The skinny on why men are buying more clothes than women
The AP, an unlikely fashion authority, ran an article yesterday that suggests men are spending more on clothes than women. The writer says it's due to a quick and dramatic shift in men's styles toward tighter and narrower cuts in just about every article of clothing--except maybe underwear and socks, hopefully. As a result, men are making a mad dash to update their increasingly informal work wardrobes to comply with the skinny new standards. That's the explanation given, anyway.
I don't know though, doesn't it have more to do with how it's become more socially acceptable for men to care about clothes--a shift started by all that metrosexual crap a few years ago? To pin it all on skinny jeans and the like seems a little simplistic.
All this tight clothes business is interesting though. Baggy pants had a surprisingly long run, so perhaps it's time for a changing of the guard, or leg, or whatever.
In tough economic times, men are traditionally the first to cut back — but the Hales represent a new phenomenon in retailing: Over the past year, men have been on a clothes-buying spree, while women have pulled back even more.
The lopsided fortunes — solid sales gains in menswear and a deepening funk in the far larger women's clothing business — is creating a rare sales disparity that hasn't been seen in years, according to David Wolfe, creative director of The Doneger Group, a buying office.
Fashion observers say the main catalyst fueling menswear buying is the slimmed-down styles shown on the runways a few years ago by designer Thom Browne that have recently garnered mass appeal. The look is being popularized by AMC's award-winning series "Mad Men" about ad executives in the 1960s.
Still, fashion pundits like Wolfe hail the trend as the biggest change in men's fashion in more than a decade, since the relaxation in business dress codes enticed men to fill up their wardrobes with everything khaki. Major menswear brands like VF Corp.'s Nautica and Levi Strauss and Co.'s Dockers have reworked their fits. Pants, for example, have less material in the seat and thigh and have no pleats; suit jackets have higher armholes with narrower and shorter sleeves.