Is Men’s Fashion Boring?

by Arash Mazinani on May 7, 2011

I was sat deliberating what to write for my weekly post for the men’s side of the blog when I asked my girlfriend for some inspiration. The thing is I told her that I generally have no problems thinking up new articles for the ladies side of the blog but tend to struggle sometimes when it comes to the men. She replied with the statement ” that’s because men’s fashion is boring”. The thing is that’s not the first time I’ve heard that statement and I doubt it will be the last. So now I’m pondering whether or not men’s fashion is boring?

I asked her what made it boring compared to women’s fashion and she couldn’t really put her finger on it. So that didn’t really help me in my quest to get to the bottom of the matter. The obvious difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’ is choice. One thing women’s fashion certainly doesn’t lack is choice and that choice comes in many forms; choice of retailers, choice of styles, even choice of trends. But too much choice is not necessarily a good thing in my eyes.

Lack of creativity is another thing often cited, but lack of creativity in what way? The number of designer’s and fashion house’s that put out  collections for women surpasses that of those for men, so you get wider a variety of collections each season, more trends and styles. It also means you get avant garde collections that are more like pieces of art than items of clothing. Which is fantastic to look at but when it comes down to it we’re talking about clothes you can actually wear everyday, not something that only looks good on a catwalk. Maybe men’s fashion understands this better?

Rick Owens – Louisaviaroma

I also think it may come from how society perceives male fashion and how men react to it. Anything that’s produced on the catwalk is filtered down to the high street for your ‘average joe’ to buy and wear. Women, generally, grow up with the notion that liking fashion is acceptable. On the other hand men aren’t really encouraged to like fashion when they’re younger it’s still not really perceived as a ‘manly’ thing. Because of this I’d say that men are less likely to experiment than women when it comes to clothes. Designers can afford to be more experimental with women’s fashion because it is more likely to be accepted, tried and bought by women. Being more experimental with men’s fashion, therefore is more likely to end up with the clothes gathering dust on the store hangers.

That’s just a theory to a statement that has often puzzled me. I don’t claim I know the answer to why some people think men’s fashion is boring, that is why I’m opening up to you guys.

So…

Is Men’s Fashion Boring?

I’d love to hear your answers.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Casee Marie May 7, 2011 at 11:16 pm

I definitely don’t find men’s fashion boring at all. I didn’t pay it all that much attention until just this past Fashion Week when I happened to catch the…Perry Ellis livestream, I think. I guess I always assumed men’s fashion was just for men, but when you’re dealing with such finite choices you find there’s a special attention to detail that can be very interesting. I love seeing how fashion is shaped and just how it’s used within that sphere.

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Arash Mazinani May 11, 2011 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for commenting Casee Marie you have some good points I guess you just appreciate the aesthetic of fashion.

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Mrs Bossa May 8, 2011 at 12:38 pm

I am guilty of saying ‘men’s fashion is boring’ many times over – but only because I find the selection in men’s stores so uninspiring. It’s when I see catwalk collections that I’m in awe, often because of the cut of a suit or the strength of a silhouette. But I suppose I imagine that as a man I would struggle to emulate this on a high street budget…and I think that’s why Mr B sticks to a good pair of jeans and a vast and colourful array of vintage t-shirts (and occasionally a Harris tweed jacket). Having said that, I always envy men’s ability to look so good in something so simple!
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Arash Mazinani May 11, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Yeah we do look good in simple things :-). I think also like you said the things on the catwalk might not always make it down to the high street because some guys just won’t push the envelope that far in terms of trying on new things.

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Perdita May 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm

This is a topic I have had several online discussions on and blogged about myself.

I agree with your suggestion that currently, in British culture, men are not encouraged to dress up unless as a uniform to denote their ‘tribe’ (e.g. punk, vintage, emo) and even within those groups – to some extent- experimentation seems to be frowned upon. There could be several reasons for this- latent sexism/attitudes linking ‘flamboyant’ clothing to sexuality (interestingly, a troll posted on my piece that I could not be a heterosexual woman AND like ‘dandy’ type men like Prince, Russel Brand etc’ because they were covering up what makes men and women different- is there a misplaced fear of becoming unattractive to women?), the natural desire of men to establish a pecking order within a tribe (for which you need rules unspoken or otherwise) and of course media/retail inspirations and offering…rarely inspirational at high street level. Indeed even within scenes (vintage for example) I find that men fall into two categories: some dress that way to experiment and express themselves and are open to new ideas, some seem as obsessed with ‘their’ rules as a man who won’t wear anything bar jeans, hoodie and reeboks- i.e. it’s just shirt, waistcoat, brogues or you’re ‘weird’. There often seems to be tension between the two groups in a way I have NEVER experienced as a woman with other women, mainstream or alternative dressers regardless.

