Start talking about male fashion icons and names from David Gandy and David Beckham to Cary Grant often pop up in conversation. Pick up a male magazine and see how they tell you about the elegance of celebrities in their suits, a 10 page spread parading black and navy tailoring similarly to Nuts magazine parading women in lingerie. Head a bit more mainstream and you might read someone gushing about the 'edginess' of Nick Grimshaw and suggesting items from Topman. Pick up a lifestyle magazine and see how abstract shapes work with street wear creating a subtlety in 'cool' dressing, a modern alternative to to the bore of your parents.
To me, male fashion , in terms of consumer choice, seems to be a lot simpler than female fashion. With such an elaborate history in pioneering 'new' forms of dress, I feel men today are completely let down. Of course it is okay to like the classics, or to be the practical dad who wouldn't know style even if it came in a Haynes manual but generally male style seems to be well, very mechanical. Spectacular subculture has been a mans' game over the last 50 years, giving us statement styles and innovations that the fashion industry has appropriated to give them now classic style status. Women over the last century have adopted every form of male dress and made it their own whilst men seem far too scared to identify with anything too effeminate. Of course there are some fabulous men out there, but will the hegemonic male ever be dandy again? Is it true to assume, like the carry on generation before us, that a man who dresses that little bit, different, is gay?
Where are the Kens that I dressed as a child? Countless women can identify themselves with Barbie. But who lists Ken as an idol? He was the ultimate dandy with a wardrobe the village people could only ever dream of. He has the woman of his dreams and the six pack to match. Yet Barbie, in her big and beautiful white wedding dress, would take one look at his pink plastic suit and run off with action man.