Reader Question

Reader Question: What makes for masculine menswear?

What does it mean to dress 'masculine' anyway?

By Megan Collins | Last Updated: Apr 20 2019

Wyatt asks:

Dear Style Girlfriend,

I’m a big fan of the blog! For me, the way you inject your personality into your writing is what makes the blog so much fun to read.

I was hoping you could share on a topic that I have been pondering lately: Recently I have noticed that it is becoming very fashionable for men to dress in a traditionally feminine way. Pastel colored pants, cuffing to show bare ankles, skinny jeans, wearing several bracelets… I consider myself very open-minded, but to me these trends don’t say ‘confident in my masculinity’, they say ‘trying to look feminine’.   Do you think these trends will fade, stay, or grow? Do women really think a man showing off his ankles is attractive? Am I just being narrow-minded?

{Who says males can’t wear bright colors?}

What does masculine menswear mean?

Hmm, what an interesting question! I love my readers because they come up with things I may never have even considered before. You guys always keep me on my toes.

Now, I live in a very hipster-y (is that a word?) neighborhood of Brooklyn in New York City, where the trends you’re talking about – exposed ankles, slimmer-cut clothes, extra accessories – are pretty much par for the course. So I may be overly accustomed to this manner of dressing.

Personally, though, I like it. I like it a lot. As a lady, I appreciate when a guy puts some effort into his look. Because, hey, those pant cuffs aren’t going to roll themselves, amirite?

As for these kinds of clothes projecting that a guy is not confident in his masculinity – I actually think it’s the opposite. I think a guy has to be super confident in his masculinity to pull off salmon-colored pants! Nothing says, “I’m comfortable with who I am,” than to push outside the socially-accepted norms a bit. As for “traditional” feminine and masculine ways of dressing: in the animal kingdom, males of a given species have generally been brighter in nature so as to attract females, like those robins above. So, really, salmon-colored khakis could just be considered sartorial evolution.

Ultimately, what I like about this type of style on guys is that it tells me they’re dressing with intention. You have to really know your size to be able to buy a pair of pants that fits you slim through the waist, seat and thighs. You have to take a minute (or two) to latch that bracelet. To make sure your rolled pant legs are even. And so on.

As for being narrow-minded, I don’t think it’s that, and I would never accuse you of it anyway Wyatt! You seem like a very nice fellow (anyone who compliments my blog I think is a very nice fellow). When you’re not used to something – anything – it can seem a bit scary at first. For instance, I used to not like high-waisted pants; now I love them.