THE BLOG

Don't label me

22/01/2015 10:23 GMT | Updated 18/03/2015 09:59 GMT

I don't care about normcore, metrosexuality, spornosexuality, or even lumbersexuality (yes, now even the bearded, flannel shirt-clad hipster that has his own label). The last label to be put past me was 'dad-core' (suppose that's just normcore taken to a whole new level, right?).

I can see how metrosexuality became a thing in the 90s, when women had total control of every inch of the bathroom shelves, and the beauty industry spotted a chance to double their market. However, style definitions and titles are no new thing ...

50 years ago you were either rock (Rolling Stones), or pop (Beatles), in the 80s you were defined by your punk taste (black and mesh) or your love for all things synth pop (neon and glittery), and the 90s brought grunge (cargo) vs. preppy pop (that Jarvis Cocker side-parting, amirite?).

So what's changed?

Well, firstly, style choices used to be closely connected with your pop cultural preferences in other areas of your life: you could actually tell a person's taste in music, books, and even their field of work (blue collar? Tweed jacket?) by the way they dressed.

Not anymore, and I guess we should call this a form of freedom?

We're no longer expected to dress a certain way simply because of whichever other choices we make in life. But this freedom ceases to exist the second we decided that every single style choice has to be connected to a label. I would like to wear my blue Eton shirt without being labelled preppy, because the next day, who knows? I might want to wear my plaid flannel shirt, and don't you dare label me lumbersexual!

Luckily, the seriously excessive sub-categorising that's going on right now (normcore. Please.) might actually be the ultimate and final step. That one drop.

Because when even dressing absolutely normally, adapting and blending in with the crowd of any and every settings you find yourself in has its own name - normcore - that is the day we've gone too far with the labelling, right?

Also, metrosexuality has become so integrated with normality (it's kind of rare to find a man who does not own his share of hair or skin products), meaning there really isn't that much of a need for labels anymore: if everybody does it we don't need to name it, right?

Under all circumstances it's kind of intimidating having to think of yourself as part of a group, just based on the way you dress. Clothes don't mean culture anymore - not necessarily, anyway.

If you are defined within a subculture, it carries connotations about your personality and maybe even your career. But with the disintegration of smart wear in the office, particularly in the creative industries, you can express yourself however you like.

I dress like I do because I like a particular item of clothing, whether it's supposed to evoke a message, or just looks good with my shoes. We should leave categorising behind. If a guy is preppy one day, normcore the next, and crosses all the way over to lumbersexual in Movember, perhaps it's simply time to simply cut the labelling altogether.