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Sep 14, 2010

Men's Fall Fashion 2010 or "Life in the Bubble"

 

What do you want to be when you grow up?  A pilot?  A soldier?  A mountaineer? Honestly.

I was leafing through the New York Times Men's Fashion supplement yesterday -- conveniently timed to coincide with Fashion Week here in NYC.  I was underwhelmed.

Men's fashion today is about playing dress-up.  It's like somebody dug through the costume shop of an old summer stock theater, or a trunk in Grandpa's attic, and threw together some outfits.

(click pics to supersize)





We can dress up like the Mad Men cast in 1960s suits and vintage accessories and play advertising executive...



or Alaskan fur trader...



or British dandy.



or Steve Urkel.



Here's my hunch: when it comes to men's fashion, 95% of men couldn't care less.  Of the 5% that has any interest of all, 10% of those (so we're talking .5% of the total) follow fashion in any meaningful way.   (My point: nobody cares.)

The elephant in the room is that most American men can outfit themselves for both work and play at the Gap.  Men's fashion, at least in the United States, exists in a self-referencing bubble.  The same cannot be said of women's fashion.  A lot of women wear that stuff -- or at least take their cues from it, and not only in New York City.

Then there are the ads in this NY Times Fashion supplement:

Louis Vuitton
Hermes
Giorgio Armani
Calvin Klein
Bottega Veneta
Dunhill
Prada
Gucci
Burberry
Ferragamo
Tom Ford
Lanvin
Bally
Versace
Chanel 

There's more advertising than editorial, needless to say, and most of these are the same global brands you find in all the women's fashion magazines, the ones owned by LVMH and PPR.

How many men wear these brands?  How many men can afford these brands?



And what is this? Why is this man's ass crack on display?





Then there are those "family portrait" ads...looking eerily like something out of either The Addams Family or a throwback to the old Ralph Lauren spreads of the Eighties but with an ironic twist and a more multiculti cast.  So tired.





This men's fashion supplement seems to exists solely as an afterthought, a bone thrown to the Times' big fashion advertisers.  No wonder it feels D.O.A. 

What does it say about American men and the roles they play today, and masculinity in general? Why isn't there a cable guy or a Best Buy sales associate in the mix?  

Contemporary Men's fashion is a trip down memory lane -- or a masquerade party.   The telephone lineman, the aviator, the mechanic, the hunter, the motorcycle-riding rebel, the cowboy, the fireman...basically it's an expanded version of the Village People.

Wise readers, do you agree?

How about the men in your lives?  Do they follow fashion?

If they have a clearly definable personal style, where does it come from and what is it based on?

If there's ultimately no need for men's fashion, why does it exist at all -- or does it (really)?

Jump in!

53 comments:

  1. Husband Mike is a very style-conscious man, but he couldn't give a hoot about Men's Fashion of the type described by this supplement. I'd bet you're right that that world is only relevant to a tiny, tiny minority of American men.

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  2. TOTALLY AGREE! My husband has no interest in fashion whatsoever. He is a very artistic person, but is just happy in his torn jeans and stained t-shirt. He "cleans up" nicely for business meetings and social events, but I have to remind him to replace dress shirts. Last month he said,"I've only had those about 5 years. Why are they wearing out?" Three new dress shirts from LL Bean and he's good for another 5 years.

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  3. My boyfriend is part of the 95% that just don't care, he just wants to be comfortable. But recently I've convinced him that he could aspire to dress like Peter on the tv show Fringe, and he's actually working on it! He wants me to make him a pea coat and he's put away the super baggy jeans. Guys just need a fashion role model that is attainable

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  4. The only successful creative or different fashions that I can think of was in the 70's, and just for a little while. Then came the jokes about polyester leisure suits causing cancer and that squashed that; as if leisure suits couldn't be made from something other than polyester knit. Back to shirts, pants, suits and wing-back shoes of the past centuries.

    I find the men in my life may want a little spice (occasionally; although they have no idea what that is other than a new color in a shirt) but need to be led sloooooowly into change. Heck, we're talking about creatures that don't notice you painted the walls, hung the picture, colored your hair, have a bag of trash to take out........

    So, my opinion of men's fashions;
    Runway......shudder!
    Every day....yawn!
    And a double shudder for pants worn below the butt!

