Fashion used to be predominantly a women’s game.
The catwalk was owned by beautiful women showing off flowing gowns, the latest shoes, incredible handbags and hats that meant you had to duck every time you walked into a room. Even gym kit was made to look sexy.
This was, of course, just for show. Not everything from the catwalk would make its way to the High Street, and very often these shows were there to highlight the daring direction many fashion houses were going in, not to sell clothes which, frankly, were too ‘out there’ to ever appear in real life.
Men’s fashion, however, was very different.
The catwalk very often showed men in a different light. Their shoes were more sensible, their clothing was a take on the “gentlemanly” look of the past. Vintage is in, the way it’s worn is with flair, but with a nod to corporate acceptability and as a power-play.
Men’s clothes were meant to show strength. Excepting, of course, many of those by Jean Paul Gautier.
The High Street copycats
Of course, not everyone can afford the clothing produced by the big fashion labels, so the High Street comes to the rescue and often produces very close copies of clothes, sometimes only a few weeks after the original hits the market.
Primark is often the first to get their products to the shelves, for example, last year they released a pair of copycat shoes for £8, a significant difference to Prada’s £470.
They did the same with a pair of Nike trainers, and there’s no doubt they’ll keep doing it. As long as people want cheap fashion, they’ll keep churning it out.
Can cheap men’s fashion compete?
There’s a reason fashion is expensive. Granted, a lot of it is down to the name. I’m pretty sure those Prada shoes didn’t cost that much to make, a lot of the £470 asked for them will be paying for the designer, not the materials or the manufacturing process.
But, do they cost more than £8 to make?
The answer is obviously yes. The materials and the way in which they’re manufactured will cost a lot more. The quality of the materials will also be high.
The same goes for men’s fashion. While women are all clamouring for the cheaper copies, men are also looking to save money, but the difference in manufacture really does seem to be highlighted with men’s shoes.
Shoes are complex beasts. They take a lot of beating through normal day-to-day wear, so they have to be tough. Manufacturing quality needs to be good, and precision is required to ensure they will last through the day without falling apart.
Of course, not all men’s clothing is required to resist the rigours of the day in quite the same way as work shoes, and you can get away buying cheap on many lines.
If you’re after a cheap new gym kit, then you’ll be OK buying something fairly cheap. It’s only going to get sweaty and worn out anyway, so why spend a fortune. Those cheap Nike knock-offs might well do the job!
But work-day fashion is different if you’re going to rock men’s fashion in the workplace, you need to up your game.
Quality men’s fashion and looking good in the workplace
If you’re the sort of businessman that wants to look good in the workplace all the time, then it pays to up your game.
Although men’s grooming has come on a long way in the last few years, it’s still not enough to have a neatly trimmed and coiffured beard and be walking around in shoes that will fall apart at the first sign of rain.
There are many men’s fashion stores now that will enable you to look great without breaking the bank but will still offer the type of quality you would expect to make a statement in the boardroom.
Men’s clothing doesn’t need to be outrageously expensive to be of superior quality, but likewise, buying incredibly cheap could be a false economy.
In our tests, while cheap shoes tend to look OK for a while, they don’t even get close to the quality of their more expensive counterparts.