Men vs. Women: Clothes and Fashion

Category: Men vs. Women Series

Bras through the ages

Fashion, clothes, jewelry, and all its related accessories and issues are enough of a subject to fill a book, not just a single column in this blog series. But, I will endeavor to condense the incredible volume of material to fewer than 1,000 words. Writing about Men and Women is a lot of fun, especially since I don’t care if I am politically correct. It’s ironic how upside down things have become in my lifetime when simple truths – in this case, related to men and women – are not so simple given various agendas and politics that seem to attach so much contemporary public discourse!

Funny plumber's crack photo

The evolution of the fashion industry is truly fascinating. How and why men and women wear what they wear is fun to know and, at least for this man, enjoyable to observe – at times. Why women wear high heels is completely logical though their practicality is truly beyond ANY logic. High heels make women’s legs, particularly their calves, more attractive. Why women wear bras and how they’ve developed over the years is another fascinating evolution from the corsets of days past to the astonishing array of lingerie available today.

What often amuses me the most on this subject is when men and women attend “formal” events. Men have always had it very easy. A tuxedo – black or white – was our “choice.” Lately, there have been some minor variations related to the bowtie and then – usually at a Hollywood event – when a male celebrity would just break tradition and dress casual.

Fashion Math infographic

But, for the ladies, it has been an ageless and punishing event. In centuries past there were the torture chambers that women were subjected to via the afore-mentioned corsets. They would often require multiple hands to get this medieval device tight enough to meet with the approval of the matron of the house. We’ll not even get into the hair and make-up rituals through the ages, but suffice it to say, none of it has been easy, quick, or simple – – for women.

corset tightening photo - victorian

Then there is perfume. Ahhh, the mystery of perfume throughout history is magical and truly so very human. Originally, perfumes were used by men and women – of upper classes – to simply cover up their body odor. Over time, some bathing and cleanliness rituals reduced the need for the masking of BO. Then, a whole worldwide industry developed and flourished simply around various aromas. Weird.

Fashion runway filled with models

Now it’s time to look at our sex differences regarding fashion in the usual fashion of this blog series, alternating between generalities about men and women. And, it’s that time for my usual disclaimer that all generalities have exceptions, so relax and don’t take any of this too seriously! Though I’ve done a little history review up to this point, my assertions about how men and women look and deal with fashion are going to be totally contemporary.

women's fashion magazines collage

~~ Women love fashion magazines. Any newsstand will have sections devoted to male and female interests. The number of fashion magazines catering to women is significant. Their interest in whatever is new and “in fashion” mostly confounds men, especially when it means buying new things when the existing wardrobe seems perfectly suitable.

~~ Men, on the other hand, have GQ and not much else when it comes to fashion magazines and even GQ is only partially devoted to fashion. The male side of the newsstand will usually contain two sorts of magazines: cars and partially or fully unclad women. We are simple.

Gender differences with money

~~ Women will spend a significant percentage of their income – when single or when “their” man will allow it (assuming he is the money manager in the relationship – not an assumption that holds much these days) – on clothes. The need for designer bags, bling, and whatever is new consumes many women to a degree that baffles men.

~~ Men will wear the same clothes over and over again. In fact, we want to wear the same clothes over and over again. In my case, I have a small collection of Aloha (aka Hawaiian) short-sleeve shirts. With shorts in the summer and jeans when it’s cold, I’m fully satisfied with my wardrobe and could care less about updating it. My wife, on the other hand, has threatened to dump my priceless shirt collection and is invariably buying me new clothes. When I get dressed and wear the “same ol, same ol” she looks at me with exasperation as to why I didn’t choose this or that new item of clothing she’d recently bought for me.

extravagant shoe closet

~~ Women and shoes; ‘nuff said. It’s ridiculous.

~~ Men and shoes; okay we like sneakers. And, I like flip-flops though wearing them drives my wife crazy because of what she thinks are my ugly toes (so what if they’re a bit messed up from all my crazy ski stunts).

jewelry bracelet photo

~~ Women do love their jewelry and their handbags. Why women will buy handbags with company logos all over them is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. In my opinion, if I’m going to carry a bag with a company’s name emblazoned all over it, I expect to get paid!

~~ Men used to love watches. Sadly, they are largely being replaced – especially among younger men – with getting the time from a cell-phone. I always loved watches and coveted the beautiful gold watch my dad had, which I inherited when he died. It remains in a safety deposit box the vast majority of the time. So does the one “nice” watch that my wife bought me when we were at “her” jeweler for the umpteenth time and I happened to admire it.

Bad panty-line photo

It’s clear that this subject has only been superficially “covered.” Care to add your fashion story or observation?

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Book Cover from The Empty Nest