Fashion is one of the very few art forms or languages in which women have more freedom to express than men. The women’s fashion is always changing pretty fast, but men’s has been pretty stagnant. Women can also get away much easier with wearing experimental clothing but men who are seen as caring too much about fashion and style and how they look are generally derided as being feminine.
So why men’s fashion is at a much smaller rate? Why womenswear gets more attention than menswear? Adjectives for womenswear can be fabulous, gorgeous, weird, ridiculous, breath-taking, game-changing, enviable, exciting. Menswear, on the other hand, can only be two things: classy or boring. And there’s only so much mileage you get from these two qualities.
Men, somehow, are much more conservative about their dress than women. Menswear design is driven by tradition, authenticity and detail. Their fashion operates within a much tighter framework. There are generally no big concepts or innovative silhouettes; it is much more rooted in reality. The majority of menswear design is inspired by core references from those of sportswear, business formals and tailoring. Men’s jackets, coats, trousers, t-shirts, shirts and waistcoats of today would be identifiable to our forefathers, whereas a lot of womenswear would be entirely alien.
Like the suit came into existence in the late 18th century. And on a general survey, people always found it difficult to reconstruct the suit. The experiment is done with the same piece of clothing like ties get skinnier then fatter; jackets lose boxiness and hug shoulders more; colours creep towards pastels and then return to bland-office appropriate hues. The basics of men’s office wear are getting thrown aside as business casual is becoming the norm; jeans are favoured by start-up types; ties are restricted to certain sectors. Contemporary menswear design is driven by an obsession to detail, reinvention and subversion of the traditional and sensitive attention to fabrication, scale and proportion.
Apart from appealing classy and archetypal garments of men, the longevity and heritage of brands also compel men to stick to a particular style. Small detail changes drive menswear forward, but accuracy is the key. Men can have style, but it seems they can’t have fashion. They care less about the changing trends, as women do, play dress-up like being a severe monochrome one day and then a fun 50s flirt the next.They have a grave fear of breaking out of their regulars. Men generally read fashion coverage less than women do. The circulation figures of women’s fashion magazines are more.
But interestingly nowadays, we’re increasingly seeing designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent are pushing forward and taking risks by creating a new and fresh inspiration in the menswear section. Some are also taking their cues from womenswear’s more abstract approach but in a subtle way. The street style of men is catching up in the fashion race which is allowing men to experiment with vibrant colours, designs and layering.
Social media has also emerged as a key player in the turnaround in not only making fashion more accessible but offering a lens to what dudes around the globe were wearing. The fashion blogs for men are creating an ideal of what men’s fashion could be. Fashion weeks around the globe witnessed a blend of quirky prints and traditional fabrics over these years.
So men have to be the inventor themselves that breaks the limitations in their clothing. Start embracing the changing trends and overthrow the status quo. Talk more about fashion. There’s no reason why the guys can’t have the fun of dressing up.