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  5. My copy is still sitting in the pile. I even got it on Saturday since we subscribe and all the pre printed stuff comes the day before. It's so outside what my dh wears that it's laughable. Lately I've only been in the garment district and I've never seen anyone dressing like that. Maybe downtown? My dh has done some work at Coach's corporate headquarters and design studio on the West side. Not one person coming or going from this fashionable label dressed remotely like the Times. The closed anyone came was skinny jeans(men and women) with pointy toe lace up shoes, men.
    But I really hate the Fall Womens fashion issue too, or their style issue. They just never relate to anyone I know.

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  6. My BF never seems to care about fashion until we are going somewhere and I look nice. He doesn't want to 'disappoint' me by dressing in Jeans and a Tee. (I don't really mind, though he does need a pair of jeans that are not ripped at the knee.)
    Personally I don't like shopping with/for him because I am a bargain hunter and ALWAYS go to the sale rack first to stock up on 3 dollar undershirts or whatever I can find to modify. But mens' fashion isn't as seasonal as womens' and there hardly ever seems to be anything on the sale rack. I think it's harder/more expensive to be fashionable as a (non-sewing) man because you can really capitalize on last seasons cast-offs.

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  7. Actually, most American men dress themselves for work or play at the Wal-mart. Or, their wife restocks the tees and undies for them, from the Wal-mart. Most American counties don't have a Gap.

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  8. I suspect that men's fashion magazines are not so much aimed at men, but at the women who shop for/with the males in their lives. My husband isn't going to consider the merits of side vs. back vents in men's suits, but when I go suit shopping with him, I do, and as a result he tries on more options than he would have if he had gone by himself.

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  9. My hubby definitely has style. It's torn somewhere between fifties-biker and eighties bad-boy with a hint of gothic-romantic in there, but it's definitely style. Just not, y'know, fashion-magazine style.

    Combined with his measurements, which are more "feminine" than mine, and his body image issues, which would do an anorexic proud, finding him clothes is a royal pain in the a$$.

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  10. my dh is actually pretty style-conscious. while he's t-shirt and jeans most days, he's fitted t-shirt and jeans, usually a vintage t that he's scored during countless hours combing thrift stores. however, he is a product of his time: he grew up in england in the 70s and went decidedly punk decidedly early, when it was as much a lifestyle choice (beaten up at any moment, thrown out of the house, fingered for any crime within a ten-mile radius) as it was a Look.

    he and i talked a lot about the lack of male role models in society today, perhaps that's part of this limp attempt at male fashion? who do young men want to be when they grow up? my dh wanted to be any one of the many punks he saw playing music. there doesn't seem to be anything new, vital, change-the-world-like-i-am scenes out there.

    also, i thought the below-the-butt pant look started out as a way of signaling you had been in prison. now worn by every 12 year old kid on the bus. role model?

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  11. "Limp" -- now there's a charged term! ;)

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  12. Men's Fashion is an oxymoron. My son likes to dress like an Italian. My husband wears standard American guy clothes

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  13. Gap? Try Target, lol. My husband isn't into fashion, either. And my son's uniform is a T-shirt and shorts or jeans, also from Target or equivalent non-fashionista store. (He does have some Aeropostale stuff, but we got that from another Freecycler!) Most people I know don't follow runway fashion, and can't afford it anyhow. The few designer pieces I have came from the thrift store. I'll pay $3.75 for a Gloria Vanderbilt dress!

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  14. As sorry as I am for women's modern clothing, I throw a rose on the grave of men's modern clothing. It seems like its slowly (or not slowly) progressing from the timeless rectangle silhouette of masculinity to a more square shouldered hourglass shape with is such an over feminization.

    I find modern men's 'style' more trendy than women's. They can't focus on timeless because then no man would buy season after season. I mean how many modern men are skilled enough to know how to gauge the fit of a well tailored suit for themselves?

    Oh fellas, I am sad for you.

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  15. Oh, Peter ...

    Random thoughts:

    If you think that most women can dress like the models in the NYT fashion magazine, in Vogue, or on the runways, you've got another think coming. :-)

    It's fantasy. Often I think it's wasteful and stupid, but the ads do pay for the newsgathering operation. At least now that I'm learning to sew I can justify looking at the clothes as seeking "construction inspiration."

    I agree that men as a rule, are probably less interested in fashion,but some wealthy men are. Their clothes is one way they signal status. French cuffs, not buttoned cuffs, The right cufflinks. The monogrammed initials on the shirt. If they have the money, they buy bespoke, which is worth it, because if you're going to spend a lot of money, you might as well have everything exactly as you want it.

