‘Manly men’ have swapped boot-cut jeans for skinnies. Thank goodness

'I’m very much attracted to men who take their personal grooming as seriously as I take mine

Farewell to the days of bootcut jeans and plaid flannel shirts. Ciao to Lynx Africa and a number two all over. RIP to the manly men of days gone by. Photograph: istock

Farewell to the days of bootcut jeans and plaid flannel shirts. Ciao to Lynx Africa and a number two all over. RIP to the manly men of days gone by. Photograph: istock

 

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times. As a woman in my late twenties, I can remember a time when seeing a man in a pair of skinny jeans was scandalous enough to make the local papers.

This may come as a shock to younger readers, but there was a time when so-called ‘manly men’ wouldn’t be caught dead swapping their much beloved boot cut jeans for a pair of calf hugging skinnies. Lynx Africa was as exotic as their grooming routine could be stretched to, and their hands were rough and their accents rougher. This was what it meant to be a ‘manly man’ back in my day.

I think I was probably around fifteen or sixteen when I first began to notice a change. Suddenly there were men prancing around the town in skinny jeans. It was utterly shocking. Soon after followed the cardigans, and intentionally styled hair. I struggled to get on board with the changing times, yearning only for the ‘manly men’ and ridiculing these new trailblazers.

It never occurred to me that fashion could be genderless, or that it should be

Granted, I was harsh in my judgements. But I was only a grasshopper. Sure how was I to know that by slagging off the trendy boys I was unintentionally delaying the emancipation of men from their style shackles. It never occurred to me that fashion could be genderless, or that it should be.

I remember once telling a friend that I could never, nor would ever, date a guy who wore clothes of similar shapes and/or colours to my own. This was the bar by which I measured every male I encountered for a good solid five year period. If our jeans looked remotely alike, I wasn’t touching you with a twenty foot pole. Sure I’m the girl. I’m supposed to wear the girls clothes, not you. Ya feckin ejit.

Nevertheless I softened over time. Perhaps this is because deep deeeeep down I’m a lovely open minded person. Perhaps it’s because before long, all the men were wearing skinny jeans. I’ll let you make your own mind up on that one.

Either way, much like a rural Bus Eireann service I came round in the end, if not a little later than expected. Today I’m very much attracted to men who take their personal grooming as seriously as I take mine, which isn’t extremely seriously to be fair, but just seriously enough so as I look like I’ve made an effort more often than not.

I’ve also discovered the joy of sharing more in common with men than I ever have before. Now I can chat to them about fashion. What do you think of this whole ‘athleisure’ thing Sean? Tell me John Joe, do you use an eyelash serum or are they really that luscious naturally? The available topics of conversation between men and women, who if we’re being frank have struggled to find anything in common for manys a century at this stage, are multiplied tenfold. We can talk about loafers. Sure we can both wear loafers now. Or what about skincare. BB Creams are for everyone.

And I’ve realised too that this fashion emancipation has been exceptionally freeing to many men. Male friends of mine talk about the olden days as if they were the dark ages. I’d never realised just how much they’d suffered under the tyranny of traditional male fashion. I suppose it makes sense though. Boot cut jeans and plaid flannel shirts would definitely get real old, real fast. These days the world is their oyster. They have their choice of highstreet clothing brands, skin care brands, hair care brands. For crying out loud they have James Kavanagh! What more could you ask for?

The pig farmer in Cavan spends three minutes each morning perusing his collection of colognes before settling on the one that’s just right. It’s Tom Ford, obvs

Even cosmetics brand like L’Oréal are starting to feature men in their ads of all things. Which I think is utterly fantastic. Can you imagine seeing a man discuss his favourite shade of foundation on the telly ten years ago? Can you imagine the uproar? Women like myself would’ve been out with our torches and pitchforks crying heresy and demanding justice for such an abomination. I’m not ashamed to say, well ok I’m a bit ashamed, that I would’ve been up front and centre. Off with his head, and all that.

These days men of all sorts are benefitting from our new found liberalism when it comes to fashion and style. The pig farmer in Cavan spends three minutes each morning perusing his collection of colognes before settling on the one that’s just right. It’s Tom Ford, obvs. The young fellas getting ready for Wezz are putting on fashion shows on the hall landing to narrow down their choices. The KPMG boyos are utilising bold footwear choices and hairstyles to stand apart from the crowd.

And what about my own Dad? A man of not insignificant years, indulging in enough skincare products to reverse the effects of twenty seven years of dealing with me. Sure there’s no stopping them. And even if there was, who would want to?

Farewell to the days of boot cut jeans and plaid flannel shirts. Ciao to lynx Africa and a number two all over. RIP to the manly men of days gone by. And good riddance!

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