For issue 09 of our print, D’SCENE Magazine’s Contributing Writer QUADE AU explores how men gradually fall in love with accessories, but also why’s it easy to sell the same to men, and defines the accessorising term.
As men, we have for a long time been afraid to stray outside the standard expectations of appearances. We have continually told our female counterparts that we do not really care about what we look like and have even convinced ourselves that having a decent closet will somehow damage our masculinity. But as we carefully sculpt our hair into the perfect quiff each morning and wash our cars every other weekend – there is, and always has been an innate desire to be handsomely acknowledged. Yet when it comes to clothes – most men shy away from dressing unconventionally and simply stick to what they know or rather to what everyone else wears.
Men whom have aged into their early thirties tend to quickly evolve their individual style into a uniform that predominantly consist of button down shirts and shaded pants. It is the standstill moment for modern men who unknowingly find themselves in an age where they are too young for loafers and too old for skinny jeans – it is the time when well dressed folk begin to indulge in the extra luxuries of life, accessories.
One good pair of leather shoes could last a lifetime and be worn over and over again but the novelty of a man’s accessories is continually rotating into the new. We own different watches for different occasions and even invest in a variety of cufflinks to distinguish the class appeal of our black and white suits from everyone else.
The wardrobe of a well dressed man can typically be versatile and other than size issues men could very well easily share one closet of staples for their everyday and not be too distressed. Yet despite menswear staying relatively consistent throughout the years, styling to the credit of accessories tends to change with each new season. There was once a time where ombre sunglasses were the vogue of dapper men and in an instance soon after vintage grandfather shades took the front page of attention.
Accessories sell well to men – we no longer purchase a belt for the sole sake of holding up our pants anymore – nowadays we carefully inspect the colour, strap and price tag as if it were jewellery. The infamous Off-white yellow belt that is currently trending at the moment serves the same purpose as any faux leather equivalent found in a commercial department store but the guilty pleasure of owning such an accessory does many things to a man’s humble ego. We believe that by owning a trending belt or by buying a new skinny tie it not only completes an outfit but also ignites some sort of vitality in our stable wardrobes, almost as if these little commodities fashionably make us more noticeable.
Similar to the term colour blocking, accessorising had long been something men morally avoided for their robust image- and even though accessories still have a feminine undertone they are now the pieces of wear that men will seemingly always appreciate. There was a point in time where watches and wallets were the only acceptable accessory men would admit buying too- where a naked wrist represented lacking power and a withered wallet showed low finances. Yet now as society progresses into an age of gender fluidity- men are unashamed in wearing accessories. If the man sitting next to you in a restaurant was wearing leather bracelets and a sculpted ring with a messenger bag at his feet- you would probably not look twice, but perhaps ten years ago the stigmas attached to such things would shamefully accuse a man of many things.
Accessories no longer necessarily represents one’s manliness or worth but now simply act as the final appeal of a man’s look. They are the extra things in life that no one necessarily needs but indulgently wants – men do not yet have the luxury of wearing innovative designs like women do and no matter how creative designers become a blazer will always be just a blazer – but accessories being the after thought of clothes tie an outfit together and showcase a somewhat status symbol and self care to onlookers.
There is no real purpose to the tie clip and graphically designed socks are just as relevant as silk scarves but our affinity to accessories help separate us from the rest of the monochromatic pack- and to be perfectly honest they are the retail weaknesses that men enjoy purchasing. Buying a new shirt is not nearly as enjoyable as it is to shop for a new leather brief case – and much like how a beige trench coat can automatically make someone appear fashion conscious- the correct coordination of accessories can elevate a man from being casually dressed to looking like a well groomed gentleman.
People once laughed at the idea of wearing shoes with no socks and now years later it still remains a trend that people commonly partake in. Slowly the scrutiny of men dabbling in accessorizing for themselves will surely pass the same way and the future of menswear will hopefully further away from the norms of tailored jeans and Ralph Lauren polos – but till then, well dressed men will still properly pair their attire with the right kind of luxury- their accessories. The good things in life and now unashamedly in our wardrobes.