Demystifying The Fashion Blogger Gender Divide

Men are from Mars, women are from Venus — or so the saying goes. But is this idea reflected in the fashion blogging industry as well?

Lately there's been a lot of hype surrounding menswear — whether it's taking on a quirkier role (think floral patterns and pink) from it's usual contemporary uniform of  chunky boots, APC denim, and “beards of Bunyan-like proportions.” The reason? Some think the internet. “Perhaps the fast proliferation of menswear trends on the Internet is slowly bringing us to an equilibrium where an avid fan of Gitman Vintage and an Alexander Wang devotee can happily coexist,” an article questioning whether menswear is “gay” again on Four-Pins suggests.

Maybe. Or maybe not quite yet.

While there's no doubt that there has been a massive influx of women striking a pose for their personal style blogs within the past five years, it seems that the men have been a bit slower on the uptake.

Instead, men are being associated with the “behind the lens” role. Aimee Song, interior designer and the blogger behind Song of Style, wrote in an email, “…my boyfriend takes most of my outfit pictures and I think a lot of female bloggers are the same way.”

Craig Arend, street style photographer and blogger of Altamira NYC (the original “Models Off Duty” site),  feels similarly. “Men are visual creatures,” he noted, “they are fascinated with beauty in a different way than women.”

But it turns out men out number women in online shopping by almost 2 to 1, according to a recent study posted on iCrossing. So while we do have the Tommy Tons, the Phil Ohs, and the Scott Schumans taking their fashion photography blogs to the next level — where are all the men posing? If they are shopping so much online than why aren't they showing off what they got? Or more importantly, why aren't there more male personal style bloggers in existence? Clearly, there's a market of men interested in shopping on the internet.

Justin Livingston, the personal style blogger behind Munrowe, weighed in on how he viewed the difference between the genders in fashion blogging, “I think women find themselves thrust (and welcomed) into the fashion industry much easier than men. As an ‘image industry’ the fashion industry thrives on the ability for its members to recognize beauty and, in turn, reflect that standard for beautiful and tactile products. Men, generally, have a harder time opening themselves up to this ideal – which I believe may be fear of losing masculinity.”

Yesterday, Four-Pins posted another article giving some snarky insight into the mindset behind those who do personal style blogging. In regards to the fashion blogging boys club, the author wrote, “Men are no doubt all up in the club with fashion love at this point. But menswear blogs tend to position garments as objets d’art: ‘This a jacket that’s made from the canvas sails of JFK’s boyhood sloop, and every three days you have to soak it in a special wax for four hours, but it looks really dope against the shadow you have for the first two days after you get your beard trimmed at Freeman’s.' Even when guys are talking about a jacket, they’re still talking about it like they’re under the hood of a car.”

Jennifer Mendenhall, a relatively new blogger on the scene with her site Style Bomb, felt that brands were looking to men more lately, “it seems easier for their blogs to grow, simply because it doesn't seem to be as saturated as with women bloggers… there's an upwards growth trend in men's style with websites like Mr. Porter, Bonobos, Park & Bond and promotions like what Mr. Porter did with the show Suits …”

Livingston also believes that the men are on the rise, “I think a large majority of the blogosphere is female, but there are an impressive number of dapper guys taking over the top spots. As a greater number of men enter the digital world, we’re seeing a better balance of style opinion and fashion advice while creating a healthier gender ratio.”

So what do you boys and girls think? Is there a gender divide in fashion blogging? And if so, is it being bridged as the blogging industry grows?

[Image credit: Justin Livingston, Munrowe]



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22 Responses

  1. TerranceJ

    Kudos to Mendenhall for recognizing the upward presence of men in the blogosphere! This was a superb read. I was actually discussing with my gf some months ago. When I told her that I wanted to become a blogger (just last year in Nov. when I started A Disheveled Refinement), she laughed at me and thought I was becoming a bit less “masculine”. While I’m not sure if there really is a divide or not(or if it’s just a case of guys not knowing what niche to fill in this industry), like everything else in fashion, a continued growth in fashion blogging will allow for things to become more democratized. This field is still in its infancy, after all <3

  2. Azalea

    This is a great article from someone looking in from the outside. I do think there’s a big divide between female and male fashion bloggers. I really love but of course, I’m biased since I’m a Midwesterner. I don’t think they’re part of IFB, maybe because they think it’s just for girls.

