Fashion For Men

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Fashion for men is more of a gently flowing current than a Rock of Gibraltar. If it weren't, magazines such as GQ and Men's Health wouldn't publish quarterly fashion issues in addition to their regular slate. There wouldn't be "ins" and "outs" for the coming season, passe colors and designers, and brave new looks. But there are.

Historically, well, since WWII anyway, men couldn't be bothered to invest one iota of energy into their ensembles. What happened next is anyone's guess. Perhaps the '60s ushered in an entirely new era of expanded possibilities. Students for a Democratic Society, war protestors, and other activists made love beads and flower skirts fashionable and gave tie-dyes their 15 minutes of fame. More likely, though, advertisers realized that a huge market had been left untapped, a market that translated to billions of dollars for those aggressive enough to lead the way.

The Evolution of Fashion for Men

Just glance at the cover of Saturday Night Fever or any Bee Gees album, and you'll see that fashion for men took a snooze throughout the '70s. By the time the '80s rolled around, men had become so inured to style subtleties that atrocities such as jeans jackets and parachute pants became widely acceptable to wear--even in public. Armani and Versace fell off the world's tortoise shell while companies like Jordache and Benetton raked it in.

What happened to fashion for men in the '80s, when neon colors and gaudy brand labels commanded the spotlight? Some say the stage was merely being set for grunge and the punk revival of the '90s and the apotheosis of backwards baseball caps and Birkenstocks. Perhaps fashionistas were simply looking ahead to brighter days on the horizon, days when black and brown might be something less than bitter antagonists of one another. To look around most suburban shopping malls today is to have one's worst suspicions confirmed. Fashion for men may be back, but it's traveling in a few select circles. Earning membership in these exclusive clubs requires more than a primer on the basic tenets of men's fashion; it demands an ongoing education in taste.


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