A custom clothier sent me this article from The New Yorker, which argues that "menswear" as a fashion trend went mainstream around five years ago. The piece is full of ideas and information, including the fun fact that the actor Antonio Banderas is taking menswear design classes at Central Saint Martins (He wants to reintroduce the cape.). Here are a couple of excerpts:
"These days, although ordinary men still dress in ordinary ways, “menswear”—the Internet-centric, metropolitan, yuppie style—keeps getting riskier. Hardcore menswear enthusiasts have found themselves dressing in costume-like clothes; although they look great in their tweedy sport coats and pocket squares, asymmetrical hoodies and slim-cut jogging pants, and military jackets layered over other, lighter military jackets, they also look like they’re in town for a menswear-themed Comic-Con."
"Looking back, it’s obvious that menswear wasn’t just about fashion. In his new book, “True Style,” the fashion writer G. Bruce Boyer, who has an encyclopedic knowledge of the history of men’s clothing, puts today’s menswear culture in historical perspective. The modern male uniform, Boyer writes, has its roots in the “Great Renunciation” of the nineteenth century, when men “gave up silks and satins, embroidered coats and powdered wigs and silver-buckled shoes in favor of woolen suits simply cut and soberly colored.” That movement “away from gorgeousness and toward simplicity” was political: men were adopting a uniform with “ties to liberal democracy.” (Boyer quotes the fashion historian David Kuchta, who writes that modern men seek to communicate “masculine conceptions of industry and frugality” with their clothes.) Women, the thinking goes, have renounced gorgeousness to a lesser degree, because they can still wear beautiful, aristocratic fabrics, like velvet, without apology; men, by contrast, have been forced to “suppress [their] poetic souls and hide [their] light under a bushel of dreary worsted.”