How many Americans out of 10 know what they're doing or talking about anymore? Maybe 2 or 3 at the most. I'm 79 so it's too late for me to leave but if I was in my 20s, 30s, 40s, or 50s, I'd be long gone.
get ready for the next right wing outrage
Earlier this year, a frenzy of unisex affordability gripped TikTok’s menswear followers when a series of videos championed a stretchy, sleeveless vest from the women’s section of Target, the US supermarket.
Made by Good Day, male influencers took to the platform to praise the $8 (£6.40) price, its comfort (courtesy of a cotton/spandex mix) and how the design complements the male physique. “The black one in particular is the ideal gym tank top,” said Xander Torres, 30, a Vancouver waiter and menswear blogger in one of his videos. “The way that it’s cut does a good job of accentuating your shoulders and chest. Like, I feel hot in it – and that’s what you want.”
The humble tank top – renamed by gen-Z as the wife-pleaser or wife-respecter, rather than wife-beater – is already enjoying something of a renaissance in the men’s style arena. Over the past year, thanks to countless images of Jeremy Allen White from The Bear, as well as the catwalks of Bottega Veneta, Dolce & Gabbana and Ami, sleeveless vests have played a starring role. Last year, Prada released a women’s white cotton tank, priced at £690 – but was worn by men too, and, despite the price, sold out in every size. In July, GQ magazine told readers to forget everything they knew about vests, as they were “the hottest thing to be wearing this summer”.
The rise of the Target tank is also indicative of a wider shift in the way men are buying clothes, with some drifting towards the women’s section for the fits, colours and finishes that men’s collections simply don’t offer.
For a decade, it has been the other way round. “Men’s clothing keeps women’s clothing art arm’s length, whereas women’s clothing reaches more towards men’s clothing”, says Rich Legate, 34, a musician in London, who shops in both men’s and women’s sections. He believes there is more nuance in womenswear, that it lends itself more easily to personal styling choices. By contrast, in menswear: “There’s no subtlety or consideration that you might want to accentuate your body in some way,” he says.
Legate recently set out to buy flared jeans that met his requirements – high-rise with a subtle flare on the leg – and eventually settled on a women’s pair from Levi’s. “There was no chance of finding them in the men’s section,” he says, noting that most men’s jeans are “very normal”, with little in the way of a considered shape or finish. “I’m more likely to find them in the women’s section, so that’s just the route you go down.”..............
But the notion of men buying women’s clothes because they are better is much newer, and potentially highlights a lag in the way men’s clothes are made and marketed. It’s not simply slim men looking for slim-fitting clothing. For example, standard men’s denim jeans tend to feature a 32in (81cm) inseam (if not 34in), while women’s are generally 2-4in shorter (the range of waist sizes is often the same). If a man is looking for a cropped cut or a differently shaped arm-hole, why wouldn’t he consider the women’s section?
That goes for colour and texture, too. “Men have such homogenous fabrications offered to them [in mainstream clothing],” says the model and artistic director, Richard Biedul, 40. “Black, grey, blue or pinstripe, and there’s not much choice to it. But you look at the women’s offering and it’s so colourful, so textured. There’s always something different.”
Biedul bought his first pair of women’s trousers in the mid-2000s when “indie-sleaze” was big. “It was probably the same pair of trousers that every boy into indie rock’n’roll bought – the women’s skinny jeans from Topshop. They didn’t do them for men and I just wanted that look,” he says. Biedul has since refined his taste, particularly when it comes to women’s tailoring – something Prince Harry seems to have discovered, too, when he was spotted allegedly wearing Meghan’s jacket – and recently picked up a chocolate-brown suit from Jil Sander, the German designer. The trousers are slim, with a high-rise, reverse pleat and built-in belt, and the jacket, while a little snug, is perfect for a silhouette that looms downward. “Some people might think it’s strange to look at the women’s section of a website but for me it’snatural because I know it’s more flattering for my body shape,” he says..............
Men are finding some women’s clothes are better designed and cut, made of better fabric – and cheaper. From cotton vests on influencers to designer blazers on Prince Harry, men borrowing womenswear is on the rise