THE BLOG

It's Harder Being a Man, Right?

28/11/2014 14:55 GMT | Updated 23/03/2015 13:59 GMT

It is fairly obvious when you look around that freedom of style is no longer exclusively for women. In fact men haven't had as much freedom to dress since Louis XII and men's style evolves and develops in an unparalleled way almost from day to day.

We are part of a generation where there is so much coverage of men's fashion, and regular guys are breaking the mold and social stigma as they become more concerned with looking groomed and fashionable. If you're like me, however, you might find yourself trying to define your style one way or another, but despite the efforts to mix and match, you still remain safely in your comfort zone.

And this is why I believe women have it easier than men when it comes down to fashion.

I envy the freedom of their wardrobe and how many different looks they can pull off. Stores are catering to men who want to experiment with different styles and brands, but men seem more likely to stick to what they know rather than overtly expressing themselves.

Although the fashion stakes are higher for women, to break into the fashion pack as a woman, you really need to break boundaries. However, when it comes to using fashion to express ourselves, successful women can use it as power, they can use style to portray intelligence and even a sense of fun, but even in my trendiest shirt and shoes I don't feel that anyone would look at me twice.

Men are supposed to take 10 seconds to get ready. Why? Because everything goes together: shirts, jumpers and skinny jeans or chinos - et voila: the professional Scandinavian late-twenties hipster reincarnated.

But, I would like more time to get ready in the morning and to spend more time on my look, yet I know that taking ages to get ready when you're a man is not socially acceptable. If my colleagues at Fitbay caught wind that I change more than once before leaving, I'd be a laughing stock.

Similarly, fake-tan, waxed bodies, whitened teeth - the embodiment of extreme metrosexual/spornosexual - is seen as a sign of insecurity, whereas for women self-grooming is seen as the status quo (which of course, is problematic on its own terms).

Are men caught between a rock and a hard place?

If they groom too much they are ridiculed, if they don't groom at all, they're labeled ineligible cavemen ... Women are bombarded with heavily unrealistic beauty standards, but whilst basic grooming for men is no longer seen as optional, it is not considered masculine to discuss these habits.

Men have to appear semi-ironed without looking as though it required too much effort (thanks Becks!). Men are beginning to break away from brand loyalty, and achieving looks set up by celebrities, thanks to socially acceptable male accessories and media norms.

As a man who would consider himself vaguely stylish - i.e. not a walking disaster - with a twist of high street (meaning I have stepped inside both H&M and Forever 21), I do relish the fact that I can get away with more than women can on my "off days". Maybe not being able to talk in detail about grooming without being laughed at is a small price to pay for not being objectified in quite the same way as women.

Style has been an interest for men as long as it has for women, ultimately, fashion comes down to expressing yourself in new styles (I for one am looking forward to a few great deals on Black Friday!) and taking an interest in what you put on in the morning, so guys ... go for it.