June 12, 2014

"The distinction between dress and athletic shoes is on the verge of collapse for fashion-forward men..."

"... as the humble gym shoe has outgrown its youth-culture/streetwear origins to become a fashion accessory, as well as a staple on runways, red carpets and in the workplace, where it is no longer considered the height of quirk to wear them with a suit."

Men in sneakers.

The transition from men to boys is nearing completion.

46 comments:

surfed said...

The transition of men to boys only follows the transition of women to boys.

LordSomber said...

“You look very dapper!”
Did I? I was wearing a sports jacket with gray flannel pants, brown shoes, white shirt, and sober tie. Looking around, I saw what she meant. Everyone else in the [9/11] memorial plaza, ages 9 to 90, was dressed like a middle schooler at summer camp: shorts, sneakers (socks optional), T-shirts. The most skeptical person there—I, presumably—was the only one showing sartorial respect."


http://takimag.com/article/shames_cathedral_john_derbyshire/print#axzz34KR0demD

Tank said...

I am sitting in my law office wearing sneakers, no one cares.

Last weekend we went out to eat at The Stony Hill Inn, an expensive, dressy restaurant in Hackensack, Not many years ago you could not get in there without tie and jacket. I wore slacks and a sports jacket, no tie. Sure enough, there were men there in jeans and sneakers. Not the women, they were all dressed up.

Eric said...

Come on Anne, this is just the NYT providing some free promotion for a major advertiser.

Unknown said...

Is this like men in shorts?

Bobber Fleck said...

Having witnessed T-shirts and cut off jeans at weddings and funerals, this seems mild.

As a child I was taught that how you dress for important events in the lives of others is a measure of your respect for those people. The same is true in the business world.

tim in vermont said...

Well, I guess the bicycles have decided that they don't need to contort themselves to accommodate fins anymore. I wonder what gave them that idea?

A government that supplants their traditional role as bicycles for fish?

A system of laws that punish men ....


We all know the list. I blame high quality internet pron.

traditionalguy said...

Being a man is not fashionable anymore.

Men used to have an unconscious male leadership role they could take for granted, as Crack says Whites have an unconscious racist role they take for granted.

But the females and the blacks have outlawed those male and white roles.

What struck me was the D-Day Radio post last week.

All of the announcers were men with serious male authority in their voices. That voice has disappeared starting with the 1960s youth culture.

MadisonMan said...

I haven't done this.

But the sneakers in that article are pretty tricked-up and hardly beat-up Converse Canvas.

Athletic shoes have become dressier is what this article is really saying.

Titus said...

I wear sneakers walking to work which is around 20 blocks.

I know it looks kind of dorky but my dress shoes would be crap if I walked 40 blocks every day in them and my pumps would start to hurt my tootsies. Do you know I call my mom tootsie? And then my dad starting calling her tootsie.

Sometimes I say fuck it and just leave the sneakers on all day.

tits.

glenn said...

I called my blog post about this "Beauty and the Scrounge". I wouldn't mow my lawn dressed the way I see guys going out to dinner in nice restaurants. And you know what? It's because they are lazy. Just plain lazy.

Titus said...

I don't wear tricked up sneakers-way too old for that. I do love my samba's though and they never go out of style.

tits.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Looks like an Oxford, feels like a sneaker?

Unknown said...

Misandry, I tell you......

Ann Althouse said...

"I wear sneakers walking to work which is around 20 blocks. I know it looks kind of dorky…"

Titus, that's not how fashion is done. Read the linked article.

If you want to do fashion, you have to wear it with the attitude that this is fashion.

You have to work those sneakers.

Nobody fashionable walks around with a gee-I-know-this-is-dorky-but-it's-comfortable demeanor.

Now, sell it.

CWJ said...

When we first went to Bermuda in 1986, nearly every place required coat and tie for dinner. Today, almost no one on the island does.

