It’s a disappointment I’ve encountered so many times: you walk into a department store, bypassing gorgeous, fun women’s clothing, only to find the men’s section is in a dingy basement and filled with sad, faded pieces. Unfortunately, the men’s market has historically been a snooze. While men in Hollywood stuck to their classic suits and suits on the red carpet, retailers also clung to what was being sold (which are said to be classic suits, or simple cuts in muted, neutral colors). I often had to shop the women’s section to find anything remotely adventurous and daring.
Except for the runways, where high-end fashion brands like Versace and Gucci have long been offering innovative menswear designs, it really has been boring in the men’s market as fashion-obsessed fans. Like runways, I want my stores and stars to inspire me with imagination! Thankfully, in 2021, we’ve seen things change in the men’s scene more than ever. The options for the most advanced man of fashion have finally presented themselves in new and new ways – and the time has come.
Below, five ways men’s fashion has changed for the better this year.
Hollywood stars took a chance…
Male Hollywood viewers weren’t afraid to try fashion on the red carpet this year. There were plenty of classic suits and suits in the mix, of course, but we’ve also seen actors, singers, and models come out of the box. Highlights from 2021 include Harry Styles’ pink Boa feathers at the Grammys, Troye Sivan’s black Altu dress at the Met Gala, and the Lil Nas X top she wore diverse Hitmaker lunch earlier this month. Where the men of Hollywood have been playing it safe, it’s refreshing to see stars turn for bold statements, rejecting unseen lines about gendered style. This representation also has a ripple effect – think about the impact they also have on designers and fans, who may now be more willing to take risks, too.
…and so did ordinary men!
It wasn’t just famous men who dared to experiment with their looks. In the street style scene, both “normal” men and non-binary people have defied gender norms by slipping into high-heeled shoes, skirts, and wallets with ease. (And for once, they can fit: Brands like Syro specialize in larger men’s heel sizes.)
Even retailers are noticing a shift in the way men shop. “More and more men are starting to see clothing as less of a burden and more of an inherently social act,” says Jean DeLeon, Nordstrom’s director of men’s fashion and editorial. “The more relaxed men are in their attitudes about what they can wear and are willing to really experiment, the more they will be able to see how much fun you can have in your clothes. That’s what I look forward to.”