F**k Yeah Menswear: (Straight) Dude’s Duds Back in Full Force, Says Money

But there's a distinction missing, here.

tumblr lsnm6sycni1qetbkqo1 500 e1329768253971 F**k Yeah Menswear: (Straight) Dudes Duds Back in Full Force, Says Money

Via FuckYeah Menswear.

The point at which the traditionally-unfashionable-overcompensating-men-obsessed-with-menswear trend seemingly reached fever pitch was in December, when GQ’s website published an “Oral History of Menswear Blogging.” The genre, seemingly a construct of a parody blog, is the furthest thing from it.


The article’s participants and their self-serious tones inspired their own parodies. How could they not? Fuck Yeah Menswear to A Continuous Lean to Selectism and Valet and back, what was once a niche sub-genre of editorial output usually relegated to the front-of-book features of lad mags is now its own full-on genre of reading and writing glorified shopping catalogs for men. And not just men, but Men Who Traditionally Have Not Openly Embraced Fashion.

And now, the numbers exist to prove it. Menswear is back. Straight menswear, that is.

Stephanie Clifford at the New York Times reports today that men’s clothing sales for the first three months of 2012 will hit a 20-year high.

In order to make this happen, euphemisms have been employed…

To get traditional women’s accessories to appeal to men, some designers are giving them manly names and styles. That’s not really a bracelet; it’s wristwear. And that’s not a purse, nor the dreaded murse, but a holdall.

And oh, there will be “wristwear.” Yes, there will:

“Bracelets are on fire right now,” said Tim Bess, who analyzes men’s fashions for the Doneger Group, a trend forecaster. “I’d say it’s the No. 1 look for the young man.” Tateossian, a London-based jewelry designer, says sales of its men’s bracelets rose 30 percent in 2011.

And yet, still, despite all of this, there seems to be something unspoken about the re-emergence of men’s fashion, which might be worth speaking:

The word “straight.”

As in, the quote-unquote “menswear” fashion trend is primarily a euphemism in and of itself for “straight men and the clothing they buy.”

After all, it would be obtuse to suggest that an entire men’s fashion sub-sect has remained under the radar and out of clothing stores for the recession that men supposedly weren’t shopping, let alone the last 20 years.

For example:

“It doesn’t look like you borrowed it from your girlfriend,” Nicolas Travis, 24, a business school student who runs the blog Style Flavors, said of the manned-up styles he prefers. “A little bit more bling, and you run the risk of it looking a bit more feminine.

Who has problems appearing feminine and concerns about appearing as if they borrowed something from a girlfriend? Straight men. “Dudes.” “Guys.” Whatever you want to call them. But it’s time to face the fabric:

The entire “menswear” blogging trend is a very politically correct misnomer suggesting that all men are finally discovering fashion for the first time since the loin cloth, which simply isn’t true. An entire male population—that is, gay men—have been openly embracing fashion without any insecurity as to how feminine it makes them appear, who they borrowed it from, or what kind of heritage sourcing went into its construction.

It’s been well-documented that gay consumers and their spending habits are “recessionproof.”

A perfect corollary to this and the straight-menswear trend would be the “coming out” of the recession closet for straight men who want to buy clothing. Which exists:

The rebound in shopping may also reflect an improved jobs picture for men, who were hit disproportionately over the recession. The gap between men’s and women’s employment rates was about as high as it had ever been as the recovery started in June 2009. Only last month did the men’s and women’s unemployment rates reach the same level.

Time to call The “Menswear” Trend what it is: The Straight-Menswear Trend. To remove euphemisms from an entire art form and consumer market is a long overdue etymological evolution that, until corrected, makes the straight men who buy clothing, the people who make them, and the people who read about them appear as insecure and overcompensating in their masculinity as, well, before they apparently started buying clothing.

Men Step Out of the Recession, Bag on Hip, Bracelet on Wrist [NYT]

fkamer@observer.com | @weareyourfek


  1. Blanketniggas says:

    Shout outs to novh for keepin it real. Blanket is next level menswear shit.

