Despite its best efforts, the media fails to pull one over on (the vast majority of) men:
At last count Cargo had 373,727 subscribers, according to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, which does not break down numbers on how many are metrosexuals. Introduced by Condé Nast in March 2004 as the men’s equivalent of Lucky, Cargo seemed to be an instant hit with consumers. It was a ready source of validation for any number of articles about trends in men’s grooming and luxury products.
“More guys flash jewelry,” wrote The Denver Post, citing Cargo. “Shaving pits latest trend for today’s manly men,” trumpeted The Kamloops Daily News in British Columbia, also invoking the magazine. Articles about the “return of the dandy” in The San Antonio Express-News and about how “men enjoy pampering too” in The Triangle Business Journal of Raleigh, N.C., relied on the magazine. And last week an article by this reporter in The New York Times about men with beards cited as evidence two editors of Cargo.
“I don’t think the idea of a shopping magazine for men is wrong,” said Joe Zee, its former editor, who now works on special projects for the company. “It all just happened too much too fast. The idea of metrosexuals was something created by Madison Avenue for advertising reasons. It was such a gimmick that, of course, it was going to fall flat at some point.”
Given that I have my suits and shirts custom made, I devote conscious thought to my footware loyalties – currently Adidas (soccer, gym) and Geox (dress) – and that Spacebunny receives invitations to shows by Milanese designers, you’d think that I’m a pretty fashion-conscious man, of the sort that the media glorified in proclaiming a metrosexual trend.
I’m pleased to say that not only did I never read the aforementioned Cargo, but I’d never actually been cognizant of its name. (I had read somewhere that there were two magazines, the existence of which proved the metrosexual trend, but that was all.) Nor did I buy into the mythical “trend”. What magazines do I follow? Sports Illustrated, the Economist, New Scientist and Computer Gaming World.
The truth is that men of style ignore fashion. Fashion is female and ephemeral. It changes from year to year. Boys can be trendy if they want, after all, there has to be a way for one generation to signal its differences from its predecessors and once the girls of an age collectively decide what they want, the boys have to follow suit if they wish female favors to be conferred upon them.
A man, on the other hand, simply dresses as he does. Regardless of whether you habitually wear a suit made by Armani Collezione, a swim suit and suntan lotion or a cowboy hat and wife beater, true male style is to go with what is most natural to your personality, the occasion and your occupation.
As for those three hundred thousand would-be trendfollowers, well, those that were nominally of the male sex should be ashamed of themselves. You might as well go all the way and subscribe to The Advocate, or better yet, grow up and learn that dressing according to a magazine is little more than advanced Geranimals.