Challenging the Stigma: 9 Guys Defend Their Interest in Fashion

When the CFDA announced in early February that it would be launching a New York-based Men’s Fashion Week, the fashion world collectively wondered: What took so long? Steven Kolb, the CEO of the CFDA, explained their reasoning, saying, “American menswear has never been stronger or more creative.” He might be right about that, but stylish men have been around for ages, so it seemed strange that New York fashion was only now catching up.

Men and fashion have always had a complicated relationship—one that’s still often shunned by a large portion of society. Deemed frivolous or inherently feminine, many people are quick to write off guys who exhibit anything more than a middling interest in the clothes they wear. But here at Who What Wear, we love a well-dressed guy and believe that they, too, should be given the freedom to put thought into their wardrobes—sans all the usual stereotyping.

To find out what fashionable men think about all the negativity, and why they like fashion in general, we went straight to the source. Scroll down to read what 9 stylish guys had to say!

Photo:

Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

"I like looking good and feeling good. I put thought into shirts or jeans not because I want approval from others, but literally because it changes my mood and gives me that extra boost of self-confidence. I don't get why guys are so ashamed to admit that. Wanting to look and feel good isn't feminine—it's human." –Tyler, 24

"My sense of fashion is inspired by the people I grew up with and is always evolving, depending on my surroundings. I care about what I wear because it allows me to be creative without having to say anything at all, and my mood is always reflected in my clothes." –Chad, 27

"To be completely honest, we're no cooler than dudes who sit inside all day and play World of Warcraft. Geeking out over $700 Rick Owens sneakers and geeking out over a Level 47 land elf (if that's a thing) is still geeking out. There comes a point where you realise you're not doing it for girls anymore because they probably couldn't care less about your 'sick outfits.' It's really just a way to escape, as all hobbies are, I guess." –James, 24

Photo:

Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

"For me it's pretty simple: when you look good, you feel good, and what you wear is a natural extension of that. If someone were to give me flak for being interested in fashion I’d go Kanye on them real quick. If people assume it says something about my sexuality, well, George Clooney had the best answer for this [amongst rumours he was gay]. He was like, “Why would I deny it?” [That interpretation] is not something to be ashamed of, it’s like being accused of having wavy hair." –Nate, 28

"I think fashion is simply a way to put your best self forward without saying a word—a great outfit contributes to my overall confidence and tells people I took a little time to get my you-know-what together that day." –Marshall, 23

"What I like about fashion is how it works as a constant dialogue. We come into contact with each other's sensibilities via a unique cut of denim, a layering effect, etc. and, consciously or unconsciously, we slowly reinterpret their style into something our own. There is something incredible about being part of that collective development of taste." –Ryan, 24

Photo:

Adam Katz Sinding of Le 21ème

"Fashion is one of the simplest, and often most overlooked, ways to communicate who you are to the world. There's no better way to make it clear you're an uncultured jerk than to make jokes about guys who care about how they look." –Dan, 28

"Yes, fashion is for "wusses," if by "wusses" you mean anyone who isn't an alpha-male-wannabe “no-homo” jerk who hates women and doesn't want to share anything with them. Having pride in the way you dress and how you present yourself to the world can be fun. Even if you are one of those guys who pine for a time when "men were men—real manly men" (which is nonsense, by the way) I guarantee you that many examples of [that form of] manliness are of guys who took an interest in dressing themselves." –Rodrigo, 28

"I care about style because I love design in all its forms. Style is one (relatively simple) way to express and distinguish yourself. Why shouldn't men have that too?" –Jelani, 25

What do YOU think about guys being interested in fashion? Let us know in the comments!