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Mimishu1995's avatar

Is men's fashion not so various?

Asked by Mimishu1995 (22222points) June 14th, 2014

Just trying to confirm a hunch of mine.

I have noticed (or misunderstood) that throughout the history, women’s fashion has undergone significant changes. Just look at this summary of the women’s fashion history.

But as for men, the change is, to me, not as significant.

When I look at a woman’s clothes, I can guess which time period she lived in, but when I look at a man’s clothes, I can’t guess as easily.

When you do a Google search for fashion timeline, the results are more of women’s than men’s.

Is it true that men’s fashion doesn’t change as much as women’s? Or am I misunderstanding something?

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17 Answers

downtide's avatar

No, it’s very true. Men’s fasion, especially formal/businesswear, hasn’t changed a great deal since the 1920s. And the ubiquitous jeans-and-plaid-shirt combination would have been as acceptable 150 years ago as it is today. What changes most I think, is not the garments themselves but the occasions it’s acceptable to wear them. We happily wear a nice white cotton t-shirt in public now, whereas seventy years ago people would wonder why you were walking around town in just your underwear.

The 1950s were the big sea-change for men’s fashion in Europe and America; previous to that, pretty much the only thing acceptable to wear in public would be a suit, or at least a dress shirt and smart slacks. Or whatever work-wear was appropriate to your profession. But along with the emerging of pop-culture, more casual wear became acceptable.

My current dresscode for the office (smart plain pants, polo shirt of any colour) would once have been acceptable only on the golf course.

The rest of it is just details. A suit made in 1920 would look different from one made in 1970 or one made today but only because of changes to such things as the fabric used, the size of the lapels, placement of buttons and pockets or the overall fit. It’s still basically the same suit.

jca's avatar

I couldn’t say it any better than @downtide. As I formulated my response, about the width of the lapels, width of the tie, fabric the suit is made of, I read his last paragraph.

marinelife's avatar

Colorful socks are now the trend.

janbb's avatar

I think it varied more at times in the past such as the Regency period in England when the likes of Beau Brummel trod the streets. Men were often more peacocky then; at least in certain classes.

Seek's avatar

As a historical re-enactor I have a little bit of a different perspective.

Looking at that timeline, my first impression is that they are comparing very different kinds of clothing – from the about-town outfit in the 1900s photo to the party dress of the 50s. Those outfits are serving fundamentally different purposes. It would be like comparing a business suit with a mechanic’s coveralls.

Men’s clothing throughout history – not just the last 100 years or so, but for the last couple of thousand – has been wildly varied, more so than women’s clothing once you take away the variations in accessories (veils, jewelry, shoes…). Women’s clothing is all pretty much “make the legs invisible and make the waist look as small as possible” from 500 CE to 1950.

gailcalled's avatar

If you expand this question to non-Western fashions and modes of dress, including classes, occupations (particularly those counties with traditionaly agrarian societies) and wealth, you will have a more varied view.

stanleybmanly's avatar

People who are “fashion conscious” realize that mens’ fashion evolves right alongside womens’ As usual when it comes to things that are heart frivolous, it is women who are steered toward the silliness and enormous expenditures involved with “keeping up”. Were I a recently arrived sociologist from another planet, I might surmise that such endeavors as fashion (particularly shoes), makeup, and other such pursuits were invented to deflect women from other more practical pursuits, such as (for example) ruling the world.

fuglyduckling's avatar

Yup thats why men should wear skirts too.

Mimishu1995's avatar

@fuglyduckling Too bad most of them don’t ~

Seek's avatar

@Mimishu1995 – thank the gods for the kilt

Mimishu1995's avatar

@Seek Wow! Are they Scots?

Seek's avatar

@Mimishu1995 These particular guys are from Austria. More photos here

catherineconley's avatar

Check out this page, you will see the history about men’s wardrobe from 1933 to till now with illustrated styles. This is a great article to understand how men’s fashion are important too.

Hypocrisy_Central's avatar

Men’s fashion may not have changed much, but it has sure been butchered; that stupid “Hang-off-your-arse” trend is still here….....go figure…...

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