Every time I go shopping I find myself venturing into the men’s section, to the point where I’m not sure why I don’t just start there. I tend to wear casual streetwear or elevated basics most of the time and the guy’s section is perfect for that I find most of my hoodies, tees, and crewneck sweaters there. The best part is that as long as I style them right, no one ever knows. Here are 4 reasons to dive into the men’s section next time you go shopping:
Have you ever gotten excited about an item and picked it up off the rack only to find a weirdly placed bow in the back or some random lace detailing? I feel like a lot of women’s clothing has unnecessary (dare I say ugly) details and could be cute with just a little bit more editing. The men’s section, on the other hand, is a minimalist’s dream. The simplistic styles of men’s clothes mean that the items can be worn with pretty much anything. I recently bought one of my favorite sweaters in the men’s section. After searching the women’s section for a plain black crewneck sweater – just a simple black sweater – I came up empty. I made my way over to the guy’s section and almost immediately found what I was looking for. The lesson here is: don’t give up until you’ve searched the WHOLE store.
Comfort and Confidence
One of the other reasons I like to wear men’s clothing is because I feel more confident in it a lot of the time. I have a more athletic build that I don’t think works as well with bodycon styles or tight feminine clothing. I’ve always felt like slightly oversized clothing and more effortless silhouettes look better on me. I feel a lot more comfortable wearing a boxy tee I found in the men’s section than I do wearing a “cute” blouse from the women’s section. I think that’s super important. Find what works for your body type and explore your personal style within that range of items. For me, that just happens to be looser fitting clothes from the men’s section. Not to mention these clothes are almost always more comfortable than whatever can be found in the women’s section (fuck the patriarchy). I know comfortable and fashionable are usually mutually exclusive, but let’s just call this an exception. You’re welcome.
Durability and Sustainability
As I mentioned earlier, men’s clothes tend to be a bit simpler and more minimalistic than women’s clothing. This means the styles aren’t as sensitive to the constantly changing trends of the fashion world. A longer product lifecycle means that your purchase won’t go out of style as quickly. As a result, menswear brands are less likely to be fast fashion than womenswear brands. The silhouettes and styles are generally something that can be worn for a long time and I find that men’s clothing is often made better. Sweaters that I’ve found in the men’s section seem to be thicker, more durable, and warmer than anything I find in the women’s section. In other words, they look like they can survive more than 5 washes (what a concept). Because men’s fashion is less susceptible to shifting trends and more long lasting, it is inherently more sustainable. So if my other points haven’t convinced you yet, do it for the polar bears.
This is one of the biggest reasons I would encourage you to check the men’s section next time you go shopping. I could’ve led with this one, but I didn’t want to depress you up front. Pretty much if you’ve ever heard of the “pink tax” – the idea that the women’s version of a product costs more than the men’s version… yeah well, that applies to clothes too. A study released in December 2015 by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs compared the male and female versions of nearly 800 products on sale in the city — including jeans, shampoo and children’s toys. They found that, on average, the female items cost 7 percent more. Women paid an average of 8 percent more than men for similar items of clothing (Business of Fashion). In a separate study, the Business of Fashion looked at pricing discrepancies in luxury brands. They found that Saint Laurent, Valentino, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Balmain all sell identical items for different prices depending on gender. For example, a Saint Laurent striped sweater sells for $240 less in the men’s section than the women’s section (Business of Fashion).
Some brands attribute this price difference to the fact that women’s garments require more workmanship than men’s, while others say that this price increase is due to brands’ desire to offset risks and hidden costs associated with selling to women. Stores need to buy more sizes and colors for women, which increases the cost to the store, and thus raises the prices for the consumer. Women’s manufactured goods are also subject to higher tariff rates in the US and EU (the literal “pink tax”), which may cause retailers to charge more. Brands could be taking advantage of the fact that women shop more and are willing to pay more for fashion than men. Men tend to have a more utilitarian and practical approach to buying clothes, while women display more hedonistic shopping behaviors, in other words, they shop for fun.
There are some exceptions to this price increase for women’s products. Marketers play pricing and availability games with men in the sneaker market, a market that men are known to have an emotional connection to. Also, some brands like Alexander Wang, actually display the opposite pricing structure. When comparing similar items, the men’s garment is actually more expensive than the equivalent women’s garment. This difference is because the amount of fabric required to make the men’s garment is greater.
Hopefully those points inspire you to shop in the men’s section next time you need some retail therapy. If nothing else, I hope this helps you keep an open mind next time you go shopping. What you’re looking for may just be on the other side of the store!