My wife and I still dress for dinner when we're on the island, but increasingly, even the staff who used to quietly praise us, have shunted us off to less noticeable tables lest we make the other guests uncomfortable.

I used to be amused overhearing tourists complain about wearing a tie to dinner. Now the more formal of the two restaurants at the resort we frequent has been reduced to requiring no more than a collared shirt. And even then, I occasionally overhear people complain about that.

Larry J said...

Men in sneakers.

The transition from men to boys is nearing completion.


Once again, you prove unable to differentiate between men dressing for comfort and men trying to be boys. That's really pathetic on your part. You make an erroneous assumption and continue to stick with it regardless of how absurd it is.

Men, when given the opportunity, tend to dress for comfort. We comply with office dress codes as necessary but when on our own time, we don't dress to impress others. We dress for comfort. No man this side of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" will willingly wear uncomfortable shoes.

Larry J said...

Nobody fashionable walks around with a gee-I-know-this-is-dorky-but-it's-comfortable demeanor.

What makes you think most men give a damn about fashion? Fashion is planned obselescence writ large. Fashion is for suckers who can be conned into ditching perfectly good clothing just because someone says it's no longer fashionable. Buy quality, ignore flash and fashion and you'll save a ton of money on chothing and shoes.

TheTinCook said...

I can't find a dressy shoe with enough support for my big messed up feet, so I have to make do with black sneakers from Brooks. Hopefully the points I'm losing from not being fashionable are less then the points I'd lose from hobbling around work.

SGT Ted said...

Other than formal black tie attire, most modern men's fashion is predictable and boring.

Paco Wové said...

Look sharp, feel sharp.

mrs.e said...

This too shall pass.

William said...

I thought the whole point of those Gucci loafers was to demonstrate that you only walked on deep carpets in quiet offices. They were not made for concrete pavements, and that was a feature not a bug. They were like long Mandarin fingernails for the feet......Running shoes have evolved faster than my feet have aged. They truly do provide a nurturing, loving environment for the feet. Breaking in a new pair of shoes has joined adjusting the rabbit ears of the antenna as an example of the pointless suffering, the meaningless misery of former generations.......I'd like to see women start dressing as women again. Bring back the Playtex undergarments. They gave a woman gravitas.

SJ said...

@Ann,

the men in my family of my grandfather's generation dress according to where they grew up. (This generation is also passing away, as most were born between '25 and '35...)

Those who grew up in towns or cities always wear dress shoes, slacks, and button-down shirts. I have never seen any of them wear denim, ever. When these men dress up, it is a three-piece suit.

Those who grew up in farm country wear denims and sweats for most situations, and slacks-plus-sport-jacket for dressy events.

The culture they grew up in differentiated "city dress" from "farmer/country dress" somewhat strongly. And they lived by that, even when the culture of their children chose a different set of attire as standard.

@traditionalguy
All of the announcers were men with serious male authority in their voices.

I listened to a few of those. Amazingly, the re-enactment by actor Patrick Stewart carried "authority in voice" the best.

Possibly another sign of the times: Patrick Stewart can make anything sound grand. His voice carries authority.

I can't think of a younger actor who can carry that kind of stage-presence or screen-presence.

ganderson said...

I'm a HS teacher. I wear a shirt and tie (usually not a jacket)and dress shoes pretty much every day. My shoes are shined to a high gloss, too! I will sometimes wear khakis and a golf shirt with boat shoes on Fridays. Most of my male colleagues do not dress well- jeans, sneakers, t-shirts, and even shorts. (I am not anti-shorts in an Althousian manner, but I don't believe they are appropriate for school)The kids we teach are appallingly dressed- many of the boys don't even own dress shoes- not for reasons of poverty, either. They think any coat and tie combination is EXTREMELY dressed up. On the positive side, there is a group of boys who celebrate "Fancy Friday"- they wear coats and ties on Friday!

Will Cate said...

