It’s a disappointment I’ve faced too many times – you walk into a department store, walk past the fabulous and fun women’s dresses, only to find that the men’s section is in a seedy basement and full of sad, seedy bits. Unfortunately, the men’s market has historically been a nap. While Hollywood men have stuck to their classic tuxedos and suits on the red carpet, retailers have also clung to what they sell (which is called classic suits or simple pieces in calm, neutral colors). I have often had to shop in the women’s section to find something remotely adventurous and daring.
Except for the catwalks, where high fashion labels like Versace and Gucci have long offered innovative menswear designs, it was really boring to approach the menswear market as an obsessive fan of fashion. Like the catwalks, I want my shops and stars to inspire me with a fantasy! Fortunately, in 2021, we saw things rock the male scene more than ever. Finally, the options for the most fashionable man presented themselves in new and fresh ways, and it was about time.
Here are five ways men’s fashion has changed for the better this year.
Hollywood stars took a risk …
Hollywood’s male A-lists weren’t afraid to experiment with fashion on this year’s red carpets. There were a lot of classic suits and tuxedos in the mix, of course, but we also saw actors, singers and models venture outside the box. Highlights of 2021 include Harry Styles’ pink feather boa at the Grammys, Troye Sivan’s black Altu dress at the Met Gala and the bondage strapped top worn by Lil Nas X at the Variety Hitmaker’s lunch earlier this month. Where Hollywood men used to play it safe, it’s refreshing to see stars make bold statements and reject the invisible lines around genre style. This representation also has a ripple effect: think of the influence they also have on designers and fans, who may now be even more willing to take risks.
… And normal men too!
However, it wasn’t just famous men who dared to experiment with their look. On the street style scene, both “normal” men and non-binary people have challenged gender norms by slipping on heels, skirts and bags with ease. (And for once, they can fit them: brands like Syro specialize in larger heel sizes for men.)
Retailers are also noticing a shift in the way men shop. “More and more, men are starting to see dressing as less of a burden and more of an inherently social act,” says Jian DeLeon, Nordstrom men’s fashion and editorial director. “The more guys relax their attitude about what they can wear and are really willing to experiment, the more they can see how much fun you can have with your clothes. This is what I’m looking forward to. “