Thursday, February 07, 2008

Skinny dollars, skinny men

OK, here's an issue with gender written all over it, but that's not the part of it I find interesting. The issue is the new, skinny male model, and I confess that this was the first article I read in the paper today.

For a while now, I've noticed that store windows in SoHo and the Village present an aesthetic that looks very much... not American. Outside of Europe, it would be hard to imagine any man dressed in the way these windows suggest. Certainly few American men would go for such a narrow silhouette, such a delicate paisley scarf. Even in New York. The clothes simply do not look like things American men would wear.

With the worthless dollar, this is not a problem, because after all, it's not American men buying these clothes in the first place. There's a clear, economic reason for fashion in New York to be marketed to Europeans, one that Guy Trebay's article doesn't consider. An American designer is quoted as saying, "Clothes now are tighter and tighter. Guys are younger and younger. Everyone is influenced by what Europe shows." But the phenomenon of the new, skinny model, the sort needed to wear European-looking clothes, is presented as some random fluke of fashion.

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