Black Rockport ProWalkers. Been wearing 'em for years. I have some black leather dress shoes as well, but unless it's a wedding or a funeral...

Danno said...

Althouse, Please take this with a "grain of salt" as this is the NYT and most people outside of NY ignore what they say. I hope Jaltcoh (if he is in NYC) doesn't consider the NYT as fashion authority.

SteveBrooklineMA said...

Well, boys dress much worse than they used to as well. I take my kindergartener to the bus stop and see nothing but baggy gym shorts and ratty, baggy, ugly t-shirts. In 30 years, this will be standard lawyer-wear.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

The transition from men to boys is nearing completion.

Speak for yourself.

Michael said...

I wear high quality, very expensive, English shoes. I have for forty years. Yesterday I wore a pair I purchased in 1974. They are as good as new. My feet never hurt because I have invested in them with great shoes. I never succumb to fashion in shoes and the 1974 pair is still available from its maker today. Because good quality and timeless style do not change much in men's clothing or footwear.

Men now dress like boys, children. Vulgar.

Forbes said...

This is a non-event. It's break-the-rules show-off. More of the look-at-me generation: enough-about-you-what-do-you-think-of-me narcissism. It's fashion as determined by gays, nothing more.

If Althouse is looking for evidence of men's transition to boys, this isn't it.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Dressing "like a man" was part of a, let's call it, chivalric code. As Instapundit has pointed out chivaly was a system and promoted obligations, responsibilities, and benefits for both men and women. Insty's point is that modern culture has abandoned the restrictive parts of the code for women and as such should not expect men to uphold their related responsibilities.
After a sustained attack on that old code why would anyone be surprised at this outcome? Incentives matter.

Ann Althouse said...

Responding to incentives, then, men respond to the forces that infantilize them and whine about mommy making them do things.

Stomp your sneakered little foot, man-boy. Mommy can't give in to your tantrum. It will only make things worse.

But thanks for explaining the etiology of your helplessness. Now, go to your room. You're grounded.

Anonymous said...

That transition started in the 70s with Silicon Valley. Maybe not on the East Coast, but it's been here a long time.

My attorney bil had to buy a new wardrobe when he started doing business on the East Coast - even though they paid him less.

From Inwood said...

"You look very dapper!”
Did I? I was wearing a sports jacket with gray flannel pants, brown shoes, white shirt, and sober tie. Looking around, I saw what she meant. Everyone else in the [9/11] memorial plaza, ages 9 to 90, was dressed like a middle schooler at summer camp: shorts, sneakers (socks optional), T-shirts. The most skeptical person there—I, presumably—was the only one showing sartorial respect."


As a geezer, I appreciate the cliché: There's no fool like an old fool.

Most of the geezers I dine with or see at church or any nitetime gathering, say a community meeting, have rebelled against jackets, much less ties.

They don't recognize that with age comes chicken neck or the fact that the recent result of theie doc's needles call attention to their "geezerness".

Same with sneakers, polo shirts, or shorts at dinner.

Sic transit.

Paul said...

As a twenty-something man, the general rule of thumb for me is to wear the most comfortable clothing that won't stand out in the setting intended. Fashion is for people with more money than sense.

I--and my peers--will wear what we're expected to wear when necessary, but it isn't a priority to dress like 'men' in the eyes of previous generations. Why should it be?

Gahrie said...

Stomp your sneakered little foot, man-boy. Mommy can't give in to your tantrum. It will only make things worse.

But thanks for explaining the etiology of your helplessness. Now, go to your room. You're grounded.


Yeah....a real man would have bitch slapped that whore, made her make him a sandwich, and showed her who's boss

Paul Ciotti said...

If I promise never to wear tennis shoes for anything other than playing tennis, will women promise never to wear high heels to work?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

@Ann Althouse:
Responding to incentives, then, men respond to the forces that infantilize them and whine about mommy making them do things.

