YORK ó Itís been a bit hard to tell the difference
between menís and womenís runway presentations at
the fall 2013 fashion shows.
Black Sail collection had its male models in
banana-yellow skinny pants rolled at the ankles. Coats
with oversize fur collars featured a slight A-line
Patrik Ervellís presentation last Sunday included an
iridescent, emerald-green cape with a wraparound,
Michael Kors ó whose manly clothes are typically
classic American with a dose of Old World sophistication
ó dressed a model Wednesday in a fuzzy, short-sleeve
sweater and skinny slacks, while another wore a
bright-orange, belted trench.
menswear has officially dipped its pantleg into the
expanding androgynous-loving pool of the fashion
industry. That means not only will women wrap themselves
in their boyfriendsí sweaters, but men may soon be
donning "girlfriend" jeans as well ó and
their sexuality wonít be questioned. Or at least, they
will be confident enough not to care.
all very urban nomad," said Tom Julian,
trend-watcher and author of Nordstromís Guide to Menís
Everyday Dressing, while he took a break at New York
Fashion Week. The guy who wears these clothes is
"one-part artist, one-part rebel, and heís also
very simplistic; he loves his technology," Julian
has been borrowing masculine details since the 1920s
when Coco Chanel essentially created the womenís suit.
The look was initially considered taboo, but using menís
fabrics and tailoring in womenís clothes today (see
Michelle Obamaís Thom Browne coat at the inauguration)
is as accepted as wearing red nail polish.
since men took off their wigs, long stockings, and knee
breeches around the start of the Industrial Revolution,
theyíve been languishing for 200 years or so wearing
shirts and trousers in navy, black, and gray shades. Now
it seems that younger, heterosexual men are actually
following fashion as closely as women. And with more
clothing options, they have to replenish their closets
to stay in style.
reflect that. As of November, total U.S. menswear sales
were up 4.2 percent, to $55.6 billion, from $53.4
billion the year before, according to the market
research firm NPD Group.
industry is understanding now there is a market for
men," said Michael D. Oxman, image consultant for
Philadelphia-based Henry A. Davidsen, a custom-suit
retailer. He has seen his fitted-suit sales go up in the
"are starting to consume (fashion) at a similar
rate as women. Thatís just the market at work,"
the fact that most models now look like adolescent boys,
the androgynous movement is reflective of both European
runways ó especially collections by Rick Owens, an
American designer in Paris who is credited with creating
a multilayered menís look featuring skinny cargo
pants, infinity scarves, and long, cozy cardigans ó
and celebrity culture. Check out the red carpet or
fashion websites to see Chanel accessories (not made for
women) worn by male rappers.
at the Grammys last week, many men appeared enamored
with dandy details: Drake wore a fitted tux; John Mayer
showed up in a shrunken purple, velvet blazer; and
crooner Ne-Yo stunned in a metallic jacket and silky
cargo pants. (Ne-Yo later performed at Fashion Week at a
Prabal Gurung for Target presentation wearing a pink
blazer and sequin scarf.)
NFL-loving man, on the other hand, might be slower to
embrace these trends, said Daniel Abraham, creative
director of Art in the Age, a menís store in
in New York, the Lincoln Center runways werenít the
only places where menswear and womenswear seemed
indistinguishable. At Chelseaís Milk Studios, where
many emerging designers show off-site, Carlos Campos
presented male models wearing rosy lip color and tight,
floral-printed slacks. Lucio Castro experimented with
colorblocking ó typically the domain of womenswear ó
and Rochambeau layered turtlenecks under hooded cloaks
with three-quarter-length sleeves.
days, men can wear a womanís navy cashmere sweater and
itís OK," said Quentin Washington, a
Philadelphia-based blogger. "I saw collections like
Robert Gellar, where he showed quilted, knee-length
shorts over tights. I saw collections with belted cable
sweaters. All of these pieces are womenís clothing,
but they work in menswear now, thanks to layering."
the second season, Details magazine hosted a handful of
runway presentations and an accessories show geared
specifically to men. Although the music was 1990s hip
hop and showgoers were handed bottles of Yuengling and
Heineken, the vibe was not gender-specific.
only were attendees clad in ponchos and metallic
high-top sneakers, but also the nine accessories brands
ranged from camouflage and leather duffel bags to thin
friendship-like bracelets, some with dangling charms.
I walked in and saw those bracelets, I thought to
myself, ĎIs this really a menís show?í I mean, I
really want them," said Maria Ambrose, 25, who
walked through the show holding the hand of her
boyfriend, Matt Fennel.
did Fennel think?
not a big fan because I tend to be more rugged," he
said (while wearing fitted burgundy corduroys).
"But I am paying more attention to fashion. I mean,
five or six years ago, I wouldnít have these on, so,
yeah, it is an evolution."
but surely, men arenít letting fashion rules define
their clothing choices, let alone their sexuality, said
Colin Stark, development director of Details magazine.
think the Ď90s were all about the masculine
form," said Stark, on his feet a pair of blue,
brown, and red Gucci tie-up shoes. "Now men have
more options. They are more comfortable and they are
pushing the envelope, challenging the norm."