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Truman Says

Menswear sales buck the bad economy; dress up more to do your part


Photo: Getty Images

Menswear outpaced women's fashion in overall sales during the past year, reports AP. According to research company NPD Group Inc., menswear
sales rose 0.8 percent in the last year (ending in May), while womenswear
sales fell 3.5 percent. And since May, womenswear
sales dropped 3 percent, while menswear sales rose 2.3 percent.

Fashion analysts explain menswear's new lead on the recent influx of slimmer, tailored looks, like those offered by Out 100 honoree Thom Browne (above) in recent years, and a more casual work environment that allows for increased options and in turn means more opportunities to purchase and wear a wider variety of looks. And menswear companies like Nautica and Levi Strauss and Co.'s
Dockers, once unthinkably inappropriate for the office, "have reworked their fits -- pants, for example, have less
material in the seat and thigh and have no pleats; suit jackets have
higher armholes with narrower and shorter sleeves," which offer cleaner, more modern silhouettes.

Ironically, other analysts believe that with our pokey to the point of groan-inducing economy, many men are actually paying more attention to what they wear to the office, or at least spending bigger bucks in hopes of being taken more seriously at work. "I am dressing up a bit more," Steve Hale, a 37-year-old fashion consultant, told AP. "If you are keeping up
with fashion, people notice and it gives them more confidence [that the
financial industry is going to turn around]." Hale says he spends $500 a month on clothes, more than twice as much as he spent previously.

Never an industry to idly sit on its hands when a new market begins to present itself, the big boys of fashion are already courting eager male shoppers. Ferragamo and J. Crew are opening men's only boutiques. Bloomingdales has created special areas in its men's department that feature tailored clothing and flashy accessory items like ice buckets, GPS systems and luxe shaving kits. Macy's is adding more exclusive lines, including the already insanely popular Emporio Armani underwear.

So, you know what this means: With the stores full up with fall fashions (and some great end of summer sales on last season still in progress) -- and in order for all of us to keep our jobs, keep the floundering economy from completely going under, and keep our co-workers, partners, and the boys on the dance floor duly impressed and begging for more -- get out those wallets and start shopping!

Advocate Channel - The Pride StoreOut / Advocate Magazine - Fellow Travelers & Jamie Lee Curtis

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