The role of men in the fashion blogging industry is something I've been fascinated by — they have been noted as the “secret sauce” behind the lens (often as the boyfriend taking the glorified photos of ladies on the street) — but a growing number of men have been stepping in front of the camera, albeit, in a much different way.
When you read a menswear post (written by a man) it's like reading a short piece of literature. They talk a lot about what makes the item “special” — whether it involves a backpack inspired by a mountainside in Colorado, a fedora hand-crafted from an elderly milliner in Spain, or a one-of-a-kind bar of soap made only from salt and the spirit of the sea. The who, what, where, and when, all lead to the why-this-is-the-greatest-product-of-all-time. Clothing, grooming products, and accessories are all considered an investment, and the thought process behind purchasing and using the product is revealed.
Furthermore, if you were to put the top ten leading womenswear fashion blogs and the top ten leading menswear fashion blogs side by side, the disparities are not so much in the photos or design, but mostly in the writing. It seems the guys are far more insightful in their analysis of clothing. Why is this?
If you think about how many menswear writers dissect each and every detail of fashion, the process is not unlike a dude inspecting motorcycle parts, or piecing together the perfect Fantasy Football league, or playing a video game with intricate weapons and codes — the pieces go together to make a whole outfit, it's logical.
On the other hand, women seem to be more engulfed in how fashion makes them look: longer legs, a slimmer waist, a rounder bottom.
The approach of how men and women talk about fashion is the key difference between men bloggers and women bloggers, says Justin Livingston of Scout Sixteen, a blog that highlights Livingston in both men's and women's apparel. “Menswear bloggers understand the power of verbiage with male customers. Generally, men want to know how a product appeals to their sense of touch: how does it fit, what is the fabric feel like, should it be tailored, etc. Women focus much more prominently on the visual aspect of a piece – which is why women's fashion bloggers regularly succeed with heavier focus on imagery rather than descriptive content.”
Rachel Seville, the personal style blogger behind Pizza Rulez and the resident “lady voice” on menswear-focused website Four Pins, agrees, “Womenswear blogs seem much more image-driven to me, while men seem eager to explain what it is we're looking at and why they're showing it to us (which perhaps explains the runaway success of Pinterest among women, while it's been slower to catch on with men?).”
“Menswear bloggers also tend to be more straightforward with their posts,” wrote Dustin and Anthony, the couple behind the menswear personal style blog Closet Freaks, in an email. “This is a blazer. This is how its made. This is why it's high quality. This is why you should wear it. Female bloggers tend to have more fun with their posts, really letting their personality and enthusiasm for their outfits shine. Maybe its because men aren't ‘supposed' to be excited about fashion.”
So if men aren't ‘supposed' to like fashion, is their logical and factual writing a reaction to this stigma?
“A lot of menswear bloggers still seem to be on the defensive as soon as they're out the gate, as if they're trying to justify their interest in clothing to everyone (this is frequently masked as braggadocio),” says Seville. “Women are much more comfortable photographing themselves like, ‘Look at me in the street, wearing this amazing outfit, looking rad, having a better time than you.' It's OK to love clothes, guys! It's video games we should be worried about.”
But while their writing might be stemmed in an effort to preserve masculinity, it's still quality writing — which leads to the question: in an over saturated womenswear fashion blogging market, will the menswear-type of writing be something women will eventually adopt to set themselves apart?
Livigston thinks so,”Womenswear bloggers will find their content effortlessly rounds out when they dedicate equal focus on imagery and descriptive content. Menswear bloggers have had a better grasp of this in the past but I truly believe women are on the rise – reshaping the way their female customer base approach shopping. It's not longer about the ‘look' of a piece, it's hitting the other marks: where was it made, what's the fabric, how is the fit, etc.”
What do you think about the differences in how womenswear and menswear bloggers write about fashion? Do you notice a difference?