  2. Qwertbvcxwer says:

    ridiculous article 

  3. David says:

    Uh why does it have to be “straight” or “gay” menswear?? 

  4. KT says:

    This is so stupid. The last thing straight men need is further distinction from what may or may not be deemed “feminine.” This article further demonizes anything that may be associated with women or gay men, by consistently rejecting terms in favor of more “comfortable” ones for men. Give over it, dress what makes you feel powerful as an individual, not in what sanctions you into appropriate margins of maleness. Desiring a distinction between “menswear” and “straight menswear” is pretentious, disrespectful and totally unnecessary. Not to mention entirely counter to messages regarding insecurity.

    1. md says:

      The point of this article is that
      a) there’s a bunch of hidden anxiety about appearing “feminine” coded into the words that people are now using in the “menswear” scene.

      b) that although everyone is tripping over themselves about this “new wave of men who care about what they wear” menswear, there has been a reliable group of men, namely gay men, who have cared (not that all gay men care, but some for sure.) So it’s not really new at all, EXCEPT for straight men caring about menswear.

      c) they (straight guys, and the people that blog about and for them) should own up to that, and call it like it actually is. Menswear never disappeared, it just disappeared, and is now reappearing, for straight guys. And that’s ok, it’s great for folks to want to dress better! And it doesn’t make them more feminine to care. But you have to acknowledge what’s actually going on.

  5. Dred Scott says:

    so separate is equal – gotitthanks

  6. Mike says:

    Men (I would say most men) have always cared about the way they presented themselves, thus caring about their clothes.  Only now with the advent of forums, blogs, tumblrs, etc, we have an easier time sharing ‘how to’s’, eg how to wear this, buy this.  With these communal tools, men just have an easier time sharing ideas with like minded individuals, making it seem as though it is some new phenomenon.

  7. Charold says:

    I dunno, there are guy guys into tailoring, heritage construction, preppy “masculine” styles, etc… it’s not as cut and dried as the article makes out. Yes, most of these new menswear enthusiasts are straight. But labelling it all as “straight menswear” is excluding people, some of whom are designers and bloggers central to the trend.  

  8. Calvin says:

    A nice piece of reactionary sensationalism. The generalizations being about ‘femininity’ here sweep harder and more broadly than did my great grandmother, Ethel, God rest her soul. She was from Kansas.

  9. Jakada Imani says:

    Hmm, this is mostly a middle/upper middle class white male conversation.  Tons of working class and men of color have always cared about we dress.  US main streamed marketing and industry always shows up late to the party and stays way too long.  

    Clothes have alway been about communicating your status and place in your society. It’s as true now as it was a thousand years ago. Fashion, style dress and garb is culture.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Sure, because menswear was formerly for gay guys only.

    God, this is stupid.

  11. Anonymous says:

    You are missing the history of this “niche market.” These are young men who were into sneakers.  When they realized they didn’t want to keep buying sneakers anymore, naturally they turned to other things, like jackets, brogues, ties, accessories.  The whole “menswear” thing is actually closer to what we used to call “streetwear” and the old fashioned ‘menswear’ is still boring as hell.  If you go to any department store and go to the men’s section, you aren’t seeing cool-guy blogger-hyped gear, you’re going to see Wall Street sloppy cut rich-guy wear.  It’s the evolution of cool, and it’s the grown-up sneaker culture.  Instead of finding the next pair of Nike SBs, I’m going to look for a pair of Ovadia and Sons Double Monks cuz ‘that shit cray.’    

    1. DLS says:

      Precisely the point that was overlooked.

  12. tylerharms says:

    two things (there are more, but i can only reference two without losing my cool),

    one, forget about the superficial distinctions between straight/gay menswear, since when did fashion become a “feminine” industry and showing interest in fashion suggest  femininity? 
    and two, for the record, the euphemism that this writer is working off of for straight men is “Men Who Traditionally Have Not Openly Embraced Fashion.” 

    congratulations mr. kamer, you have made all my future decisions about reading observer articles much easier.