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Men going girlie over designer fashions

PUBLISHED: 10:29 05 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:57 22 October 2010

LORNA MARSH

There's a strange phenomenon that I've only noticed quite recently despite - in retrospect - its build-up over the years. It's not the fact that the psychologists on Big Brother are evidently as worryingly unstable as the contestants they claim to screen, no it's to do with a quite definite role-reversal within the sexes.

There's a strange phenomenon that I've only noticed quite recently despite - in retrospect - its build-up over the years.

It's not the fact that the psychologists on Big Brother are evidently as worryingly unstable as the contestants they claim to screen, no it's to do with a quite definite role-reversal within the sexes.

In most other respects, mainly the ones tagged with a convenient lad culture label, men and women have sort of melded over the years into a being with two heads, each one outdoing the other on how much they drink or how many women they've kissed. But when it comes to clothes the guys are definitely beginning to follow the rest of the animal world in terms of their rich plumage.

Forget the revolution, not so long ago, that allowed men to wear pink shirts en masse this cultural change has seen them take over women perhaps not in terms of the amount of clothes they buy but at least in how expensive they are.

Men of a certain demographic (I wouldn't dare suggest what comprises this as I don't like hate mail) don't just like their labels now they love them. Jeans have to be that particular brand, trainers one of a couple of others and as long as the t-shirt is at least £40 anything goes.

Because most importantly men's clothes now have to be reasonably expensive.

Yet most women I know now pride themselves on their ability to find something that looks like it should have cost £50 but actually only set them back £15. Or in my case even, £5.

Gone are the days when only designer 80s shoulder pads would do, upon the straightforward question “that's a nice top, where did you get it from?” female friends are rendered incapable of a single-noun answer.

Instead there's a whole detailed explanation of how it should have been £70 but was reduced to half-price then a one-day sale spectacular knocked another 20pc off. Of course the alternative is the simple “Prada, £3” completed by a smug, knowing look; Prada being not the upmarket designer label but a convenient-for-the-bus nick-name for the far more prevalent cheap high street store.

For even my cosmopolitan female London friends with their Anya Hindmarch (no I didn't know either but very covetable apparently) purses worth nearly as much as the credit cards inside have finally succumbed to the lure of Primark.

Yet male friends in Cantley (not that there's anything wrong with Cantley) still insist on scouring Norwich's finest independent stores to find the most expensive pair of socks on offer.

Maybe it's because they don't buy as much and there's not the inordinate pressure to spend thousands on a hardly ever worn shoe collection.

Or perhaps it's merely that even in humans men really are the peacocks and the burden at last is off us females to lavish our hard-earned cash on clothes that will go out of fashion by the next quarter.

Either way I think more feminine fashion for men is the next move - at least then we can borrow their expensive stuff while hoarding our own bargains safe in the knowledge they won't touch them.


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