If there’s one universal truth about fashion it’s that it changes over time. This is what keeps the industry interesting, and I’m not only talking about the transition from one season to the next. There are broader trends over time as well. Sometimes fitting norms get tighter or looser for several years at a time even within specific fashion trends; sometimes accepted styles get more casual or more formal for a few years; a certain type of suit might remain popular for years at a time even as color preferences, tie preferences, and shoe matching trends shift. You get the idea. In this piece I’m taking a quick look, not necessarily at these overarching trends but at places in the world where expected or accepted men’s style has shifted of late.
This is probably the one that’s getting the most attention, largely because it’s a transition that’s been spearheaded by some of the most forward-looking businesses in the world in America’s West Coast tech sector. You’re likely familiar with the image, perpetuated in everything from real life CEOs to the HBO parody show Silicon Valley, of tech millionaires wearing jeans and hoodies to work. Well, it’s an idea that seems to have trickled down to businesses of all kinds. One article written last year noted that even in accounting – traditionally one of the more buttoned up professions (literally) – offices are welcoming a more casual dress code. That’s not to say it’s hoodies and jeans everywhere, but the idea of having to wear a suit and tie to work is fast disappearing. In more and more workplaces, a button down and slacks will suffice, if not something significantly more casual.
One could argue that casino culture as a whole has changed fairly radically thanks to the advent of online gaming. However, the numbers show that casinos are pretty much just as popular as they’ve ever been even if people might be visiting for different reasons (such as the arrival of real money betting on traditional arcade games). One thing that’s changed for men who do decide to visit, however, is expected dress code. Gone are the days when you had to emulate Frank Sinatra to feel like you belonged at a poker table. Nowadays, most casinos in Vegas are tolerant of any style of clothing, such that you might see a guy in a suit and a dude in a Hawaiian shirt playing cards at the same table. The rules are simply looser – thanks, in all likelihood, to the “poker boom” airing of tournaments in which even professional players dressed completely casually.
The Bar or Club
The obvious caveat here is that style depends to some extent on which bar or club we’re talking about. The dive bar down the street probably demands only your very most casual outfit, whereas an upscale club in a big city might ask for a little more. Broadly speaking, however, there have been interesting shifts in men’s “going out” attire. Basically, the middle of the road has been scrapped in favor of either casual clothing (jeans and a tee shirt get the job done) or fancier attire (basically, a suit). This is a result of the quasi-movement to ditch the “going out shirt,” which is to say the untucked (and probably too long) button down over trousers is now viewed as somewhat lazy, even if it’s in the middle of the road formality-wise.