The ‘men’ in menswear are more fluid than ever

Men’s clothing is becoming more versatile. That doesn’t strictly mean garments meant to cover the workday and drinks on the weekend. It is also clothing that suits more elaborate notions of gender and masculinity.

That flexibility was on display at New York Men’s Day, which took place Friday during New York Fashion Week. Despite the event’s name, the collections of the 10 emerging designers presented included both genderless clothing and clothing that both played with and embraced traditional menswear.

At A.Potts, there were items such as long, draping tops and dresses that could be worn by anyone.

Terry Singh combined cropped tuxedo jackets and military jackets with pleated, ankle-grazing wraps. The covers could fit up to five sizes, according to Singh, and were fastened with hooks instead of buttons.

“I don’t believe in buttons. We don’t need to be restricted anymore,” Singh said.

Designer Terry Singh wears a black t-shirt and black shawl with white polka dots while smiling for his models.

Nobis, a luxury outerwear maker that sponsored the event, offered items that design director Michael Kerr said were intended to work for customers who might need protection from the cold and rain while cycling to the office. That customer, who may or may not identify as male, could choose from more typical parkas and puffer jackets, along with pieces such as a wrap jacket with a belt at the waist.

“The idea is to design the best product, think about the differences in body types, and design it so that it’s fluid,” explains Kerr. “We like to say ‘genderless’.”

The movement of menswear into a more gender-fluid realm is far from new at this stage. But where it once focused on a handful of men’s blouses on the Gucci runway and unisex merchandising at a few retailers, it’s now much more mainstream. Today it hardly seems controversial when Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt or Timothee Chalamet take to the red carpet in a skirt or a backless top.

The trend is contributing to the rising sales in the menswear market.

In terms of style, the clothes on New York Men’s Day covered a wide range. Named after designer Desyree Nicole’s brother, Todd Patrick modernized mid-century American sportswear. Fried Rice offered a wardrobe more suited to a rave, including baggy cargo pants with dangling straps.

There were plenty of menswear items in the collections, such as designer Teddy Vonranson’s car jackets, camping shirts and tailored jackets in desert hues like stone and clay. Bomber jackets and cargo pants showed up at several presentations. (The cargo pants have plenty of life left, if New York Men’s Day was any indication.)

But several designers seemed to be looking for a new way forward, for ideas about masculinity and menswear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.