Whatever comes to mind: Men’s wear transforms before our eyes

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

In the past century, the fashion industry has underwent a variety of transformations, from silhouettes and patterns to accessories and hairstyles. Women have plenty of options: 1950s gowns with flared out skirts, 1960s black slimming dresses designed for Audrey Hepburn, 1970s bell bottoms or scrunchies from the 1980s. However, men’s fashion has most certainly been the style that seems to lack change.

While slacks have become slimmer and different patterns have become more acceptable, the development has been less than eclectic. Men’s wear has simply become tailored, not transformed. However, in the wake of New York Fashion Week and other shows worldwide, more options for the metropolitan male are making their way into commercial outlets.

In recent fashion shows for men’s wear fall 2014, the style choices are seemingly breaking the mold. Big name brands like DKNY premiered their looks in New York which were completely masculine with thinned slacks and button down shirts. The most outrageous items within the collection were certain male bags.

However, certain aspects that were once reserved for women are now creating a huge impact and are changing the face of fashion for men. The most shocking collection was the premiere of fashion designer, Public School’s fall line. Many of the male models were rocking capes and stunning black wide brimmed hats with cloth veils covering the back, adding a feminine touch that changes things up for the traditional appearance of the macho-man that much of the world is so used to seeing.

So the question is this: Is this change of pace a good thing?

Women’s fashion has seen plenty of incredible changes over the past hundred years. In the early 1900s it was considered scandalous to show an ankle, and in 2014 women are able to wear anything from pants, shorts, short dresses and maxi skirts. Women’s fashion aides itself to plenty of options to express oneself through fashion. Men’s fashion has many boundaries that are not exactly easily crossed with society’s watchful eye.

Flashback a few years to a small, conservative town in western Pa. I remember a boy who wore a kilt to my high school once that drew many judgmental comments, placing it in the same category as a skirt. Although kilts are traditional garb hailing from Scotland, people were ridiculing him for his fashion choices. That is why this transition in men’s fashion is such a good and progressive concept.

The fashion industry is taking the chance to open the world to new ideas.

The spring 2014 lines have plenty of other options for men. The Alexander McQueen spring 2014 show, which launched in London during June 2013, involved many male models rocking white lace jackets and pants which were reminiscent of the Victorian times. Astrid Andersen’s spring collection which came out in the same month had cut-outs and shear lace tops which can usually be found on the female form. These intricate styles are creating a new image for men and have the potential to redefine what masculinity is today.

Men are slowly but surely gaining the ability to have options in the fashion world. Their fashion choices can be seen in today’s shows. Male fashion decisions are  expanding from more than suits, ties, jeans and t-shirts. Hopefully sooner rather than later, men of the sidewalk will adopt looks from the catwalk into their wardrobes. On the other hand, who knows; this new transparency among fashion concepts might just be a trend in the long run leaving white T-shirts and blue jeans to rule forever.

One thing is for sure, people in the fashion industry are trying to break out of their shells to create something that has rarely been done. If these trends are any indicator of how the world accepts change, then the fashion world is making greater strides than ever before.

Who knew the man-purse could be such a metaphor.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.

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