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Fashion & Shopping Blackmarkers. A Filtered Selection of Clothing, Footwear and Accessories.
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Old 01-19-2009, 08:58 PM   #1
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Economy & New Trend Changes Purchasing Behavior in Men

This article is a bit old, but a good read nonetheless and still applies to the upcoming fashion trends of 2009/2010.

LA Times - Business Section
August 14, 2008 in print edition C-4
By Anne D'Innocenzio

Quote:
Men big on slim-fitting design trend

Steve Hale has discovered a reason to splurge on clothing again: the slim silhouette in suits to shirts that’s replacing the baggier fits of past years. But his wife, Cathy, has slashed her monthly apparel spending, saying she’s “bored” by what’s out there.

In tough economic times, men are traditionally the first to cut back – but the Hales represent a new phenomenon in retailing: Over the last year, men have been on a clothes-buying spree, while women have pulled back even more.

“I did feel for a long period that there wasn’t anything new to buy,” said Steve Hale, a 37-year-old financial consultant who had stuck with the business casual uniform of khakis and dress shirts since the late 1990s. “But I really like the slim fit. It’s not so roomy, not so bulky, and it’s a lot cleaner.”

The lopsided fortunes – solid sales gains in menswear and a deepening funk in the far larger women’s clothing business – is creating a rare sales disparity that hasn’t been seen in years, said David Wolfe, creative director of Doneger Group, a fashion industry trend and business consulting firm.

Fashion observers say the main catalyst fueling menswear buying is the slimmed-down styles shown on the runways a few years ago by designer Thom Browne that have recently garnered mass appeal. The look is being popularized by AMC’s award-winning series “Mad Men” about ad executives in the 1960s.

Over the last year, the fashions, including body-conscious suits and leaner khakis, have been heavily promoted by stores such as conservative haberdashery Brooks Bros. as well as department stores including Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s.

Executives from those stores said menswear sales began outpacing women’s clothing last year. They wouldn’t give exact figures for competitive reasons. But the disparity has been widening, said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for research company NPD Group Inc. According to NPD’s most recent data, menswear sales rose 0.8% in the fiscal year ended in May, while women’s clothing sales fell 3.5%. In the three months ended in May, women’s clothing sales dropped 3%, while menswear sales rose 2.3%.

With women’s fashions accounting for 65% of the $155-billion adult apparel market, the rising fortunes of menswear – accounting for just half the size of women’s clothing – hasn’t significantly helped lift overall sales. For the fiscal year ended in May, adult clothing sales fell 2%.

Still, fashion pundits such as Wolfe hail the trend as the biggest change in men’s fashion in more than a decade, since the relaxation in business dress codes enticed men to fill up their wardrobes with everything khaki. Major menswear brands including VF Corp.’s Nautica and Levi Strauss & Co.’s Dockers have reworked their fits. Pants, for example, have less material in the seat and thigh and have no pleats; suit jackets have narrower and shorter sleeves.

“You can throw out all the rules,” Cohen said. Even in tough economic times, “this is a trend that you have to buy, otherwise you look outdated.”

“Suddenly, a pair of cargo pants and a polo shirt doesn’t look good anymore,” said Wolfe, who sees the change being embraced by men in their 20s to men over 50 who don’t want to look past their prime.

“Women’s wear has painted themselves in a corner,” he said. “By offering too many options and with everything a trend, it is very easy not to buy anything.”

Designers of women’s clothing may have seen the trend in the men’s market and taken inspiration for a slim, sophisticated ’60s shape for fall – Michael Kors and Peter Som have cited “Mad Men” as inspiration for their women’s offerings.

The sluggish economy is playing a role too. Higher gasoline and food costs and fiscal uncertainties have clearly made men and women cut back on in-today, out-tomorrow trends such as wild printed tops.

But the threat of layoffs has also forced many employees to dress more formally as a way to hold on to their jobs and look more serious, Cohen said. Women can go back to their closets to find dressier and classic alternatives, but men now have a reason to buy.

“I am dressing up a bit more,” said Hale, the financial consultant. “If you are keeping up with fashion, people notice and it gives them more confidence” that the financial industry is going to turn around. He said he now spends about $500 a month on clothes, more than double what he spent previously.

Jonathan Singer, 26, who works in high-tech marketing, credits his new wardrobe with helping him land a better-paying job. The Boston resident spent about $2,000 over the last six months on a slimmer-fit suit from Benetton as well as slender shirts from Diesel and French Connection.

