Is the metrosexual finally dead after all these years? The New York Times' Suzy Menkes sure seems to think so. Or, at least sees recent developments in men’s fashion as “…not the return of the peacock male, but the retrenchment of the metrosexual," which is interesting. Menkes seems to be one of the few writers able to describe the surge in popularity of #menswear (LOLZ at the NYT style guide spelling it "mens' wear", shit gets me every time) without resorting to clichéd descriptors of men preening about their finicky obsessions over things like cuff size and pick stitching. Instead, Menkes recognizes the underlying bravado that cuts through modern men’s style and fashion, nodding towards the indelible influence hip-hop and its biggest star has on the culture at large.
But for Menkes, the metrosexual didn’t necessarily die as much as he was reincarnated into a brasher, earthier version of himself. Instead of "manscaping" and eaux des toilettes, guys shave and wear cologne that smells like wood. Metrosexuality was indeed #menswear’s coming out. It was brazen and loud and unapologetic after years of being subsumed by rules. The era of suits and fedoras—of "stylish by instinct" men—actually never really existed. Guys didn’t wear suits and ties with particular leg openings and fedoras because they wanted to. They had to.
Spending money on things like incense and shirts with leather sleeves is neither something to be ashamed of, nor something to be justified.
In the era of workwear and the neo-Neapolitan tailoring that seemed to immediately follow, men almost hid their interest in fashion behind the details and the stories of their garments. For a minute, #menswear was almost swallowed by its minutiae. We weren’t interested in how we looked. We were interested in the garments themselves—the process, rather than its final outcome.
#Menswear defined itself as diametrically opposed to everything the term “metrosexual” stood as shorthand for. But it seems that #menswear, for all its retro obsession, focus on exclusivity, language and pop culture, has regained its enthusiasm. Men are embracing silhouettes and hemlines that wouldn’t have flown in A Queer Eye's loftiest straight guy makeover dreams. Today, there seems to be excitement about clothing for clothing’s sake. Menkes' new menswear seems to have more in common with the dandyism of Brummell and Balzac. Spending money on things like incense and shirts with leather sleeves is neither something to be ashamed of, nor something to be justified. New money motherfucker, check the knot. Brash and unapologetic, that’s #menswear. And that’s how it should be.