to be stylish to the broad public eye is a lot more restricted than it is for girls, or one could argue a lot easier and less creative. It’s just an observation that the word stylish, when addressing men, is more of a categorisation rather than a fashion statement.
To me one of the main areas in which men’s fashion is lacking is change in silhouette; it is definitely not changing as much as it should. Which I find intriguing because to me, the silhouette a garment creates is as important as the colour and the cut (which makes the silhouette (on a side note silhouette is an awful word to spell, everytime I spell it its like a written stutter, I go back to index finger-staring-at-the-keyboard-typing.)).
Anyway the bottom line of this quite elaborate thought process is that firstly it is a lot easier to write approximately 1350 words when you are actually interested in what you are writing about, I shall forget that for the next time I need to write a scientific essay on the barriers of efficient conversion of cellulose blablabla.. I’m so sorry I just temporarily fell asleep. Secondly men’s fashion is changing and the male population is definitely becoming more fashion aware but as of now the safe area in which most men stay, who would describe themselves as interested in fashion, is still a relatively small arena in comparison to the pretty much anything goes mindset that female fashion seems to utilise. I think it is that mindset that it is heading in with the likes of Gareth Pugh and Rad Hourani introducing a much more genderless fashion where anything does go. Even coloured trousers (well not in those two examples.. I mean talk about a restricted palette.).