Without a doubt in my mind, Autumn is my favorite time of the year. The air is getting cooler, the days will soon become shorter, and the Pumpkin Spice lattes will continue to flow in glorious fashion. (Even though I’m more of a Pumpkin Spice macchiato man, myself.) Not to mention the excess of fall-scented candles and fall themed playlists full of indie and folk jams designed to be the perfect soundtrack to the falling leaves. (I have one called “Pumpkin Spice” on Spotify that I encourage you to follow – I’ll be updating it soon.)
Now with the changing of the seasons there is always a shift in the fashion industry. New clothes to fill your wardrobe, new styles to watch for on the cover of your favorite magazine. Fashion centered around both looking as comfortable as possible and staying as cozy as you can while you go to White House Fruit Farms during their fall festivities. Does the song “Sweater Weather” come to mind?
Over the last few years I have come to follow men’s fashion more closely, in particular what us guys will be wearing once the leaves begin to change. Not only because I am perpetually warm, so the summer isn’t necessarily my favorite time of year. But also because I legitimately enjoy the different styles and trends for men’s fashion that are welcomed with chillier weather. I love my off-brand chukka boots that I bought two years ago at Shoe Carnival, I love my dark jeans from Target (formally pronounced Targét), and recently I’ve come to appreciate a good vintage thrifted flannel. Long story short, I like being able to step outside in something other than chino shorts. However, a large part of guys are still skeptical about expressing themselves by wearing something other than an expensive Under Armour hoodie, even by today’s standards.
Now I’m not saying that wearing a hoodie from Nike or Adidas is a bad thing – especially because there is particularly cool army green Under Armour pullover at work that is calling my name. But why is following men’s fashion trends something to criticize so heavily?
I’m someone who tends to go through fashion phases at least a couple times a year only to realize that I have, once again, bought too many clothes. So then I go to drop them off at a Goodwill or a Salvation Army only to get distracted with thrifting once again. But what is the problem with caring about the way I look – what’s the problem with men caring about fashion just as much as anyone else?
Admittedly there are plenty of times that I care too much about my appearance, but I think that everyone has those moments. But how I dress is just a way of expressing myself, the same as anyone’s haircut, a tattoo, a new car, or anything materialistic and external. Any man who reads GQ to check out the latest trends is the same as any guy reading Lindy’s to check out the latest fantasy football projections. It’s not unmanly or feminine to care about men’s fashion, and it certainly has nothing to do with your sexual orientation. It’s something that men are allowed to be interested in.
Now if you are reading this and are still unsure about about everything I’ve said, let me ask you this: What is the difference between a man wearing his favorite player’s jersey and a man wearing his favorite button down from Express? Both are supporting a brand. Both are supporting a designer. Both have their place. And both are wearing something that makes them at least a little bit happy. One isn’t more ‘manly’ or more ‘normal’ than the other. One isn’t less of a man for caring about how he looks and trying something new, even if that ‘new’ is something that seems, at first, foreign to you.
Let me give you a perfect example in Russel Westbrook. I think he is still the point guard for the Oklahoma City Thunder, but regardless after every game he can be seen dressed in the most unique outfits during the post-game press conferences. In fact, many sports stars dress like someone straight out of a fashion magazine when not on the field or dribbling down the court. Nice suits. Name brand watches and sunglasses. The jersey sales with their last names aren’t declining. Ticket sales aren’t declining. However, the way that male athletes dress outside of the game is often criticized if seen on someone who isn’t making millions.
There are still plenty of people who look down on guys who put time into how they look, yet the people who are criticizing them are supporting brands and styles in their own way every time they put on a pair of Nikes or zip-up their Carhartt jacket or throw on a trucker hat. Its a bit of a paradox if you ask me.
Everyone cares about how they look, even if they won’t admit it. Everyone wants to be able to express themselves through how they dress, save for the sometimes comically expensive high-end brands that litter the pages of Vogue. So next time you see someone wearing something that isn’t in your wardrobe, look into a mirror. Odds are what you’re wearing isn’t in their’s, either. And that’s OK. That’s the entire point of fashion.
Also published 9/12/17