    Many, but certainly not all, gay men, regardless of income, are interested in fashion as well.



    "Why is this man's ass crack on display?"

    --Welcome to objectification, baby. That's nothing if you're a woman.

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  16. My husband is a freak of nature. He's the manliest man I know and loves anything that has to do with guns or the outdoors but he can match fabric to patterns better than I can. He will walk in a store and pick out the perfect outfit and accessories to go with it... for years I've joked that one day he's going to wake up and tell me he's been living a lie and then fly off to Italy and be a designer. Somehow he just knows what works, whether it's mens or womens clothes, I don't where he gets it from, I've never seen him look through fashion magazines and I seriously doubt Guns and Ammo has much in it in the way of fashion, he just has the knack. He would never wear one of those weird outfits in magazines though... aren't they just for "inspiration" anyway?

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  17. I can't say I cared for the model's tattoo -- did it have significance? I only skimmed the supplement. Is that his birth year? Was he liable to forget it?

    First of all, I hate tattoos:

    "Tattoos have become the ubiquitous cliché of subversive cool. Like kooky eyeglasses and statement haircuts, they are props for people who would like to announce to the world that they are interesting. But in the vocabulary of personal style, there is something jarringly inarticulate about a tattoo."

    http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/07/27/poparazzi-ink-stain/



    Secondly, I don't much like tattoos that look vaguely like the ones used on concentration camp survivors. There used to be a tailor in my neighborhood who was a survivor, so I've seen the real thing.

    I don't find them edgy, just ugly.

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  18. NewVintageLady wrote:

    "It seems like its slowly (or not slowly) progressing from the timeless rectangle silhouette of masculinity to a more square shouldered hourglass shape with is such an over feminization."

    If you know anything about fashion history, you also know that men's silhouettes, like women's, have evolved over time. There have been periods when men's clothing was extremely tightly fitting and revealing and they had more ruffles and lace than we did.

    I don't think things are going to change any time soon, but if men feel objectified and vulnerable in part because of the cut of their clothes, maybe they'll stop being so damned critical of women. The standard American men's suit is unrevealing body armor and is so intended.

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  19. I'll throw my rag on the pile here: My husband has dressed in suits or sportcoat/dress pants for work for 30+ years because that is the uniform he chose to wear (he works in academia - he really could have gotten away with a much less formal uniform but felt he needed the cred). I think men dress in what they can get away with/need for work, no more, no less. My son dresses in a clean long sleeved knit shirt and nice jeans/sneaks for work because that is the level of job he has and he fits in with everyone else when he dresses like that. The supervisors and managers there dress...exactly...the...same...way. Not that he doesn't like to clean up and dress up - he does, but the occasions to do that are sort of few and far between. Depending on your community, you may dress up for church - or totally not (and yes, I did see someone pulling a couple of teenagers into church last year wearing...flannel pj pants). I think for men, there is a pretty rigid line between 'fashion' (the stuff being pushed in that Times advertorial) and "clothing" (which is what they actually wear. Now, that being said, there are plenty of men's fashion/lifestyle blogs out there where they are flogging stuff like Japanese-made "American heritage clothing". I think the overwhelming percentage of American men recognize this as play acting - the buffet goes from guys who buy old brown leather jackets and a cheap fedora and get the 'feel' of being Indiana Jones all the way to the guys buying heritage blue jeans at hundreds of dollars a pop made out of 'selvage denim'. Again, the number of men who actually get involved in this is extremely small - the cost is beyond them.

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  20. "If you know anything about fashion history, you also know that men's silhouettes, like women's, have evolved over time."

    I know a little bit about men's fashion history Anonymous person, and this article is talking about mens modern fashion, which is what I gave my opinion on.

    One of the last instances I can recall this extreme change in the shape of a man was in early 30s suits, but even then, the male form with its nipped waist, and really, really broad shoulders was more masculine than the straight yet pinched shoulders and the nearly corset waists of todays male suits/clothing.

    Im just sayin'.

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  21. NewVintageLady --

    You wrote:

    "It seems like its slowly (or not slowly) progressing from the timeless rectangle..."

    I guess "timeless" doesn't mean what I thought. To me, it means, um, "timeless."

