And how the pandemic has helped to blur those lines.
It’s not that men don’t have trends; they just don’t cycle through them as quickly. Men have always interacted with trends at a much slower pace than women. “Trends come and go over the course of years, rather than seasons,” says menswear expert Josh Peskowitz, whose résumé includes stints at Esquire, Bloomingdale’s and Moda Operandi. The rate is “waaaaay slooooowwwwer,” adds celebrity stylist Ilaria Urbinati. “We are still on the Hawaiian print shirt craze that we were doing with Rami [Malek] during Mr. Robot season one press.”
“Trends come and go over the course of years, rather than seasons.”
Instead of jumping from trend to trend, men have a tendency to invest in fewer, better pieces. “When it comes to actual apparel, style-conscious men are willing to put down money on certain items because they know they will be in style for a number of years,” says Peskowitz. It’s a pretty safe bet.
That’s partially because almost everything in menswear stems from the suit. For more than a century, it has been the default. “Regardless of what your style was, if you were more of an English Mod or an Armani kind of guy, it was still a suit that you wore,” says street-style photographer Scott Schuman, otherwise known as the Sartorialist and author of the recently published Menswear.
“Most of the building blocks are the same, it’s just the moving peripheral stuff and the statement pieces.”
Whether it looks that way or not, style has always been the basis for menswear. “There’s still a strong association to maybe not fashion, but style for men all across the spectrum more so than women,” explains Schuman. “My dad would always say, ‘I don’t care anything about fashion,’ but he cared about style. He wanted to look like all the other guys at the golf course. He didn’t want to look more crazy or less crazy. He just wanted to fit in.” Their definition of style may read a little different than women’s for fundamental reasons.
“There’s still a strong association to maybe not fashion, but style for men all across the spectrum more so than women.”
“Stylewise, men’s and women’s wear have been interweaving quite a bit the last couple of years.”
Not only has our current lifestyle negated the differences, but it has fueled the similarities. “I think you see the most overlap right now in comfort dressing. Silhouettes have gotten looser for both genders. Pleats are back. All shoulders are dropped, and fabrics are soft and textural. Men and women are wearing the same sneaker styles, and there’s always been a lot of overlap in colors,” says Peskowitz. Work-from-home looks are often characterized by sweatpants, hoodies, sneakers—all unisex clothing items, for the most part. Because our lifestyles are now so similar, our clothes are reflecting that.
“I think you see the most overlap right now in comfort dressing.”
Top photo: Getty
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