If I’ve realized anything while living in America my entire life, it’s that a good portion of the male population here don’t know how to dress themselves properly. I don’t mean that they’re wearing shorts on their torsos and hats on their feet, but they just don’t understand the importance of fashion. For people all over the world, fashion is a form of self-expression. It is a way to show people who you are, without them knowing you. It’s how some people show their creativity, their professionalism, and for many boys and men, the fact that they care little about expressing any of the above.
So many people try and use the “fashion is superficial and shallow" argument when topics like these are brought up (check out the post before mine on The Value of Beauty and Style by hqzou). I disagree, and I’m sure most of you do as well. The truth is, appearance does matter. That’s why people dress nicely when they go to a job interview or to a party. Just because someone puts thought into what they wear every day doesn’t mean that they care too much about how they look for the sake of others. I know that I take the time to think about my clothing everyday because it’s something I love. It makes me feel more confident if I’m wearing something that I feel portrays my personality correctly. I see nothing “shallow” about that. That’s why I’m so perplexed as to why several members of the opposite gender refuse to do the same.
Well, that’s sort of a lie. I have some hypotheses floating around in my head, but I’ve yet to realize the root of the cause of this neglect of fashion. My initial thought is that men regard fashion as a “female thing.” And if you look at our society, it looks like it is. Fashion really has become more of a female thing over lately. Lately here means a century or two ago—it’s not like this happened overnight. If you look back in time, to the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries especially, men dressed themselves up just as lavishly as the women did. So why has it changed? I’m guessing that because around the 20th century, designers and manufacturers began to develop more casual clothing to fit the lifestyles of the people. The stark divider between the working class and the upper class began to disappear around that time, and the difference between their clothing styles began to disintegrate as well. There’s nothing wrong with that; fashion is perpetually changing and adapting based on culture and society, and a variety of other factors. All is going well so far, right? Yeah. Then, clothing produced for the masses led to casual and activewear, and at some point the two merged into some sort of messy hybrid that has become socially acceptable. It makes me cry a little inside when I see grown men wearing tracksuits on the subway. It really does. It’s understandable that guys think that caring about fashion is feminine, because society actually makes it seem that way. Some men even look down on other guys who think about their clothing choices (that might be a high school thing, but I have noticed it while at school). Some go as far as to assume that well-dressed men are homosexual. Some might be, but the only fair thing to assume as that they care about expressing their originality. But I’d be careful if I were you; you know what happens when we assume.
After considering this for a while, I decided that this can’t possibly be all there is to it. So what if the fashion industry seems like it’s geared toward women? That might be true, but it’s not dominated by women. There are actually more male designers than female ones. “Lies and slander!” you may exclaim, but if you think really hard about it, it’s quite true. I heard it from L’Wren Scott herself on the season finale of “Project Runway.” So what does this mean for the average man? It means that he is shielded from the wonder that is fashion, when in fact, it only thrives because of the men who work in the industry. It’s all quite mind-boggling if you ask me. Confuzzling, if you will.
As we all know very well, there are plenty of well-dressed men out there, many (pun!) of them here on Chictopia! One of my favorites is Blakejacobsen because of how true he is to his personal style. I also really love Mckenneth’s style because of his fearlessness to experiment and just have fun with fashion. I also admire Lordofthecakes because of how he makes sophistication look so effortless.
I think men are neglecting fashion because of the way the media and society represents it.
I would really like to know what you all think about it! You know the drill—the comments space is to the left!
by Odelia Kaly
Image via Geeky Talk