Menswear: Pushing The Boundaries, Challenging the Status Quo

Piti Uomo 2014 menswear.
Piti Uomo 2014. Men wearing skirts.

How much does fashion really impact our attire? As received opinions run, men’s wear doesn’t fluctuate all that much. Women’s wear is subject to oscillating hemlines, vagaries of fit and flare, to ever-perambulating erogenous areas. Shifts in men’s wear, we are told, are tectonic, stately and slow: they mean something. They’re allied with events like war and revolution.

Think of the Great Masculine Renunciation, the term coined by the psychoanalyst John Carl Flügel to denote a general eschewing of extravagance in male dress at the turn of the 19th century. It was a revolution in cloth, a sartorial equivalent to the upheavals recently wrought in the Americas and France. In fashion terms, it swept away the restrictive layers of finery, slicing off embroidery as Robespierre cleaved off aristocratic heads, in favor of stripped-back tailoring in black and navy­ blue.

Read more here at NY Times.

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High heels were invented for men and skirts are one of the prominent Scottish traditions. Oh, how conservative we have become since then. Femininity in men’s fashion has become such a dirty word. 

Unfortunately, we live in a patriarchal society where men are considered more elevated than women. The social boundaries and expectations are for men to dress masculine and for one to dress in a feminine manner is to be considered lowering one social status. That view is rather unfortunate. 

It is not that surprising that the bolder, more frivolous designs of menswear coincides with the rise and acceptance of LGBTQ in many parts of the world (not as many as we would love but it’s progressing). LGBTQ, or gay men in particular, aren’t bound by the black and white social norms that straight men have to adhere to. It’s the age of self-exploration and self-discovery. 

When these archaic rigid rules and the expectations on society that dictate men have to dress or act a certain way are obliterated, only then, can we see these trends as not just silly but merely as a freedom of expression. 

Didn’t you hear the walls rumbling?