The fashion market of five years ago began to boast a greater breadth of men's apparel options, and we all celebrated. Finally! It was okay to sport a wider neckline on a T-shirt, and if we wanted to purchase a pair of historically accurate logging boots, we would be welcome to. Never spoiled for choices in modern times, a wider variety of menswear offerings was a relief to many men who would occasionally sneak enviable glances at womenswear, hoping for similar options for self-expression.
This stylistic expansion of the men’s market arose quietly. In recent years the market kicked into high gear, partially due to the appearance of meta style blogs. Already self-referential, sites began using algorithms to dig deeper into existing stylistic pathways. To use an example from another market, Netflix does its best business by offering a wide assortment of ‘personal genre' films. The business was able to overturn Blockbuster by offering not just convenience, but by catering to niche tastes. Because of these eddying aesthetic markets, the wider variety of menswear choices came with a caveat posed as a question. Retailers and male sartorialists worldwide were forced to answer this question: "Which kind of man are you?” The market was arranged to make us take sides, hardly different from that outdated teenage snarl, “Are you a prep, mod or rocker?”
Thankfully the last year or so has seen a backlash to this polarizing query. Looking at the market today, we see a shift to a softer, more evolved consciousness in menswear. No longer is there the 'Rick Owens man', in dark and moody dropped-crotch pants, nor are men beholden to a precise full-suited look, whether it be structured English tailoring or a soft and fluid Italian suit worn with a knit polo. The men of Fall 2015 are entitled to pick and choose from the broad kit of parts on offer. A little from column A, and a little from column B, with a dash of column C is what defines the season. Let’s be clear, however, it’s less a mash-up and more a portrait.
By finding a deep resonance with individual pieces, we express our personal story in the composition created.
The new mantra for menswear come fall 2015 is ‘Your choice.’ The market is still offering profiles from the traditional menswear tropes, but it is now our choice to take from these offerings and best articulate the individual within us. At Baby & Company we want to see what pieces are chosen and perhaps help explain some of the new shapes to those pondering such mysteries as how and why are all men’s pants gathered at the ankle now? Please stop by our corner of downtown Seattle, or write to us online. We are happy to help and interested to see what you select.