Working in retail, I see it every day, the modern day male consumer 18 to 30 browsing round the vast collections of menswear from sporty to smart, investing in generic giants such as Superdry and high-end designer labels like Armani and McQueen due to the rising obsession with male beauty.
Dandyism goes back centuries, referring to affluent gentlemen who take care in their appearance from garments to grooming, but this modern take on men dressing to impress includes men from all backgrounds as guys become increasingly fanatical about shopping looking good. Whether he’s a student or a successful businessman, nowadays a guy will go to extreme lengths to appear fashionable and appealing, being under heavy influence from trendsetters in the media. In a recent article by Karen Kay from The Observer Karen Kay said,
‘High profile men like David Beckham have made it acceptable for guys to express themselves through clothes and grooming’.
The article focuses on celebrity hairstylist, Oliver Woods, 41, depicted as the perfect example of the modern-day dandy or ‘neo-dandy’ with a monthly spend of £1000 per month. Not every aspiring dandy can afford to spend this amount on handcrafted designer clothing, but quality does not always have to be expensive. Retail king Zara has seen impressive growth, being 11% up from last year, displaying the rising power of high street clothing. Historically, men have been geared towards investing in classic, durable clothing; unlike women, who generally prefer to buy into fashion rather than function.
In the past, wives and girlfriends have been known to shop for their men. A mixture of grey, dark blue and black was the optimum colour pallet, and a compact outfit choice consisting of a shirt, pair of trousers or jacket and black shoes. This dull overview of menswear made shopping for men simple, making practicality and function more important than style or individuality. Now, with the huge selection of stylish menswear, shopping for men can either become a pleasurable experience or a bothersome chore. Menswear buying and merchandising manager at Harvey Nichols, Darren Skey said,
“Men’s shopping habits are changing at a phenomenal rate”.
Thus enforcing the result of increasing consumerism in men’s fashion, leaving great scope for growth, with predictions of 20% for 2013. Overall, this supports the argument that shopping for men is almost certainly turning into a highly desired leisure activity.