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  22. I agree that the runway is moot for almost all men -- I remember you posting the Thom Brown abbreviated suits here a while back . . . goofy, and for some reason, almost demeaning looking. I just feel like men's designers want to do something, anything to challenge the entrenched status quo -- and it often is just gimicky and odd.

    Since my husband wears a uniform to work, he likes to get out of what he calls his "monkey suit" as soon as he gets home. And then it's t-shirt and jeans or shorts the rest of the time. And that's been the way it's been for most of our marriage (21 years). Although in the beginning (or before kids), in his superthin early 20s, he had some statement making vintage wardrobe assets: a wonderful white linen suit that he would wear pretty frequently, an old tweed hacking jacket, a very sexy navy blue handknit wool turtleneck. I recently reminded him of his former sartorial escapades and it seemed to spark an interest in clothes again. He came home from a recent trip with several new pairs of trousers, some trendier shirts. . . it's very nice to go out with the newly attired man. One feels inspired to amp it up oneself. This improvement has no runway influence at all, but it's an effort. And I appreciate it.
    It's funny to hear so many referring to Italy as a place that male fashion still happens. Well yes and no -- there are no Thom Brown suits or other extreme style statements when I'm out and about. But here, the men do generally make an effort and what is most noticeable are color trends. Right now it's lavender -- you can't swing cat around here without hitting a man in a lavender or purple dress shirt and many also have lambswool or cashmere lavender pullovers. I'm not sure what color's coming next . . . fern green, goldenrod . . .? I confess I'm interested to know . . . is this following men's fashion?

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  23. It's OK to disagree; let's just not argue, if only for the children. ;)

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  24. Hi, Peter,

    I think my real problem was that I don't see how a man wearing a suit that reveals his body more than the standard sack suit issue is "over-feminizing."

    It also sounds so Fifties. Omigod! They're putting gay-juice in the water!

    See ya layta.

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  25. Having addressed the question of what to wear thoroughly and succinctly (a suit, or a pair of pants and the shirt from a suit, or a pair of denim, similar pants and a shortened version of the shirt from a suit, or a pair of short denim pants and the undershirt from a suit), men's fashion really doesn't have much else to do - it's reinventing a perfectly good wheel. My jealousy is showing, here, because I am on the sewing blogs not because I'm interested in looking fabulous but because the daily problem of how to put on clothing that is comfortable, appropriate, and adequate hasn't been answered by women's ready-to-wear effectively. Aside from the ridiculousness of wool suits in summer and the slight pointlessness of the tie, men's fashion has solved the problem of getting dressed. I know that this is no fun for some men, though.

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  26. My brothers' idea of fashion consists of about three questions: "Is it clean?", "Does it need mended?", and "Do I need to wear church/office clothes?" And let's face it, even for the office or church, suits rarely come into the picture.

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  27. Wow, a lot of comments, seems to be a controversial topic. Though I won't jump in on that, I have to say that you mentioned a valid point regarding the magazines. I stopped reading fashion magazines completely because I'm just so upset with all the advertisement. I bought the Vogue once and felt totally deceived as is was 2/3 ads and 1/3 more or less valuable contense. Why do they charge that much money for a pile of paper if the money they make via the ads must cover a lot of the costs (or do I see fashion journalism through rose-colored glasses)? Greedy people...

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  28. My boyfriend's wardrobe is five pairs of identical gray pants (though he did buy the same pair in brown) and five fraying button shirts in brown stripes. Yet he is picky about the way he looks? Like, one of his brown shirts is "too bright" even though it is brown striped like the rest. I don't understand. He's definitely in the 95%, though.

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  29. I think a lot of men pay attention to fashion in the form of accessories. Remember the suspenders/collar pin/power ties of the 80s? I have a friend who MUST have the lastest style of Nike shoes. It used to be expensive watches, now electronic accessories (iphones/pads/pods) signify a man's fashion sense.

    As for full dress, I keep thinking of the scene in American Gigolo, when Richard Gere starts putting together outfits on his bed, or in The Great Gatsby, when Mia Farrow pulls out all of the fabulous shirts in Robert Redford's closet.

    Best fashion advice, from Sunset Boulevard: Since the lady's buying, I'd take the vicuna.

    Great topic, Peter!

