Over the weekend I headed down to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Festival in Sydney. Willingly. As a male appreciator of fashion.
And it was brilliant. As a fan of the occasional dip into the (rather large) wardrobe, I’ve always been a fan of pulling out the tweed blazer, polka dot shirt and flowered pocket square. And really, as a whole, I just enjoy the way fashion allows everyone to express themselves.
As a 20-something guy living post the 20th century, I honestly get a lot out of what I wear. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a massive brand guy or anything (nothing wrong with that if you are), but I like dressing well and representing myself in what I wear.
Now dressing well means different things to different people – and that’s totally cool. But there is certainly still a bit of a stigma around, I guess, ‘enjoying’ fashion or style. It’s this idea that being appreciative of fashion automatically associates an individual with a higher sense of femininity (again nothing wrong with that). Or that dressing well impacts your masculinity. And I find that intriguing.
I’m a big banter person – aren’t we all – and I’ve copped some cheeky jabs about an Insta-worthy posed pic from fashion week. Definitely deserved and all in good fun, but it did make me think about the deeper ideas related around it.
The fact is men these days are all about fashion – perhaps just not as open about it in public. All you need to do is look at the success of M.J. Bale, D’Marge and GQ – along with a lot of other niche men’s fashion/lifestyle websites, magazines and stores.
I can guarantee you the amount of shirts, blazers, chinos and accessories men own these days is at an all-time high. I went to an engagement party at the back end of last year and literally every guy was rocking a different pocket square with Happy Socks.
And the stats back it up. An Ibis World study from April 2017 suggests that the growth of online men’s clothing sales has been driven by changing attitudes towards men’s fashion. The industry is expected to grow a further 15.6% annually.
So the average man’s wardrobe is continually growing at a rapid pace. But there is no doubt that we have a more in depth image issue here. Masculinity is a big deal for men, but I can assure you, owning a few tie clips wont affect your ability to lift weights. No joke.
Brands like M.J. Bale even produce the official suits and corporate wear for the Australian Cricket and Rugby teams, the Socceroos, Tennis Australia and the multiple cross-code football teams. Athletes and elite sports stars being dressed head to toe in tailored suits?! Never!
And more so, I honestly think the greater majority of people think better of a well dressed man. Whether that’s potential employers, your partner or current Tinder flirt, or even your mum (bless her).
So gentlemen, dress yourselves well. There’s no reason why you can’t hit the gym on a Wednesday, play footy on the weekend, enjoy a cheeky scotch – plus, rock a woven blazer, button the top of your shirt and rep gold cufflinks.
Image Source: MJ Bale