“It always pays to look good,” he said. “I had looked in the mirror and never was impressed. I looked like a little kid who was waiting to grow into his clothes.”

Now, he says, “I feel extremely confident in the way I look. Everyone has noticed.”

Men’s interest in updating their wardrobes is forcing merchants to rethink how to market to them. They’re seeing a growing number of men shopping for themselves, instead of relying on their wives and girlfriends to buy for them.

Bloomingdale’s is rolling out separate areas in the men’s department that incorporate tailored clothing with other items such as ice buckets and high-end shaving tools. Macy’s has adding more exclusive lines such as tight-fitting Emporio Armani underwear.

And what about those men who aren’t, well, slim? Retail executives say the new cuts aren’t just for the skinny.

“It still fits guys who eat meatballs,” said Stuart Goldblatt, Macy’s senior vice president of merchandising for men’s and children’s clothes.
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Old 01-19-2009, 09:35 PM   #2
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Yeah, I don't think the fat obese americans are going to be fitting into anything "slim-fit." It's mostly a French trend.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:10 PM   #3
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They must be talking about those trendy places like LA or New York. With those super size meals, I doubt many can fit into those "slim" suites. And how many really spend $500 a month on new clothes for work! It's business casual in most places except some downtown firms.
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Old 01-19-2009, 11:31 PM   #4
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slim has been in since hedi started designing for ysl way back in 97
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:24 AM   #5
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Oh I thought slim-fit was a style of cut, like a tapered look that usually meant 1-2" of fabric allowance as opposed to say the American Sack suit which is a straight down cut and is usually a lot roomier and relaxed.

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They must be talking about those trendy places like LA or New York. With those super size meals, I doubt many can fit into those "slim" suites. And how many really spend $500 a month on new clothes for work! It's business casual in most places except some downtown firms.
You're right, Vancouver doesn't really do fashion trends. It'll always be jeans and a t-shirt or whatever they have on sale at Boysco or Zellers
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:58 AM   #6
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It's true for me, I've spent a lot more on updating my wardrobe with more staple pieces
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^ Yes it's sad when you stare at the shape of my penis through my overly skin tight jeans and not help but feel like a shameful little boy compared to me.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:03 AM   #7
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slim fit comes and goes.. its in right now but who knows for how long.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:15 AM   #8
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^ Yes it's sad when you stare at the shape of my penis through my overly skin tight jeans and not help but feel like a shameful little boy compared to me.
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:56 PM   #9
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^I ain't going back to wearing tents for shirts
Werd - as long as I don't develop a gut, I will never go back to wearing 'classic' fitting shirts.

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And how many really spend $500 a month on new clothes for work! It's business casual in most places except some downtown firms.
I work for a government office where there is no dress code. However, a casual work environment shouldn't give one a license to look like a slob. If you want to wear jeans, fine, but it wouldn't hurt to buy a few shirts and sweaters to look somewhat professional. Besides, who spends $500/month? You can build your wardrobe over time starting with shirts and sweaters.

I see clothes as an investment - more so than a car, video games, etc. If you're a professional and spend 30-40% of your life at work, you should dedicate a reasonable amount in your appearance since it may affect your career prospects, etc. Besides, if you buy smartly, you could easily wear the same clothes at work and at play.

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Old 01-20-2009, 03:21 PM   #10
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it's very true, men are always with shirts, jeans, or work clothes and pants and black shoes.
we have fixed amount of clothing in the closet. the most we buy is a tshirt from time to time.

however for women, you girls buy so much shit. tons of shit. there's never a month where you will not buy stuff. the options are endless, the pairing are endless, the style to match with diff accessories are unlimited, that's why u can always invent more stuff with a simple scarf matched with a diff necklace and call it a new woredrobe.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:58 PM   #11
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it's very true, men are always with shirts, jeans, or work clothes and pants and black shoes.
we have fixed amount of clothing in the closet. the most we buy is a tshirt from time to time.

however for women, you girls buy so much shit. tons of shit. there's never a month where you will not buy stuff. the options are endless, the pairing are endless, the style to match with diff accessories are unlimited, that's why u can always invent more stuff with a simple scarf matched with a diff necklace and call it a new woredrobe.
Okay it's true, we have a lot more to work with. But I mean we're not asking for much. Nice fitted pants and a shirt, hygienically groomed and trimmed, a hint of cologne/aftershave/deodorant is suddenly alluring and hot. Invest in some nice shoes, watch and jacket/blazer...Voila and you look sophisticated. And men have accessories (scarves, cufflinks, socks, ties, hankerchiefs, hats, waistcoats etc). I think it's the whole idea of taking a little more than 5 minutes and look a bit put together?
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:07 AM   #12
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^^the last time we met, girl raped my overcoat!
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:37 PM   #13
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I think there are tons of things guys can buy to diversify their wardrobe. Even depending on the season or type of event, there are almost limitless choices out there.

