According to Richard Sutcliffe, writing in the Yorkshire Post last week, chat in Sofia city’s bars after the England match covered three topics, the match, the price of beer (dirt cheap!) and ‘the mess the new away shirt looked’ with complaints suggesting the watching fans thought it was ‘more like a polo shirt rather than a team shirt’.
This came as something of a surprise to me, given that the last time I stood on the terraces (admittedly, back in the days when Alan Shearer had hair) men did not discuss fashion. Even sports fashion.
So I went looking for some evidence of this new discussion subject, and found it almost straight away: Nick Carbone writing in Time magazine points out that the language used to discuss men’s fashion is not very masculine. The idea of a ‘murse’ as seen on the catwalk this year (man+purse = murse) is apparently cringe-making to the average chap.
He also points out that market research group NPD claim that men’s clothing spending rose 4.6% in the first half of 2011, while women’s spending dropped 0.8%.
So it’s a subject of discussion (vocabulary allowing) and a big share of the market, but what are men really focused on?
Clothing that makes them look fit is the key requirement, apparently. Which is why the new football strip was such a disappointment. Each time there’s a new strip, it give the average man a change to wear some new styles without admitting to fashion interest. V-necks for example sell in much greater quantities whenever England are in the World Cup, as it legitimises ordinary men to wear a long-sleeved, v-necked top without feeling embarrassed. Similarly, long socks, snoods, gloves and short shorts all get purchased and worn much more readily when Beckham, Rooney, Ferdinand etc have demonstrated their usefulness on the pitch.