I caught the tail end of the menswear blogger boom in 2011. It was near the end when you told someone that you had a fashion blog, they chuckled at you. But, we knew we all shared a common connection with people who took the time to register their own domains and document their opinions on style and fashion; it was all about the clothes. No matter what silhouette and style you were into, you knew every little detail about the stitch, cut, fabric, origin of every piece of clothing and what it meant in the larger cultural context in men’s fashion. If you were into Americana, you knew every detail about the history of Red Wing Boots & Barbour jackets, and why they are so critically acclaimed. A menswear blogger took the time to educate himself on the intricacies of tailoring, and all the little details that goes into a well tailored suit. Sneakerheads, back in the day, understood every design detail of every Air Jordan, and the cultural context of what made them so revered and great. There was a genuine dialogue about clothes; real conversations, opinions, and ideas were being exchanged. It was cool to geek out about clothes.
Being seen, liked, and revered for your style has taken precedence over being educated and knowledgeable about your style.
Much has changed since the menswear conversation started to evolve. Year by year, the conversations that all the old head bloggers enjoyed having, are becoming more and more scarce. Looking at the menswear landscape today, it’s starting to become less and less about clothes. Real conversations are being pushed aside, replaced by chic and dapper outfits that are solely worn for retweets on twitter, and likes on instagram. Being seen, liked, and revered for your style has taken precedence over being educated and knowledgeable about your style. The conversation has shifted away from fabrics and cuts and being replaced with content surrounding holiday themed outfits and runway inspired looks.
Men’s fashion has always differed itself from women’s fashion with its history of functionality. Our clothes were made with a purpose first. A typical menswear blog posts in 2015 saw the menswear blogger in front of the camera looking great, but when it comes to supporting the great pictures he took with something substantial, it comes up short. The blogger usually starts off with how infatuated he is with his bomber jacket for the spring season, and promotes the bomber jacket with a gushing review due to the fact that he is paid by a big box retailer to do so.
The clothes we enjoy wearing & sharing must stand for something more than likes and thumbs up emojis from your followers on social media.
When there is no indication that the blogger himself understands that the jacket was first worn by the U.S Air Force during World War II—and popularized during the 70’s by skinheads in England—these posts simply ring hollow. A history lesson is most definitely not a requirement for a blog post, but the clothes we enjoy wearing & sharing must stand for something more than likes and thumbs up emojis from your followers on social media. Without the labels, associations, and historical connections of a sleek well tailored navy two button suit, it would simply be just be a jacket and a pair of pants, and not an indicator of power and masculinity. Menswear writer, Jian DeLeon, put it best, “Clothing simply can’t be compelling unless it stands for something else”.
It’s not the clothing that makes your readers come back; it’s the story you tell with it and the unique lifestyle perspective you put around it that makes that article of clothing uniquely yours.
It’s not like every menswear blogger has gone all look book. There are still more than a handful of bloggers that are sharing quality blog posts and have the ability to express themselves with compelling content. We simply need more bloggers to put more context back into the clothes we are wearing and sharing. It’s not the clothing that makes your readers come back; it’s the story you tell with it and the unique lifestyle perspective you put around it that makes that article of clothing uniquely yours.