No ma'am, in this case men aren't whining at all, they're perfectly happy to wear sneakers (and shorts). They're happIER! Sneakers are more comfortable (for men) and shorts are sometimes more comfortable. The culture has shifted from one where it's expected that men dress more formally (and uncomfortably) and so men now face a lower penalty when doing so. If there is not much of a social penalty for wearing sneakers, men will wear sneakers! That's the incentive to which I was referring.
This aspect of the cultural change is a net benefit for men; they're not stopming their feet or feeling helpless because they don't have to wear less-comfortable shoes or ties or suits, etc. So as applied to this case your comment (or the tone of your comment) is well off the mark.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

@Ann Althouse:

By the way, Prof., wasn't it largely your generation who rebelled against conformity generally, and widely expressed that rebellion through more relaxed dress and grooming? I think The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit was popular in the late 50's but that sentiment was pretty popular during the 60s, no?
The 60's-era counterculture is much parodied and before my time so correct me if I'm wrong, but were hippy-types not vocally against the buttoned down clothing style otherwise popular at that time?

Titus said...

honey, the sneakers I do wear during that 20 block runway are fierce though.

I say dorky, but please, of course they are fashionable.

puma by prada-so yes they are fashionable but still i don't care for how they meet the cut of my prada flat fronts.

along my walk i encounter many 20 something, who i wonder where they are going (school, gym...perhaps even a job) with the short pants, no socks and pointy cole hahns. i do like the look but when i see it i feel they are trying to hard. they are hungry for looks. the summer around cambridge/mit are filled with monied international students: pakis, saudis, cypress, etc. and those bitches (men) work it. i always wonder if they are able to work that look back home.

the short pants are huge this year and i feel like it is old now-two years in a row-really?

oh and some are into really colorful socks.

there is this one greek skinny kid that is decked out every morning and i love him...he works at gucci....and lives in a dump of a tripledecker natch.

he always asks to pet my climber....in a greek accent...but i am cautious and act uninterested and then casually say ok.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...
But thanks for explaining the etiology of your helplessness.


As I said above this particular case isn't an example of helplessness, but in a larger sense it's true that individuals are largely powerless to fight cultural changes. Here men are choosing less formal attire, but they only have that choice because it is now socially acceptable.
Take another example, say holding the door for a woman or a man giving up his seat on the subway for a woman. Those actions were formerly expected and social opprobium attached to those who did not take them, so the incentive structure enforced (or reinforced) the behavior. Today it is less expected and in some cases actively discouraged. Should anyone be surprised that the behavior is less common? A man might still choose to hold open the door, but if he does and is met with a bad result (a lecture on cisgender stereotypes, say) why would he continue in that way?
The current expectation is for more-relaxed clothing (relative to the past). That is true for men and women. Flip flops, yoga pants, pajama pants, etc--these are also infantalizing and frequently a part of young women's wardrobes lately. I don't know where to fit jeggings, but they don't remind one of Grace Kelly.
Standards slip if not actively upheld. The mores now place more empahsis on comfort and less on formality and conformity. It has usually been considered "progressive" to fight against restrictive norms. The fight has, in this area, been successful. The results are not surprising.


Ann Althouse said...

"What makes you think most men give a damn about fashion?"

Your question assumes a fact not in evidence.

Scott said...

David Tennant, the tenth Dr. Who on BBC television, popularized the suit-and-Chucks look back in 2005. There is nothing new under the sun.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

"The transition from men to boys is nearing completion."

This transition was accomplished back in the 60s when adult men began wearing jeans, t-shirts, sneakers and baseball caps as everyday attire.
The Boomer "Hope I die before I get old" ethos will reach its apotheosis when adult diapers become hip. With a President who wears Mom Jeans, we're closer than you think.

Anonymous said...

Should add that the bil isn't remotely boyish and is indeed happier that he can dress more casually, which he couldn't do before he went out on his own.