Men’s Fashion Goes Large

The revolution in men’s fashion has been gaining pace for some years now. First, the rise of the world ‘metrosexual’ – used to refer to trendy men who took care to dress well and look good – brought the growing male awareness of style to the forefront. However, in the last couple of years, so many men have begun to take an interest in fashion and clothing that singling certain males out as ‘metrosexual’ seems to have little meaning: everyone’s in on it.

In large part, the rise in male fashion consciousness has to do with the emergence of popular style icons as household names. Trends in men’s fashion have often been swayed by cultural figures: from the distinctive clothes of Mick Jagger and David Bowie to the original haircuts of anyone from The Beatles to Kevin Keegan. But with the meteoric success of David Beckham as a well-dressed celebrity in the limelight throughout the 1990s, it became ‘stylish’ to be stylish again – and men seemed to start taking acute care of their clothes, hair and general appearance.

While other famous sportsmen – like Amir Khan and Kevin Pietersen – have been making inroads into the fashion industry, it’s musicians that are leading the new generation of male style icons today. Pete Doherty’s relationship with Kate Moss, each chapter of which has been meticulously catalogued in the press, instantly projected him into the consciousness of style gurus the world over, making him an instant fashion idol of men keen to keep up with up-and-coming clothing trends.

Since then, the dandy-esque ways of a range of men in the public eye have become an inspiration to the fashion-conscious in Britain: from Russell Brand to David Tennant, men’s fashion trends have been immortalised on TV, in film and photography. The result has been that investment in male retail stores has increased considerably, with leading British fashion retailer Topman having recently opened a new flagship store in Cardiff – the store’s biggest premises outside of London.

Moreover, the recent upturn in the men’s fashion stakes has had an equally influential effect on teenagers, as much so as on young professionals and the under-40s. Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe, for example, is often held up as an exemplary model of men’s fashion, while young bands like the Arctic Monkeys, The Klaxons and The View are frequently lauded for their irreverent approach to clothing and hairstyles.

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