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  30. My DH not only has no fashion sense but is truly color blind. He always has on a blue shirt and khakis or navy dress slacks and black shoes...Casual is jeans and a polo. I try to get him to step it up a bit, but to no avail. He scrubs up good and looks great in a suit or tux but that isn't our lifestyle

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  31. The only thing I like about that magazine is Steven Dorff on the cover (cute!!). My husband's fashion sense is more about his love of Nike. He loves Nike shoes and loves to have the newest pairs and he has about a zillion 'swoosh' t-shirts. As for the rest of his wardrobe, it's got to be comfortable and durable.

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  32. Well, seems like things are very different in Europe when it comes to men's fashion. Here we are noticing a trend where guys are not only getting more into fashion, but care about their appearance in all aspects. Thus, I'm no longer surprised to hear a guy is using a moisturizer and lip balm. Metrosexuals? Oh well, I don't judge:)
    I guess I'm the lucky one, my (american) boyfriend has a very good sense of style, he doesn't mind jeans and shirt for play, but he sure knows how to chose stylish clothes and dress nicely when needed.

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  33. Hmm, don't know a thing about American men except for those one met in trains or hotels and who tried to grab you as soon as they said "Hello" obviously honestly believing that girls/women overseas only ever want Sex and more of it ;-) But some of them were very nicely dressed in this cute Trying-to-look-like-a-grown-up-men-making-lots-of-money-knowing-everything-about-wine-but-still-being-able-to-catch-a-cow-wiht-bare-hands-style. So those were forgiven ...

    But men with style, elegance and a positive body consciousness are a rare specimen and I would say you could find most of those in France and Italy (although my French and Italian friends are married to German guys - strange world, this).

    I would to see men playing around with clothes a bit more. There is fun to be have around, boys. Try a bit of thirties, go a bit sixties, do avoid the seventies but try it. No need to go overboard but a slash of colour, a funny scarf ... please.

    And I would really need to see this: my man is Australian and struggles all the time when it comes to matching colours or shapes or whatever. Whenever we visited Down Under I was shocked to see nearly every man around looking horrible in this I-couldn't-care-less-hope-everybody-sees-it-"look" ...

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  34. Great comments, everybody. Yes, I do think these days an iPad is as much a fashion statement as a Rolex watch. Same goes with cars...not so sure about tie pins.

    And anybody who is active -- hiker, runner, skier -- and not just trying to look active, is going to go for sports brands like The North Face, Nike, etc., that actually offer performance and not just looks.

    Maybe men really have solved the problem of getting dressed -- never thought of it that way!

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  35. As someone married to one of those style-conscious (as opposed to fashion-conscious) metrosexuals, I don't quite grasp what the issue is here. It seems to me that regardless of percentages, men's fashion mags work in exactly the same way as women's towards forming a trend that will trickle down onto the high street (irrespective of catwalk, some of which is there just for show). I must say I chuckle quietly when I hear dear husband complaining increasingly about 'young man's' clothing taking over the shops, with their skinny legs and nipped in waists... Seems to me that men (at least those who care) are finally getting a taste of the body-consciousness that women have been experiencing for decades.

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  36. Yes, my husband cares about "style". After wearing boring work clothes he likes to come home and wear his favorite clothes. This might mean madras shorts and a cowboy shirt, if the spirit moves him. He likes to take over my Necchi and sew name patches like "Tony" on uniform shirts. Half the time he looks sorta crazy--sometimes amazing--but he always is himself and doesn't care much what all the people staring at him think. I wish we could all be so inspired my our inner fashion muses--the world would be a much more interesting place.

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  37. My husband is a designer and has excellent fashion awareness. He'll wander into the room while I'm watching Project Runway and give a completely detailed breakdown of the pros and cons of the designs. But he doesn't dress high fashion, because he works in technology. So his "uniform" is a dark long sleeve tshirt, nice jeans or pants, boots, and really elegant/well-designed/witty accessories (glasses and watch). That's as far as he can go in his work context. Also, he's English and English men right now seem to have more fun with fashion, but it's also more realistic and not so gimmicky as the American high fashion. I do despair at the colors for men. They are either dark, or if they are not dark, they are horrid.
    --kristin

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  38. Oh what an interesting topic! My bloke spends hours on the internet tracking down groovy underwear (check out www.diddleanddoodle.com). He also spends hours putting together outfits for special events, choosing hats and matching things perfectly. He likes to think he is stylish, but he is actually VERY conservative. You'll never see him wearing bright colours or anything like your lovely floral sheet shirt. Most of the time I think he looks like a wanker who is trying too hard, but it's kinda hard to tell him that.

