Men aren’t Neanderthals when it comes to fashion, after all.
According to a new study by The Boutique @ Ogilvy, the men’s wear market is expected to rise 8.3 percent by 2017, to $110.3 billion, eclipsing the projected 4.2 percent growth rate of women’s wear. In addition, men spend about $85 a month on apparel and accessories, $10 more a month than women.
The vast majority of men — 94 percent — said they have a “defined” sense of personal style, with 53 percent describing their style as casual or relaxed. Practical and utilitarian was the second most popular style, followed by professional, outdoorsy, preppy, athletic and unique or bold. So confident are men in their “look,” only 6 percent said their personal style is a work in progress.
“Men have a clear perspective on how they want to look, but they need that reassurance or validation to go ahead and make a purchase,” said Brooke Blashill, director of The Boutique @ Ogilvy.
Blashill said that the casual or relaxed look, which The Boutique @ Ogilvy calls Basic Bro, reflects what’s being seen this week on New York runways. “It’s coming through at shows. Designers such as Baha East and Hood by Air have had massive success as upscale streetwear. There’s Public School and Kramer & Stout,” she said. “Docker’s celebrating its 30th anniversary is another proof point of the casual trend.”
The Boutique @ Ogilvy surveyed 1,232 American men, age 18 and older in an effort to gauge their shopping habits. While most men identify with a certain style, Millennial men are more likely to associate with athletic or ath-leisure than other age groups. “For the younger generation that’s starting to enter the workforce there’s more opportunity to express their personality than the generation after the Baby Boomers,” Blashill said.
Forty percent of men said they seek some sort of sartorial inspiration. More than a quarter, or 27 percent, said they are “dressed” by their spouse or significant other, followed by friends, 17 percent; stores, 16 percent; family, 14 percent; street style, 11 percent, and magazines, 10 percent.
Thirty-five percent of Millennial men turn to friends for style advice, but among the Silent Generation at the other end of the age spectrum, the figure is only 8 percent. Instagram influences 18 percent of Millennials, but only 4 percent of Generation X and none of the Baby Boom or Silent Generation. Celebrities influence 15 percent of Millennials, but none of the Silent Generation, while blogs are considered by 9 percent of Millennials, but not at all by Baby Boomers or the Silent Generation.
Men are most persuaded to purchase clothing by its value, whether it looks good on them and sales or promotions. Under 35-year-old guys are 27 percent more likely to be influenced by sales staff than their older counterparts, who are 18 percent as likely. They rank the ability to try on items as the most important aspect of shopping in a physical store.
For the 6 percent of men who are still trying to define their own style, “That’s an opportunity for retailers to step in,” Blashill said.