Who Wears the Pants?

The subject of men’s fashion has been a hot topic on many social media platforms recently. Between Harry Styles wearing a dress on the December 2020 Vogue cover and Pete Davidson styling a skirt at the 2021 Met Gala, feminine style worn on men is becoming a mainstream movement.

“I think we’ve evolved into a more unisex style of dressing. By virtue of becoming more casual, we have become more unisex in our dressing,” said Dr. Dave Loranger, fashion merchandising and marketing professor at Sacred Heart University. “I think culture has become more tolerant with people experimenting with their style and that is moving the needle overall.”

However, not everyone is happy about such change. Some argue against the fluidity of men’s style and would rather society stick to more strict gender stereotypes.

Loranger argues that this obsession with basic clothing for men is culturally based.

“I think it’s very cultural. If I walk around in a kilt in Scotland, it’s very different than wearing it in New York. It’s very embedded in American culture to wear garments like pants for men,” said Loranger.

Harry Styles, popular musician and actor, has been making strides for men’s beauty, as well as men’s fashion. Styles recently unveiled his own beauty brand, Pleasing. With all of the products marketed as gender neutral, Styles seems to be working towards eliminating gender norms in the beauty industry.

There are many students and staff at Sacred Heart who are supportive of this new wave of men’s style, casting their appreciation towards mainstream celebrities like Styles who are pushing the trend into the eyes of the public.

“I think it’s a great step towards making it normalized in society. I definitely think Harry Styles has been a leader for the movement,” said junior Greta Pryce.

“I don’t think it’s a new thing to inject women’s wear into men’s wear. David Bowie was doing it, I think it’s a new interpretation though,” said Loranger. “I wonder if it’s more of an attention thing for other celebrities. If it’s in earnest they’re trying to make a statement about what’s considered masculine or feminine, at the minimum it’s a fad for press.”

Some argue that this isn’t so much a new way of dressing, as much as it is a trend.

“I don’t think it’s going to change men’s fashion as a whole. I don’t think the casual individual will be as influenced by their statement as someone who is devout to fashion,” said junior Mark Smith. “I want to see it progress, and I hope that there’s more variety that becomes accepted and leaves room for more individuals to experiment.”

Whether a more feminine style of dressing is the new normal or just a fad, there has definitely been a shift in the fashion industry regarding what kinds of clothing are suited for men and women. An increasing number of brands are emerging with fresh new ideas on how fashion is moving towards all-encompassing clothing.

“I think we’ve evolved into a more unisex style of dressing,” said Loranger. “By virtue of becoming more casual, we have become more unisex in our dressing.”

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