A male (mainstream dresser) friend of ours, after a few drinks, once ranted that he could ‘never trust’ my husband because he ‘dresses like … like… different’- this was a widely travelled man from the SE of the UK, articulate and professional: when sober he knew his reaction to a flamboyantly dressed man was illogical. OK, he was drunk, but I think he was being truthful. He felt that my husband’s clothing meant he was lying or in disguise (‘other lawyers don’t dress like that…are you sure he IS one?’) or dishonest/spivvy in personality, and once again latent homophobia was hinted at- how could he br straight and spend as much of clothes as me. Although an upsetting experience, it was an eye opener.

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Arash Mazinani May 11, 2011 at 7:59 pm

First of all welcome to the blog and wow what a first comment, thank you. Yeah you raise some valid points I have experienced the ‘are you gay’ thing from girls when I’ve been dressed flamboyantly. I think as well if you’re not used to such comments and say you were trying that ‘look’ for the first time, getting those sorts of comments could really knock your confidence and force you to stick to ‘safe’ clothes so you don’t get similar remarks again.

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wearitwellguru May 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm

Thought provoking article on men’s fashion. Personally I think men’s fashion in the designer/casual department geered towards T-shirts is quite diverse. There is a tendency for men to dress casually, but they have quite a lot of choice from with brands/designers and they can add variety into their wardrobe just by choosing different styles of T’s (roundneck vs v-neck); so even if a man wants to stick with dressing casually, it can be varied.

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Arash Mazinani May 11, 2011 at 8:00 pm

That’s a great way of looking at it, thanks for commenting :-)

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Gunjan May 8, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I don’t really agree with the statement that Men’s Fashion is boring. I happen to be an engineer by profession, so all the time while growing up i had the mentality that what you wear doesn’t really matter. Having said that, my best friend is in Milan and is heads down into the whole Fashion thing.

Over the years, I have gone from just throwing on the first thing that comes in my hand in the morning to running exactly what I want to wear the next morning while brushing my teeth at night.

I think you can really experiment so much in Men’s fashion depending on what you are going to be spending your day doing. You can be wearing an elegant shirt with straight cut, single coloured jeans and sport it with a casual Jacket… or be wearing a full business suit and be setting yourself apart with a distinctly colored Pocket Square. And then the shoes with the matching colored belt. These small things are quite simple to carry out, but can really set you apart in the crowd.

Another thing i like sporting is the Shirt , jeans and Gilet look. And ofcourse, in autumn you can always be experimenting with different pullovers, Scarves and the like.

So, no I don;t think that Men’s Fashion is boring. But it is true that the line betweeen experimenting and being acceptably dressed is much finer for Men than for women.

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Arash Mazinani May 11, 2011 at 8:02 pm

I understand what you’re saying completely and I do agree. When it comes to men’s fashion it is the smaller simple things that can spice up an outfit rather than anything over the top and elaborate. Great comment by the way hope to see you around more.

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Josh A. November 30, 2012 at 11:34 pm

No, this is exactly why men’s fashion is so boring. The constant stream of minor variations on the same boring garments. The story that all it takes is changing the details and suddenly you’re set apart from the crowd. No, you still look exactly the same as everyone else. Only because you aren’t allowed to color outside the rigid gender lines, you’ve had to confine any expression of self or creativity to these maddening tiny details that 98% of other people never even notice on you. Everyone else just sees another guy in a suit.

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Kim May 9, 2011 at 9:07 am

Oops, I think I’m also a bit guilty here. I can’t help it, but men’s fashion is a bit boring to me. However, to be honest I think that comes from pure selfishness, because I can’t wear it and therefore am not interested in it. I just have to admit that I never pay that much attention to men’s fashion..

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Spanish Harlem April 30, 2013 at 4:35 am

Well, I think thats how men are brought up to be when it comes to high fashion, they cant wear it, i. e. Heels, gowns, wigs, and such, that they shouldnt be interested in it, and if they are, they are labeled a freak or a queer.

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GRIT & GLAMOUR May 9, 2011 at 1:26 pm

Men’s fashion can be boring, yes, but as you noted, too many choices or too much embellishment is NOT a good thing in terms of men’s fashion. Let’s face it: there are only so many ways to rework tees, shirts, pants, jackets, shorts, and shoes. Women wear so many more pieces and there is much, much more room for creativity.

