In the past decade or so, the term “metrosexual” has been used for straight men who cared about their appearance. I remember going to college with several “metros” who had a taste for designer denim and wool blazers. These men weren’t gay, but because they fixed their hair and wore stylish clothes, their sexual orientation was considered a bit suspect. Straight men didn’t and shouldn’t care about such things!
Thankfully, that’s no longer the case. Blogs, streaming fashion shows, and fast fashion chains have all ushered in a new era of fashion accessibility. Nowhere is that more evident than in menswear. And that accessibility has translated into acceptance. It’s now cool to know the difference between DB and SB, bespoke and made-to-measure, and super 120s and 150s. It’s no longer necessary for men to protect their masculine reputations by neglecting their appearance. Rappers, athletes, and CEOs can all be spotted at fashion shows airing their opinions on Hedi Slimane’s first collection for Saint Laurent alongside their wives and girlfriends.
Designer fashion is no longer just for gay men and Europeans. Welcome to the age of sartorial enlightenment, in which the average male has shed schlumpiness for style… a survey of the landscape suggests we may have entered an age of sartorial advancement. At the very least, there has been a course correction. A generation raised on the insult-to-the-eyes that was casual Fridays has suddenly discovered a novel new uniform: the suit.
The metrosexual is all grown up. Or rather, the rest of the world has grown up with him. There’s no longer a need to coin a term for men interested in fashion and style; they’re simply men. Having an interest in fashion is not effeminate and never has been, but now our culture has embraced a more holistic view of men’s interests and what it means to be a man.
And why does this matter? We should be grateful anytime silly or damaging stereotypes are broken down. Not all gay men are designer-loving divas born with an innate sense of style. Not all straight men dress badly and are uncaring about their appearance. And when straight men show an interest in fashion and other sectors traditionally considered off limits to them, it means homophobic attitudes and macho stereotypes begin to look quaint and ignorant.