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College of Human Ecology

K-State expert says male fashion trends are changing

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

MANHATTAN -- Gone are the days when women spent more time than men getting ready. More and more, men are taking over the bathroom.

The reason? According to a Kansas State University expert, there is a general trend in the apparel industry, as well as in health care and personal care products, that men are now taking better care of themselves.

Men are taking control of their wardrobe and, at the same time, are spending more money on health-related products, said Deborah Meyer, associate professor in apparel, textiles and interior design.

"It's in keeping with men paying more attention to their appearance than in the past," she said.

The media has described this trend as "metrosexual," Meyer said. However, most men would not want that label, she said.

Meyer said there are two reasons men are spending more time and money on themselves -- more men are now purchasing their own clothing and there has been a shift toward a more formal, fashionable wardrobe.

"Women used to buy 70 percent of men's clothing and now there's a trend of more men buying their own clothing," Meyer said.

She predicts this trend will increase for the next several years.

"Men now feel more comfortable being in charge of their own personal appearance and are taking steps by going into stores," Meyer said. "Stores are treating men differently and it's becoming a hot market now targeted by many apparel companies new to men's apparel."

Recently, there has also been a shift toward a more formal and fashionable male business wardrobe.

"Casual Friday" has gradually become a thing of the past, Meyer said. The decreased popularity of such policies has caused an increased interest in more formal work attire.

"Our casual thinking is slowly changing," she said. "There's been a shift in attitude across society, which has been reflected in clothing patterns. We're slowly getting away from casual."

When shopping for their work attire, men's behaviors are different from women's, however. Men tend to purchase an entire outfit at one store, unlike women.

"Women are accomplished shoppers," Meyer said. "They've been doing it for years and men aren't used to that. It's a learned behavior for many men, whereas women might find it a recreation to do shopping.

"It appeals to men to have everything in the same store and see it put together. This shopping approach appeals to men because they're not the seasoned shoppers that many women are."

This article was posted on Wednesday, July 27, 2005, and is filed under Apparel, Textiles, & Interior Design, College News.