Buying a good broken-in plaid shirt in vintage stores is clearly out these days since bedbugs are terrifyingly EVERYWHERE and the risk is worth no clothing item. So bold men in the market for a reasonably priced piece of the trend that just won’t die will consider just going to L.L. Bean, where they can grab a manly snow-scene sweater while they’re at it. The Wall Street Journal believes the L.L. Bean look informed the fall 2010 men’s runways, replete with plaids, worn-in loose-fitting pants, work boots, functional coats, and all other things manly — or as manly as they can look in a fashion show.
“When the economy fell apart, the Euro look of skinny black men’s suits” did, too, said designer Michael Bastian, whose own line of rugged sportswear is heavy on shearling and gray flannel. It was only a matter of time before the pendulum swung toward a rough-and-tumble look that was unabashedly manly.
Lots of manly fashion brands, like Pendleton and Stetson — known as “heritage brands” in the fashion world — are doing designer collaborations these days. Cowboy-hat maker Stetson, for example, is partnering with high-end hat man Albertus Swanepoel on a fall collection; clothing company Barbour is collaborating with edgy Japanese label Tokihito Yoshida; and Pendelton has already collaborated with Opening Ceremony. So why the manliness in fashion? Why now?
“I’ve heard some people saying that the heritage revival is the death of luxury,” said Mr. Bastian, the fashion designer. “But guys are just shopping differently.”
Men are naturally fashion risk-averse anyway, so give them a trend that is unquestionably not fruity and they will pounce on it. Besides, isn’t this what women want, too? A guy with whom they can run off into the sunset fully knowing that whatever mountaintop they wind up at, their man will be able to chop down the wood to build a cabin? Unless this signals the opposite, since all the clothes in question here are not L.L. Bean but designer, therefore more tricked-out than standard L.L. Bean fare, and suggest that women want a man who dresses like a man, but will, at the final stop on their sunset frolic, rent them a room in nice lodge with dry-cleaning service. Eff the recession, as they say.