The question: Do we learn everything about style experimentation from women? Some men actually need approval from a girlfriend before walking out of the house. Other men need to feel masculine and past ridicule from their boys before getting comfortable in their wardrobes. Let's not get up in arms about this fellas. The inquiry is slightly in jest but partly based on my mind making the connectivity between the boring classics of the menswear sect of the past, and the current state of menswear as seen on the front page streaming of Four Pins (albeit, however obscure it can get). The classics and their re-imagined form as seen at the likes of Pitti Uomo will also be "our thing." However, what about the new age version of menswear, the experimentation with prints and patterns, the introduction of mixed media garments, and the inundation of every possible form of footwear.
That's super macro; I'm really just trying to get the thought on paper for discussion.
I've always been inspired by women's style and ultimately the fashion that gives them the ability to express said style. I appreciate their willingness to shift their silhouettes back and forth with the times, as well as with their body shapes. Women's clothing is an entity in which we can learn much. As an assistant buyer at Saks, I use to attend market appointments where we'd joke that men are about five years behind women. The conversation was never about trend or about fashion. The runway shows us that menswear designers aren't afraid to dabble, if not fully commit, to fashion forward ideas. The conversation always focused on willingness.
Yet, now there is a new generation of men of many age groups that belong to several different layers of willingness. Let's pretend there's only 3 groups of fashion followers. Remember, I said let's pretend. Layer 3 (bottom - not ranked by superiority) is the blog reader and men's magazine subscriber. He cares about clothing and keeps up to date with the happenings of menswear. He's more likely to stay conservative with the likes of J. Crew, some vintage, and other style accessible retailers. Layer 2 (middle - not ranked by superiority) reads more blogs and social media type outlets. He hangs with friends that enjoy the art of style, and loves to experiment with his wardrobe...including finding all the brick-and-mortar and online boutiques that sell the good jawnz. He's not afraid to get excited about things a couple seasons away from being in-store....he may be the (capsule)-goer without an actual blog. Layer 3 (top - not ranked by superiority) digests fashion information in all forms and has a tendency to get excited about designer garb. He may save up a bit more money to make purchases on European design, where as layer 2 guy would save the coin to purchase something more hypebeast-ish like some American-Japanese-too-cool-for-school reversible down vest collaboration piece or upscale sartorial items like Isaiah. The guy from layer 3 also doesn't worry enough about whether a particular style decision makes him look effeminate because...well he doesn't.
I wonder if Layer 1 and 2, over time, are influenced more by women and their ability to feel more free with regards to style expression. I wonder if menswear designers, particularly the smaller brands and newbies, have derived much of their willingness to offer more "craziness" to a mass market of men because it's time to catch up to the fairer sex. As men, I know we like to pretend like we thought of things first...but, it's not always the case. I don't want to talk this to death...I'm literally just thinking as I type and I probably will need to come up with a follow up piece. We shall see. Would love to get your thoughts.