Fashion, along with music, is a cultural trend that is a strong indication of the changing of the times. It’s common knowledge that there are fashions both in hair and clothing that simply are not in style any longer. How many mullets, bobs, and bowl-cuts do you see these days? Chances are not many. How about turtlenecks, V-shaped collars, and go-go boots? Unlikely. It’s a well understood fact that few people contest–as the times change so does the fashion.
The newest trend that’s causing tidal waves of uproar is the “male romper”. For those of you who are uninitiated by the term you can see the picture associated with this article or just picture a onesie with shorts that cut off around the lower thigh. They come in all sorts of colors, patterns, and a ton of controversy being that rompers have ‘traditionally’ been worn by women. There’s been all sorts of outrage along the lines of, “Rompers are here to abduct your masculinity” and “Rompers indicate a dangerous trend towards blurring gender lines”. I call this type of uproar “romper rage.”
I personally was surprised to see such an uproar considering how society has become more and more accepting toward unorthodox and absurd social nuances. And while you would never catch me dead in a ‘male romper’ I’m not offended by them and no, I do not think that masculinity is on the line (at least as far as these outfits are concerned).
To those with a case ‘romper rage’ I would argue that first and foremost history is not on your side. Believe it or not “male rompers” are not as cutting edge as you might think. Men have worn a type of ‘onesie’ type outfit (although not common) for decades going back to the 50’s and 60’s. Here we have pictured a couple of gents in rompers made for swimming…
Of course this went out of style as the times changed but I highly doubt people raged about the compromising quality of these outfits. Another example is the famous screen actor Sean Connery who wore a romper in the film Goldfinger as pictured in this photograph:
I don’t think anyone would argue that Sean Connery was not a masculine individual–he was James Bond for goodness sake–and while the fashion would probably not be considered the staple of masculine identification it doesn’t detract from it as far as I’m concerned. If you’re one who tends to skip leg day I would caution against it as you’ll probably end up looking like the world’s biggest chicken but as far as looking like the opposite gender you’d have to do quite a bit to sway me in that direction.
My second point would be that this ‘romper rage’ creates a fascinating double standard when it comes to gender fashion. Women have been wearing men’s fashions for years such as jeans, khakis, suit jackets, and ties and as the years went on these things have been accepted as normal wear. You can be sure that this was quite the controversy at the time but as the social fabric evolves new patterns are often cut into it that are generally accepted as time goes by. May I also remind you that the Scottish men have traditionally worn kilts, a type of skirt, and if you don’t think that Scots are masculine pick up a copy of Braveheart.
My point is that if women can wear traditionally men’s apparel then can men not wear certain hints of traditonally women’s apparel? It’s not necessarily a hard stance that I’m taking but it does create an interesting thought worth pondering and no one can deny that a certain double standard is created that is worth some consideration. Don’t get me wrong, I think that gender is sacred and should be protected. A man should not behave or characterize himself in a feminine way but I don’t think a romper is going to have a significant impact on how an individual’s gender is presented.
For me, I think it’s important that we realize a couple of things:
- What we wear does say a lot about us.
- What our sense of style says to others is not always in our control.
That being said you, dear reader, must take that information and do with it what you will. You can either choose not to care what other people think about your sense of style (it is your style after all) or you can proceed with caution knowing that there are people who will evaluate the way you dress, talk, and behave and make judgments based on those evaluations.
Newsflash: In case you didn’t know, everyone on this planet does that.
So my fellow men if you think you can rock that ‘male romper’ and not compromise your masculinity then I don’t find anything morally wrong with it and you can be sure that you won’t offend me. But there are others you certainly will offend and that should provoke some consideration.