That said, I do think men get stuck in a style rut very quickly, and most hetero men are reluctant to take risks with what they wear. I’d love to see men try some new looks every once in a while…wear a button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up when you normally wear a tee, or a polo shirt with shorts, even when not trying to “dress up.” Try some boots with your jeans instead of trainers. Overall, men make their fashion more boring than it actually is by living in tees and jeans 95% of the time.
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Augi December 8, 2012 at 12:26 pm

I think he was referring to “too much choice” in women’s clothing, not men’s. I have heard women complain about way too many styles make it hard to choose from.

I think men do deserve a variety of ways and color schemes to rework tees/pants, etc. since the choice of styles are limited as it is (shirts, pants, and shorts).

I agree that jeans are incredibly boring. I wish guys would try to push the envelope by wearing pants of different fabrics, prints, or colors. At least wear a jean that isn’t the same blue after a while.

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Spanish Harlem April 30, 2013 at 4:42 am

Maybe they live in Tees and jeans all the time, because ONE, they are afraid to experiment of fear of not being accepted, OR , they dont like what is being offered to them in the fashion world. I assure you, if you gave men clothes they like, and assured them they will be accepted while wearing them, they will wear them. But the main thing is ACCEPTANCE> Men seem to long for it!

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Jamillah May 9, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Yeah, I would have to agree with some of the comments above. I do think men’s fashion tends to be boring but really because of the reasons you site above. There’s not so much fantasy in men’s fashion which I suppose a gift and a curse to your gender because men probably have a more succinct selection of clothes off the runway you can actually wear, but none of the ooohing and ahhing of inspiring fashion that I love to see.

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Beautifully Invisible May 9, 2011 at 9:43 pm

I was actually going to post a response much the same as V’s above.

I think a key difference between men’s and women’s fashions is the sheer quantity of items we wear. There are so many more pieces for women to experiment with, it is only natural that it seems less boring because of that. Men’s wardrobes are limited in that they there are a fewer number of key pieces… and fewer accessories… to choose from.

That being said, I also think V hit the nail on the head when she said men do get stuck in a rut quickly. Most tend to go for a particular look that works for them, and it can be near impossible to get them to move away from that. In my experience they gravitate towards low maintenance looks, and once they find one, they stick with it. Sometimes a small change is enough to make a difference, but they hesitate to make it because change is uncomfortable!
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THE-LOUDMOUTH May 10, 2011 at 3:49 am

First off, I love that your posts become discussions! So great.

I don’t think men’s fashion is boring, but there is definitely a more limited selection. Men, for example, don’t (normally) wear skirts, dresses and heels. I think it’s more difficult to come up with new ideas for men’s fashion, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s boring. I think it’s all about personal style… more women than men are enthusiastic about fashion, and therefore, more men may dress more boring-ly than women — if that makes sense!

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Lee Oliveira May 12, 2011 at 2:51 pm

I don’t find men’s fashion boring at all. In my case as a street fashion photographer I find very hard to find guys on the streets. A lot of them don’t feel inspired for nothing that’s why they look like everybody else.
lee x

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Arash Mazinani May 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm

yeah that’s true… I guess when everyone is trying to look like everyone else, it could be hard to feel inspired.

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Madison May 15, 2011 at 2:44 am

Yes, I think that men’s fashion can be boring at times, however I do not that it’s boring overall. Perhaps, because I know many independent designers and come across folks who style themselves quite well in men’s fashion.
I can see how men’s fashion can be boring, especially in the mainstream market. I think that it takes an effort for a guy to want to stand out, but he does not have to be eccentric to make these changes… For women it may be bold colour, but for men’s wear it might just be a unique trimmed button or a simple lining in his tailored jacket. I love men’s wear and like seeing when a guy has thought about his ensemble, even in the simplest of ways.

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Arash Mazinani May 15, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Yeah I think others have commented with men’s fashion it tends to be the simpler things that make the difference.

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Aeondrift May 20, 2011 at 7:07 pm

Japan has really interesting male-fashion. In most parts of the world though, the males freedom of self-expression through fashion are severely restricted by the violent and aggressive conservative-machismo culture; where males who dares to deviate from the male-gender expectation risks getting ridiculed or even severely bashed.

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Arash Mazinani May 21, 2011 at 10:10 am

Thanks for commenting, I love some of the looks you see in Japane, they really do put a lot of effort into what they wear.

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DKNY tuxedos October 28, 2011 at 2:31 am

Men’s fashion isn’t boring, in fact men have some guts when it comes to fashion. They’re personality is easily shown by what they wear. Although there are some who don’t really care about what they wear, there are men who are more sensitive than women when it comes to fashion.

