High fashion for men has taken an ugly turn in recent years with a heavy emphasis on skinny jeans and suits that look two sizes too small. If you are not into that clingy look, relief may be on the horizon. Said relief has come from a most unlikely source: coronavirus and the subsequent work from home (WFH) lifestyle.
The Wall Street Journal recently published a rather lengthy piece talking about menswear and the WFH lifestyle. One of the main points the piece drove home was the emergence of big clothing for men. And by ‘big’, contributor Jacob Gallagher means oversized on steroids.
A Lifestyle or Necessity?
Getting a handle on the bigness of men’s clothing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis starts with determining whether WFH is actually a lifestyle or a necessity. There is a big difference. A lifestyle is something you embrace because it is who you are; it expresses your person at the core.
If you hate working from home and only plan to do so as long as it is required, then WFH is not a lifestyle. It is a necessity. As such, it’s reasonable to assume that any fashion choices you abandoned when you began working from home will be picked back up when you return to the office.
If WFH truly is your lifestyle, you are perfect candidate for big clothes. The fashion industry is targeting you right now. They are coming up with exceptionally large cardigans and oversized floral shirts that overwhelm the torso. They are designing super large trench coats that could double as a camping tents in a pinch.
Comfort Over Aesthetics
One possible explanation for the new bigness of men’s clothing is the need for comfort. At Salt Lake City’s The Stockist, a men’s and women’s boutique with a special focus on younger buyers, comfort is a big deal. The people behind The Stockist say they can understand why men permanently working from home would want bigger clothing.
Tight fitting clothing, while it may be aesthetically pleasing to some, restricts movement. It can be quite uncomfortable when you are lounging on the couch binge watching your favorite streaming series. But guess what? It can also be uncomfortable sitting at your desk for eight hours of work.
Bigger clothes tend toward looser fits. You get more freedom of movement no matter what you’re doing. Loose fitting clothing is less likely to bind or pull. It is less likely to force you to constantly readjust just to stay focused on the task at hand.
Wearing What Makes You Comfortable
The newness of the WFH lifestyle has self-appointed experts coming out of the woodwork. Article after article explaining the intimate details of WFH tend to focus on a few things, one of them being the concept of wearing what makes you comfortable.
As the thinking goes, formal attire and business casual do not necessarily lend themselves well to maximum comfort. But at home, no one’s watching. The only time you have to get dressed up is when you have to participate in a video conference. And even at that, the other participants can only see your upper body.
All of this is to say that the WFH concept allows for more comfortable clothing choices. And for many men, comfort and loose fitting clothing are synonymous. Does that justify the emergence of big clothing that makes 1990s excess look like child’s play? Consumers will ultimately decide. In the meantime, steel yourself for a whole range of big clothing choices aimed at men who work from home. Big is in.