In all seriousness though, it’s going to be interesting to see what the #menswear bloggers will have to say in response to this essay at Park & Bond (written by Marisa Zupan of The Significant Other).
My initial reaction was negative to her opening graf:
We are in the middle of an epidemic. And by we, I mean women. And by epidemic I mean this: men everywhere have stopped asking us, “does this look okay?” Slowly but surely, the once highly regarded woman’s opinion is slipping in the ranks as a sartorial standard.
My first thought was, “Well, isn’t it a good thing that guys are starting to know not only how to dress themselves, but have enough self-confidence (SWAG SWAG SWAG!) to go through their life without having to rely on the opinions of others — regardless of gender?”
But as I said, it’s a bit of knee-jerk reaction, especially if you read through the rest of the essay to understand the context of Zupan’s opening statement. There’s a cultural/heritage lesson tied to it and it’s that historical viewpoint that directly comes into conflict with the modern-day well-dressed man’s reality. That is to say that men dressed appropriately in the context of a society’s past traditions, which was rooted in real-world interactions rather than in the modern context of digital oversharing through social networks.
Zupan asserts — perhaps with some good reason — that men are now dressing to impress their blog buddies or cubicle comrades with a “dress-by-numbers approach”. I’m not naive to think that Zupan’s pigeonholing all well-dress gents and all menswear bloggers into the same category, but I think she does skip over a much larger modern cultural issue that could explain why guys today aren’t turning to women for approval or advice.
I think many of us were raised by a generation that wasn’t out to be dressed well. A generation that wanted to be casual continuously throughout life and found proper tailoring stuffy and unimportant. If you look at middle-America during the past three decades, I’m not entirely convinced you’ll find the cultural and societal support around for building a generation of well-dress Millennials.
What we do have, however, is the Internet, which has opened us up to a lot more information from around the world and we’re now able to share ideas faster and get feedback instantly. We can do research and buy from a greater number of retailers. And because we’re a generation that’s grown with being socially connected through the Internet, it’s probably natural why it would seem we’re dressing to impress it first. You always want the approval of your elders who taught you — except in this case we are our own elders.
Obviously, this is rather subjective and I’m sure others will find parts to agree or disagree with in their own experience. Still, I don’t think guys are purposefully ignoring the opinion of the fairer sex, but rather just living out the feedback system that they’re more tapped into.
Really, it comes down to the fact that this goes deeper than men asking women if this tie looks OK. It’s about men needing to unplug more and involve themselves deliberately in the real world.
(Link via jonathanevans)