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Gene Leck-DeLeon August 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I’m the type that is guilty of saying that men’s fashion is boring. It’s fine to have a few jeans and t-shirts or polos, or a suit or two with colorful ties and nice dress shirts, but it is very constraining.

For instance, if you have so many t-shirts and jeans or shorts, you are limited by what society as a whole says you’re allowed to wear. According to today’s standards, men aren’t allowed to wear makeup (other than possibly guy-liner), fun and or funky hairstyles or hair color without being labeled gay or effeminate (regardless of sexual orientation), or fun, colorful and funky clothing (again without being labeled gay or effeminate). Men are constrained to a more or less strict guideline on what they’ll be allowed to wear before they’re ostracized by mainstream public as well as possibly their peers.

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Arash Mazinani September 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Great point, often if guys get experimental their peers let their feelings be known. So it ends up with everyone being afraid of pushing the envelope and trying new things. The companies that produce the clothes will continue to push what sells and seen as though everyone wants to play it safe, the same old concepts will continue to be made. I do think things are changing though, ever so slowly, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the near future.

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omalley December 31, 2012 at 3:20 am

reading about men’s fashion is boring for men and watching it is even worse. Yes GQ is great for the health series . The clothes are great but too expensive for the average mate. So men’s fashion traditionally is quite boring . Unless of course you are getting great hints from James Tirado, a blogger at Four Pins, not for the queasy but hilarious enough to see what men are reacting to in fashion and who is tooting what for casual men’s fashion . ..for example I did not know about Ralph Lauren’s new bear tribute. It’s not the runway its a blog by men for men and that is style .

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Spanish Harlem April 30, 2013 at 4:48 am

GQ is OK, but its Traditional clothes priced at Avante garde prices. Plus men’s dress is different than women’s. Women’s clothes are fun, Men’s clothes are functional. When I shop for men’s suits, its like I am shopping for a uniform. Its out of duty and not out of desire that I shop for such. Just like when a man go to be fitted for a tux for a wedding. Its not fun, its functional, and out of duty. In recent decades, men were taught to be financial minded and to dress for business, and to wear color and anything other than black or gray was not appropriate for business. It was the money that drove the man, not the clothes!

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Godbeam May 2, 2013 at 10:08 pm

Oh yes, men certainly do have a dull life when it comes to fashion. Take the simple top for example. Men have such small choices for the torso area we can name them all in one small sentence. T-shirt, shirt and polo shirt. Women just have ‘tops’. There are way too many variations and cuts to categorize them into groups. The subtle changes and choices in men’s fashion are about as noticeable and speedy as biological evolution. Things don’t change from year to year. The shirt will still be king when I’m dead and gone. Also, I can complain all I want, but society, in both men and women will never accept as varied a wardrobe in men as they do with women.

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sil July 7, 2013 at 7:31 pm

Mens’ fashion not bored, bit extreamly limited and overpriced. The margins on men’ sclothing are far higher than women’s, and often of lessor quality – this includes Guess by Marconi. Ive stopping buying his clothes. Even Guess is pretty run of the mill. DarkShadow is good. Even in the office women can wear interesting clothes and hairstyles, yet society dictates men to have short hair and boring style.

Why? Sexism. Discrimination. Females’ perceived as the lesser yet prettier sex. Why should men lower themselves to this?
Being male, I am appauled and offended, and creativityy restrained. I wear cool black CT hitop womens’ Converse, men’s jeans, and lots cool and original menswear from China that is cheaper and really interesting (IMPERIAL, has a Italian label but think this designed by the Chinese. I’ve only seen this in France).

Women can wear a short skirt to a dinner party, but men cannot wear shorts ….. Are our legs that unsightly?

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Gel January 24, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Men’s fashion is boring, because its been dominated by the same Western-style fashion, the typical suit or pants with a dress-shirt or a t-shirt. Its the same thing in the catwalk every year just different fabrics or colours. It’s the same “pants and shirt” combination, no variety.

Perhaps if someone dared to make a fashion collection from a different fashion perspective, how about Middle-Eastern, or East-Asian? How about a Scottish kilt or a Japanese yukata, there are so much more to men’s fashion if you incorporate elements from other cultures not just follow the standard “pants and shirt” combination.

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sil January 24, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Hi evergbody,

Since Dec I’ve decided to stop buying menswear, and wear women’s instead. I can because I’m slim with size 39 shoes and 27 inch waist. I have a totally masculine half thigh lengyh women’s jacket from Replay, and some jeans from Esprit (edc five straight slim streachy) and they’re both really comfortable . People just presume I’ve got some cool men’s clothes and have been so surprised when they ask where I got them from, because they’d never had guessed. My 2014 rebellion resolution :)

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