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Fashion Freedom For Men | How To Change The World One Dress At A Time

Updated on October 16, 2009

Anyone who reads these articles (or looks out the window occasionally) knows that there is an imbalance between fashion for men and fashion for women. Simply put, women can wear pretty things and men are left with the penguin suits and lumberjack costumes. Part of the reason for this is because society accepts a wider range of types of dress for women than it does for men, but that is largely because men have thus far been content to accept the status quo and have not really fought for more fashion equality.

It's no accident than women have more fashion freedom than men. Western women fought for their right to wear whatever they wanted. There was an incredibly uncomfortable period for quite some time where women were ridiculed for wearing pants or jeans and considered unfeminine. Now even supermodels occasionally wear a nice pair of skinny jeans. This came about because women didn't back down when people said they looked silly. They kept right on doing what they wanted to do, and eventually it was accepted as being 'normal.' (Funnily enough, some women who now enjoy the freedom that their grandmothers fought for are now trying to hold men back in the same way, but that's swings and roundabouts for you, isn't it.) The women's fashion movement came about as part of a larger women's rights movement, and it was successful.

So what can men do? They're not at the same disadvantage that women were when they launched their movement, and thus men's rights movements tend to be considered a bit of a joke. (Whether they are or not is an entirely different matter.)

Fortunately, men don't need to picket department stores, or march on Parliament. Men, you simply need to vote with your dollar. If you don't like Y fronts and straight leg jeans, don't buy them. Buy whatever you like, whether it sits in the men's section or the women's section. The imbalance in fashion production for men vs women isn't a political or social matter, it's a commercial one.

Manufacturers and stores both work for money. If men start buying clothing that has been considered feminine in the past, then you bet your behind some marketing weasel is going to start sitting up and taking notice. If men who want to wear more 'feminine' clothing buy it and wear it, people are going to take note. It won't matter whether or not society at large approves at first, it is simply a matter of economics. If enough men start buying 'women's' clothes for themselves, there will be feminine fashions for men in fairly short order.

The world is experiencing a recession right now, and more than ever before, every dollar counts. This may be the best time for men to start purchasing feminine fashions and boycotting traditional male fashions. According to some sources, this has already started happening. One of my readers posted a comment (which I now can't find, so if you can, please pop it in the comments :), linking to an article which seemed to imply that marketers and economics buffs were already noticing a trend towards men buying women's clothes.

The ball has started rolling, and whether you want to wear lingerie in private or a skirt in public, there has never been a better time to effect change in men's fashion.

Edit: As a post script to this article, if you're married or in a relationship, you might want to start taking the responsibility for buying your clothes yourself. A great proportion of men's clothing is currently purchased by women, which explains a great deal. It's not practical to complain that manufacturers aren't making the kind of clothing you want when your significant other is out there snapping it up and effectively casting your voting dollars against you.


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    • Hope Alexander profile image

      Hope Alexander 8 years ago

      Interesting point, panties4everyone ... I will ponder this

    • profile image

      panties4everyone 8 years ago

      Wasn't it a little different for women, though? When women began protesting they were at the bottom and really didn't have much to lose. Even if the feminist movement had failed to gain them anything, they wouldn't have really lost anything because they didn't have anything to begin with. They would have just stayed in the position they were already in. Besides, when you're at the bottom, you really have nowhere to go but up, anyway. Men, however, have far more to lose by going against social standards. Sure, I can go against the standards and wear women's clothes but there's no one to support me financially, so I run the risk of ending up unemployed and homeless. (And do people feel sorry for homeless men the way the feel sorry for homeless women?) It's not like there's a woman to support me if that were to happen. Let's say I even got married, do you think a wife would support me if I lost my job for going against social standards? Do you think she would support me financially so I could, instead of working, go rally and protest in order to bring about REAL gender equality? Yeah, right! She'd call me a dead-beat loser, backhand me with her left hand upon which my 3 month salary invested, socially obligatory, gift to her rests, and she'd tell me to get a job.

      So, where does that leave us?

    • profile image

      Nanciboy 8 years ago

      For once in my life I'm leading or at least early on a trend. All my casual clothing has been from the women's side of the store since the turn of the century. My four days a week business suits are still men's though. But panties underneath :)

    • SatinJenni profile image

      SatinJenni 8 years ago from Burlington Ontario Canada

      Hope: Not the link you are looking for but probably is a good picture of western culture

      Although the linked study is probably not the one you are looking for (Canadian retail sales trends 1997 - 2002), it summerizes what the authors refer to as "dramatic" sales decline of clothing in mens fashion stores. At the same time they highlight the proportionate market shift in retail sales towards unisex stores. Could it be men are purchasing clothing in stores that are not as intimidating to the male shopper? Interesting how womens underwear sales(15% of the market) are much higher than mens. Could it be men are purchasing lingerie more often? The study is already dated as seven years old, I would suspect the trend of men purchasing female garments and unisex garments is all the more pronounced today. No question men are moving away from traditional mens garments.

    • profile image

      Cantsay 8 years ago

      Hear hear :)