When I was going to university I pretty much solely wore jeans and t-shirts/hoodies and runners.

Ever since I started working a full time job about a year ago I have really started to put my wardrobe together. I have one closet full of jeans, t-shirts, shorts and casual wear. Then another closet with dress pants, slacks, khakis, dress shirts, casual clubbing style shirts, different colored belts, multiple scarves, etc. Some more more fancy than others depending where I will be going.

I don't try to buy into items that will only be popular for one season and then I could never wear again. Lot's of staple items that are timeless, look clean, sophisticated etc.
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Old 01-21-2009, 03:54 PM   #14
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Okay it's true, we have a lot more to work with. But I mean we're not asking for much. Nice fitted pants and a shirt, hygienically groomed and trimmed, a hint of cologne/aftershave/deodorant is suddenly alluring and hot. Invest in some nice shoes, watch and jacket/blazer...Voila and you look sophisticated. And men have accessories (scarves, cufflinks, socks, ties, hankerchiefs, hats, waistcoats etc). I think it's the whole idea of taking a little more than 5 minutes and look a bit put together?
i know girls's aren't asking much, but some how, there are 10 types of fitted pants (calf fitted, vs butt fitted), 20 types of grommed and trimmed, 40 types of perfumes, and dont' even get started the amount of scrafs, necklaces, hair ties. no wonder Aldo has their own separate accessories.

men, you're right. but for shoes (9/10 guys), 1 pair of black, 1 pair of brown, 1 pair of white and two pairs of runners. cuff links.. maybe 1-3 MAX. tie is another story but it's maybe 10-15 ties. JT hats and hankerchiefs are for the maybe a few baseball hats / toque.
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Old 01-21-2009, 09:42 PM   #15
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i know girls's aren't asking much, but some how, there are 10 types of fitted pants (calf fitted, vs butt fitted), 20 types of grommed and trimmed, 40 types of perfumes, and dont' even get started the amount of scrafs, necklaces, hair ties. no wonder Aldo has their own separate accessories.

men, you're right. but for shoes (9/10 guys), 1 pair of black, 1 pair of brown, 1 pair of white and two pairs of runners. cuff links.. maybe 1-3 MAX. tie is another story but it's maybe 10-15 ties. JT hats and hankerchiefs are for the maybe a few baseball hats / toque.
There is no comparison to our options to mens'. Without it most women would be less Jesssica Alba and more Amy Whinehouse.

You forgot, 1 pair of slip-ons, 2 pairs of sandals, 1 pairs of boots (brown and black and than shoes for your preppy days like boat shoes with funky socks, and your sweater vest

And side note: you guys have lots of different styles for pants, actually it's almost the same, slim-fit, skinny, classic, boot-cut, etc ooh and the latest thing to hit runways apparently are cropped pants for men....I wonder if it'll ever catch on here....

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^^the last time we met, girl raped my overcoat!
Rape is such a harsh word don't you think? Indecently violated and manhandled maybe... I admit, it was very nice. You have impeccable taste and I'm not sorry for my wandering hands that groped every inch of the inside of your jacket. But what else was I suppose to do while you were trying on your $2K shoes?
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Old 01-21-2009, 11:48 PM   #16
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JT hats and hankerchiefs are for the maybe a few baseball hats / toque.
Don't hate the pocket square - it's an easy way to dress up a jacket. Baseball hats are for sports (or when you're trying to achieve the sporty look when you're running errands), that's it. Invest in a real hat like a fedora.
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Old 01-22-2009, 03:59 PM   #17
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Don't hate the pocket square - it's an easy way to dress up a jacket. Baseball hats are for sports (or when you're trying to achieve the sporty look when you're running errands), that's it. Invest in a real hat like a fedora.
Only people that can really pull of the fedora should wear them IMO
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Old 01-22-2009, 07:07 PM   #18
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Old 01-23-2009, 08:43 AM   #19
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Only people that can really pull of the fedora should wear them IMO
Yeah, that is true. I guess I'm just one of the lucky Asian guys that can actually pull off a fedora.
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Old 01-23-2009, 03:48 PM   #20
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