Men are increasingly open to less conventional fashion choices and more mainstream brands are jumping on this shift.
In our June 2013 report, “The State of Men,” we note that men are increasingly open to less conventional fashion choices and that more mainstream brands are jumping on this shift, providing edgier options for the masses. A year later, this trend continues to gain momentum. Men who once shied away from bold colors and patterns, shorter hemlines and slim silhouettes are now finding safety in numbers—and the numbers are growing. Men’s apparel sales have now outpaced women’s for two years in a row, per NPD Group, and will continue to do so for the next four years, according to Euromonitor.
Some 50 percent of dress shirts sold at Nordstrom are trim-sized, and 10 percent are extra-trim, compared with five years ago, when 40 percent were trim or tighter, Bloomberg reports. And as men grow accepting of showing a little thigh, shorts are getting shorter, with brands including J. Crew, Club Monaco and Bonobos offering a wider range of inseam lengths, with some styles starting at 5 inches. For men looking to add a subtle fashion-forward touch, bold and colorful patterned socks are booming—2013 sales increased 14 percent year-over-year. Nike helped spur this trend in athletic wear with its Elite line, while retailers from Macy’s to Target have added more fashionable socks.
A microcosm of this menswear trend, the Coachella music festival has become a showcase not just for women’s styles but for men pushing the boundaries of summer wear, with festivalgoers embracing florals, tropical prints, a mix of bold prints and designer tank tops, as The New York Times reported. The luxury market is taking notice of this shift—given that men now account for 40 percent of the luxury goods market globally, according to Bain & Co. Ermenegildo Zegna Group’s chief executive told The New York Times that the industry is finally “taking [men’s fashion] more seriously” and “trying to make it more fun,” with luxury brands expanding their traditional offerings to include younger, slimmer looks.
Men’s fashion, it seems, is finally leaning forward. More men feel comfortable stepping outside the staid constraints of traditional menswear, and others feel compelled to follow along: In a survey JWT conducted last year, 76 percent of men agreed that “These days, there’s more pressure than in the past for men to dress well and be well-groomed.”