A well-groomed and well-dressed man is nothing new. Known as a “dandy” in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, those alive today may be more familiar with the term “metrosexual,” originally used to refer to young men with disposable incomes who had a desire to invest in their own physical appearances. Since the term was coined two and a half decades ago, so-called metrosexual behaviour has become, if not the norm, then at the very least normalized within our society. The term now feels outdated, functioning on the assumption that it is unusual or even remarkable for men to engage in personal hygiene or to care about their appearance.
As society continues to shift its attitudes surrounding masculinity, a new kind of fashion-forward man is emerging. His grooming and dress standards are impeccable as always, but fresh perspectives on gender and sustainability are giving him a renewed purpose.
THE GREEN-FEMININE STEREOTYPE
As outlandish as it sounds, there is evidence to suggest that our society has developed a cognitive link between femininity and “greenness.” This subconscious link discourages men from engaging in green behaviours, like recycling or shopping sustainably, all in order to safeguard their gender identity.
Thankfully, this green-feminine stereotype has become more widely recognized in the past few years. And this is what coincides with the birth of a new type of dandy: a man who actively opposes this phenomenon, and looks good while doing it.
In 2021, men who are more secure in their gender identity are often also more comfortable exploring their self-expression through fashion, and going green in the process. Modern brands like ATHRTY Amsterdam are taking it upon themselves to blur the gender boundaries that were so rigidly established in previous eras. Their luxury streetwear collections are completely unisex. Inspired by nature and produced locally and in small quantities in the Netherlands, ATHRTY is proud to offer a more sustainable and conscious approach towards consumerism and style. Of note is their Spring/Summer 2021 collection, which pays homage to the jellyfish. Whether on purpose or not, the three sets from the collection are in shades of blue and pink—colours that have long been associated with gender stereotypes. Despite this, each set looks perfectly at home being modeled on both a masculine and a feminine form.
While experimentation is always encouraged, some men already know that the classics are what are right for them. Their journey then is to find sustainable versions of these things they love, without sacrificing on quality. For Maarten Veer, the ultimate wardrobe staple for men is the white shirt. “Where women have their ‘little black dress,’ men should have their ‘perfect white shirt.’” This is why he started Ceesnco, a company that aspires to outfit men in a shirt they can rely on, season after season, for any occasion. Although it all started with the classic white, Ceesnco shirts are now also available in black, dark blue and light blue. Each shirt is made with 100% GOTS certified organic cotton and comes in a slim and regular fit. Veer’s goal is “not to add the trendiest shirt to a man’s wardrobe,” but rather to provide “the favourite shirt in that man’s closet and beyond.”
At first glance, ATHRTY Amsterdam and Ceesnco appear to be opposites. They represent streetwear versus office wear, genderless versus traditionally masculine expression. But on closer inspection, more parallels come into focus: both prioritize conscious production and both provide men with meticulously designed essentials that will serve their wardrobes for years to come. We see then that the new dandy, who exists at the junction of fashion, gender and sustainability, can take his personal style in whichever direction he pleases, without sacrificing on quality or impact. And whether he dresses himself for the purpose of climate protest, gender rebellion or for the simple joy of looking good, we hope that he is here to stay.