  3. Glam Slam!

    I think this is a great topic and something that has diffidently been in the spotlight lately. I definitely think it is wrong and unfair to automatically label a guy “gay” or less masculine just because he’s into fashion or runs a style blog. Menswear has been on the rise lately and has become an obsession in the fashion world lately. I love how menswear blogs are becoming so popular and I think it enriches the blogesphere and keeps things fun! There are some incredibly dapper and stylish men out there ( Hello @justinliv of Munrowe and Closet Freaks!) and before long, they’ll start giving us girls a run for our money! You go boys!!!! We <3 u! 🙂

  4. That Fashion Dude

    Here’s the thing! I remember reading an article that said “personal style” blogs were on their way out (I still feel that way) but nonetheless, I do believe men are on the rise. I get very excited to see a solid, menswear blog that isn’t just shots of someone looking down as if they dropped their wallet or off to the side like someone just called their name. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes it can be interesting. I’m just more interested in hearing what guys actually have to SAY about collections, fits, cuts, how they take a trend and make it work for them, delivering THEIR opinion on what’s hot and what’s not. Am I thinking too much about this?

  5. Lelala

    Having watched this specific bloggers and type of bloggers for study case while my BA, i’ve found out the relation is more near to 80:20 than the mentioned ratio.

  6. Sharon

    I must confess I do not read many (probably 3) female personal style blogs. Why? I look at many and I just don’t get what others are seeing. I see a person in a pair of pants and a shirt taking pictures in their yard and everyone is like “how nice” and I think – no different than what I see in the street everyday. I guess it is the love of editorials in magazines, I can’t get past or wanting to see more just what I can see everyday. Most seem to like the average woman and because of my dreams I like the I will keep dreaming hopefully one day style.
    But, I love personal style blogs by men. Why? Because I love a well dressed man. Most are so different from seeing your average guy in t-shirt and jeans walking the street. I even ask over Twitter for people to send me links to menswear blogs. Thankfully you did two fantastic posts on guy fashion bloggers and I have plenty to look at now.
    Even better my 12 yr old asked if he can blog his style. He has been choosing his clothes out since, he was 7 and has awesome style. Ever see a inner city male wear a tie to school voluntarily . . yeah that’s him.
    Anyway what was the topic again. . . haha

  7. Terry

    I would love to see more men’s blogs surface. I subscribe to a handful, and am always looking for more.

    My blog showcases my personal style, but also styles of other men’s and women’s blogs. Currently, the women’s blogs far outnumber the men’s blogs I feature, and would love to equalize things out. 🙂

  8. The Guilty Hyena

    Wasn’t aware men out number women in online shopping by almost 2 to 1! Lately I’ve been noticing more and more enticing mens fashion blogs,
    I hope it is a growing trend. They greatly add a good swerve to the fashion blogging community.

  9. Shybiker

    I’m the only male fashion-blogger I know and I blog almost exclusively about women’s fashion because, truthfully, there is so little creativity or range in men’s fashion. I’d be open to blogging about men’s fashion if it became interesting but, after many years of watching it, I’m not holding my breath. Women’s fashion, on the other hand, has ceaseless fascination to me and others.

    • Terry

      I COMPLETELY agree with you. Majority of what’s on my blog is woman-oriented, well, because there’s just so much more diversity than there is for us guys. I totally feel for ya!

  10. Jeremiah Williams

    Men’s blogging is a challenge. It is hard to be creative enough to find different ways to layer and style the same Summer blazer. However men’s wear is getting more and more exciting, if you start looking at the extent of accessories and detail work being incorporated into men’s fashion and styling. I think there will continue to be growth and emergence on the men’s blog front.

    The one thing blog supporters can’t do is compare men’s blogging to women’s. Both genres are an animal of their own. Looking some of the 2013 collections I think we will continue to see some exciting things emerge.

    Jeremiah Williams

  11. artflu

    Great article! I definitely agree with it. I think, that fashion industry is open to everyone and being woman or man doesn’t make you less important. Fashion doesn’t take masculinity away, it helps to carry it properly.

  12. Colin Chapman

    The fact that the IFB conference I attended in NY Sept 2010 had about 3 male bloggers in attendance, says it all. But perhaps that’s a US thing? London has lots of male fashion bloggers, as the recent menswear week attests to. Personally I’d hate to see it blow up and over saturate like the womenswear scene.

  13. Zamri A.

    I think menswear blog is on the rise, though at a slower pace compared to the ladies’ counterpart. But for sure, hey… we’re all deserve a space in fashion nonetheless. Having said that, I’m a menswear blogger too. I do shop online a lot (yes, A LOT!) and I’m happy to share it in my blog! =)

  14. Khanh Nguyen

    Great article. I was thinking of writing a similar one. Although you are correct in stating that female blogs are saturated but there is also a larger following. The market for male bloggers is very slim. If you look on the big names in men’s fashion blogs, many of the comments originate from women.

  15. Jamal

    Really good point! I think this article sheds light on the way men shop. Men are easily influenced I would say, but they also have limited options compared to women.

    Now men have a million options (online shopping) compared to years ago. Its really exciting, another reason why brands are endorsing this.
    Great read!