The world has never been a perfect place. Everyone has problems, ranging from paying the bills to saving up for a comfortable retirement. Most adults, especially men, are usually intensely focused on being “successful”. For many decades, people have become infatuated with consumer goods and material possessions that add no value other than the prestige of owning them. Ironically, the word “prestige” itself means illusion in its original French roots.
Of course, newer generations are far more aware of truly valuable success coming from being honest and respectful to yourself and others. In 2021, you cannot make fun of someone at school wearing older or well-worn pants compared to your brand-new khaki cargo pants. At least not without someone calling you out in the process. But if you were in the 2010s, or even further back, you’d be shocked at how insensitive and stupid people were. Especially when it came to men’s fashion. Here are some of the views and attitudes from the 00s and 90s on men’s fashion that have aged horribly, and would never fly in today’s world. You’ll start spotting problematic stuff right away:
“Pink Shirts are Unmanly”
In the 2020s, a pink, salmon, or even baby pink shirt on a male is not out of place anywhere, unless of course, it is a funeral. As long as your clothes fit well and are appropriate to the times you live in, the color of what you like is irrelevant. Most men today know and understand it. But for any male who was born in the 80s or 90s, the day your mom made you try out that amazingly comfortable pink shirt you got for Christmas, you knew you were going to have a very long, very bad day. Kids at school in those days had a lot of internalized homophobia, which they would often use to target other kids that did not “conform to the norm”.
In other words, you needed to fit the bill of hetero-manliness, even as a young boy. It is almost sad to imagine how many kids in those days had to endure bullying and toxic male opinions based simply on the color of their shirts. It is even sadder to imagine the impact that must have had on their fashion sense for years to come. The hate for the color pink largely stemmed from homophobia and hypermasculinity, both of which are luckily on the downswing today.
“Tight Jeans are Feminine”
Skinny jeans look amazing on women, everyone knows that. And in the 2020s they are a perfectly valid choice of attire for men as well. Men today are more confident in their bodies and don’t worry as much about choosing clothing that accentuates their body types. Unfortunately, a few short decades ago, a pair of skinny jeans would have made life hell for the budding young male fashionista. Male toxicity usually has deep roots in conformity and the rejection of anything that lies outside the criteria for conforming.
Back in those days, both adult and younger males would shy away from tight-fitting pants because they felt they were somehow feminine. In today’s world, the misogyny in this attitude is very obvious and stupid. For one thing, there is nothing wrong with looking feminine. For another, if you want to wear skinny jeans, you can absolutely do so without worrying about any ugly comments or looks. In fact, a lot of the clothes we see today for males are also equally suited to females, hence unisex clothing proves that fashion is not necessarily gender-static.
“Paying too much Attention to Clothes Is Not Manly”
This sweeping statement from decades past is by far the most problematic fashion attitude among males of the past decades. Imagine being so insecure about your own looks that you have to put down someone who pays more attention to how they dress and present themselves in public and at social gatherings. In fact, this was much worse than putting down. It was all about assimilating other males into homogenous sexism. Anyone who had a vibrant shirt, form-fitting pants, or a flamboyant outfit would suddenly become the butt of all jokes.
In many cases, this brutal attack could harm a person’s confidence and desire to try out new fashion styles. Acceptance is a powerful need, but when it comes at the expense of oppression, sexism, and misogyny, you may be better off being accepted elsewhere. Thankfully, there is no room for these comments or thoughts in our modern inclusive society. This may be the one reason why male fashion has finally started down the right path and men aren’t showing up to social gatherings like they just got done with a shift at the docks.