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  39. Peter, my impression when reading this post was that men's fashion has become so silly that it seems to be making fun of itself. I had a good laugh at Mr October...On a serious note,ultimately it's all about choice right? A beautifully styled and well made garment is a joy. We foget that people who can't sew have to pay for these things.

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  40. I have loved fashion all my life...now, as a guy who makes men's clothes for myself I am ecstatic that mens fashion has ventured out to be more creative and adventurous. I found the NY Times magazine to be inspiring! Don't be such a grump!

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  41. When I met my British husband in the 70s he had tailor made mohair suits and a nifty Edwardian style cashmere topcoat. I thought he was so cool! As I later discovered, this had more to do with his father's taste than his own. Sadly, he is now quite happy buying his trousers at Sam's Club. He is incapable of coordinating his clothing, but gets away with ghastly combinations because he is tall and slim. Even worse, he will not listen to the females in the family when we attempt to coordinate his salmagundi of style and he is positively obstreperous when shopping. He will put away gifts of clothing for 15 years or more and then pull them out and wear them.

    Once his father wanted to take him to Harrods for a new suit, and of course he was obstinately against it, fighting with his father for a week. He then told me he was going to Harrods to buy the most expensive suit he could find, show it to his dad and then return the suit before flying home to the States.

    Last summer ('09) I bought a lovely argyle sweater with coordinating shirt and trousers at Barbour. He has not yet worn it. Although my daughter noted, upon walking into Barbour, "Oh, now I get dad's style" - you know...British timeless country clothes. He prefers them old and worn, however.

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  42. Its really amazing fashion 2010.Weathered and stained fabrics and chunky knits are worked in and bowler hats top off the look.

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  43. "I think my real problem was that I don't see how a man wearing a suit that reveals his body more than the standard sack suit issue is "over-feminizing."

    Geeze, someone is overreaching. I dont know who because all replies are without a name.

    That was not my point at all. I said that modern men's suits are giving the male figure a more hourglass shape via cut, not exposure. And I think they are. If you are equating my critique to homophobia, then there is nothing I can do to say anything to the contrary lol!

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  44. I have the same exact thoughts when it comes to women's fashion. I think its only fair that there are signs of some equality. I have always envied my husband when we go out shopping for clothes. At real menswear departments everything is neatly organized and for every garment there are several choices in shape, colour and details. How I wish that someone would come up with that idea for us.

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  45. From where I sit, it's easier for men. They can run to the store, throw a few things down at the cash register and look 100% better than the female who does the same thing. Whether you shop at Target or Macy's or Barney's, stitch for stitch, men's clothes are better quality!! Despite the NY Times ads and editorials, guys dress pretty much like guys, across the board...pants, shirts, shoes. Easy, peasy and they get away with it way better than women because we don't expect too much from them. Kinda like guys looks distinguished with grey hair, but ladies look old.

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  46. Oh Peter, I would just like to say THANK YOU for getting the expression correct and saying that they "couldn't care less". The standard US expression seems to be "could care less" these days which, if anyone took a second to think about it, means the opposite of what they're trying to say. Sorry, off-topic I know but YAY YOU!

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  47. I actually went back and forth on that one, Jane!

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  48. my husband knows only about one color, light. and about clothes, it is comfortable. I keep them clean and sometimes he allows me to mend the holes. But then looking at those fashions, Thank God!

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  49. This is kind of off topic but this makes me think of where fashion trends end up. I am sixteen years old guy in highschool. I like to think of myself as fashion forward, but some people call me crazy:) one trend I have noticed in American highschools (besides the ridiculous pants around your thighs thing) is where guys where a low cut shoe and then put on white socks that go up to right under your knee, and then wear shorts. I don't get it and it drives me insane, but it made me try and find the source of this atrocious fashion trend and my led me to this wonderful article. If anyone could help me in my quest to track down the start if this particular speed bump in fashion history it would be much appreciated!!

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  50. Welcome, Lane. I think that look comes from American soccer, especially when the socks have wide horizontal bands across the top. I've seen those for sale at American Apparel.

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  51. Haha thanks Peter and that would make sense. I should tell them that next time they say soccer isn't a sport :D and what is American apparel? Obviously it's a store but is it a chain?

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  52. It's a popular American clothing chain with a slightly risque reputation.

    http://store.americanapparel.net/

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