Disclaimer: I don’t believe that it is a man’s obligation to dress well any more than it is a woman’s. Regardless of where you identify along the gender spectrum, following fashion is a personal choice.
That said, I’d like to make a case on behalf of men’s fashion. Most of my high school guy friends suffered from what medical professionals* have termed HSDS, or Heteronormative Style Deficiency Syndrome. Those affected maintain the conviction that there is no place for the straight man in the fashion world. If you’re male, appreciative of style and insecure about some perceived stigma, you can count yourself among the affected parties. To anyone who believes they may have contracted HSDS: I’m not going to tell you that styling yourself better will up your game (because we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers; objectification is wrong; it’s what’s inside that counts, et cetera), but it’s not going to hurt.
Actually, scratch that. Styling yourself better will DEFINITELY up your game. You’re attracted to people you find good looking, right? It shouldn’t surprise you to know that’s a universal phenomenon. However genetically blessed you may be, wearing clothes that suit your figure and maintaining a hairstyle that flatters your face shape can do you nothing but good. Just because you’re stereotypically exempted from curling irons and mascara wands doesn’t mean you’re excused from making an effort to look presentable.
I’m not arguing that men’s fashion needs to be destigmatized; it was never stigmatized in the first place. In fact, menswear is far from an untapped art form. Highsnobiety and Hypebeast, two of the most influential style blogs on the internet, are both geared towards men. Our generation has no shortage of male style icons; Luka Sabbat, A$AP Rocky, and Mike the Ruler are three of the dozens generating buzz with their sartorial choices. Many of the fashion industry’s best-selling brands- including Born x Raised, A Bathing Ape, and Profound Aesthetic– design primarily for men. Ask any Bostonian about the city’s coolest boutique and they’ll name-drop Bodega, a menswear mecca in the Back Bay. Guys, seriously, if you harbor the quaint (read: outdated) belief that fashion is a women’s realm, you’re missing out on SO much fun. Even if you’re not about to wait for ten hours outside a Pablo Merch pop-up shop or (excuse the shameless plug) look into contributing to Armour, consider giving menswear a try. I mean, look how far it got Drake. You can even start with the links I’ve conveniently included right here in this very article! (Fun fact: I didn’t have to do any research before writing this; I had these sources on hand because they’re so damn cool. Guys, if you won’t style yourselves, at least let me style you?)
A last addendum: whatever gender stereotypes do still exist in the fashion industry are quickly becoming obsolete with the rise of genderless fashion (if you haven’t checked out Jake Bjork’s article on the subject, consider it required reading). Over the past few years, men have begun to walk womenswear runways and vice versa. Jaden Smith’s ad campaign for Louis Vuitton Women took the fashion world by storm. The amount of androgyny in the fashion world only cements the idea that style has no gender. Or, more accurately: style has every gender. Including yours.
*Self-proclaimed medical professionals**