Ever since my cousin, a stylist for The Gap, came to my house and threw out 85% of my wardrobe, I’ve considered myself a pretty fashionable dude. I own three different watches. I cuff the bottom of my jeans depending on context. I rep both sneakerhead type of fuccboi jackets and sweaters that pair with artisanal deer antler frame glasses. Perhaps most importantly, I consume fashion content online.
The male fashion advice subreddit currently holds 477,000 subscribers who upvote, post, and comment on the latest and greatest in the world of Roshes, OCBDs and bomber jackets. This massive audience functions as one of several cores of the mens fashion world. Other cores stem from sites like Complex and Hypebeast. Both have massive power to sway what and who to wear. Even brands themselves are dictating what styles and items will project a given image through highly targeted advertising campaigns, celebrity tie-ins, and the irresistible 60% off sales.
This new global market for fashion advice is opening up avenues to bring style into previously uncharted terrain. For example, I’d typically throw on an old pair of gym shorts and T-shirt from that thing I did with my friends from work three years ago to walk to my local basketball court and hoop with my crew. Now I’m given the opportunity to play dress up even in a once-casual setting. A whole new world of fashionable activewear presents me with unlimited options to express myself on the court. I can rep an athlete by sporting their signature shoe, define my attitude towards exercise/life itself/the universe with a given brand’s signature catch phrase, or even flaunt non existent shooting skills by wearing an athletic sleeve.
All of these outlets for expression through menswear are exciting, but there is one key point preventing this trend from being an entirely positive one. Too often we see specific items being defined as “good.” The hivemind of style on the internet providing a consensus on what is in vs. what is not as opposed to equal recognition for different schools of fashion is a glaring issue. Picking clothes is hardly a creative opportunity when the preconceived ideals of how to dress well are so narrow.
There are borderline outsider trends that are currently on the way in such as sweatpants making their way into streetwear or bucket hats being donned at music festivals. However, it seems there will be an imminent breaking point in which these new trends will be either brought into the mainstream or cast aside as too weird. Even Pharrell and LeBron combined couldn’t make that giant hat cool. Sure, you’re free to experiment with leather bracelets with anchor charms, and non-boat shoe footwear with your shorts, but why take the risk? As long as you have one of the haircuts as prescribed in this infographic, buy your clothes from the same stores as your peers, and aren’t afraid to button all the way up to the top every once in a while, you’ll be fine.