NoYour fashion trends often cause a lack of understanding. Especially when they break their viewing habits. It doesn’t matter if a silhouette is simply revived and reinterpreted. As in the case of leggings on men’s legs, which can be seen in several current men’s collections. The fact that the sight of men’s legs in tight stockings has been completely normal for centuries quickly fades into the background.
But there is something else that worries the public; At least that’s what a look at the comments suggests; people write and read on this topic: the figure of man. More precisely, the statement that such tight trousers could be worn, if at all worn, only by men with a slim and trained body. To everyone else it looks more like “sausage skin,” says one comment, while another says: “About half the world of men walks around the country overweight. You don’t want to see them in leggings.
It’s hard to see her there either. Especially not on the catwalks of Miu Miu, Dolce & Gabbana and Gucci, the labels that presented men’s leggings in their winter collections – on young, slim models.
Perfect bodies can also be seen in the current Skims campaign. Here a pronounced six pack is paired with leggings. Very few viewers are likely to have it in this distinctive form.
Women now find it easier to recognize their own figure in that of models, even if it is not so ironclad. Sure, successful models Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser are above-average attractive, but their bodies are at least a little more similar to those of many women.
Models with sizes that go beyond the seemingly perfect measurements have long had careers. In 2011, Tara Lynn, Robyn Lawley and Candice Huffine posed in underwear on the cover of Vogue Italia. In 2016, Ashley Graham appeared in a bikini in Sports Illustrated. And the April issue of British “Vogue” featured Paloma Elsesser, Jill Kortleve and Precious Lee in skin-tight, slightly sheer dresses. They can also be seen regularly on the catwalks.
“The women’s fashion sector has much higher sales than the men’s,” underlines Alexander Botar, founder and CEO of the Berlin agency Indeed Models: “That’s why the men’s collections are smaller than the women’s.” Space for the much-vaunted diversity: in the men’s collections presented throughout Europe for this autumn and winter, according to the trade magazine “Vogue Business”, only eight labels out of 69 sent plus-size models on the catwalk.
Only experts know the names of male models whose sizes go beyond the supposedly ideal measurements: there is Zach Miko, who in 2016 signed a contract with IMG, one of the largest modeling agencies in the world, as the first plus-size model male. Steven Green gained attention two years ago in a campaign for Rihanna’s brand Savage X Fenty and James Corbin, discovered on Instagram during the coronavirus pandemic, has already modeled for Valentino.
In Alexander Botar’s agency there is a category called “Big & Tall” for male models from size 54. It was introduced about a year ago – this makes you bloom late, says Botar. In fact, many modeling agencies now have similar categories. Some even specialize entirely in plus-sized models, such as agencies like Curve Model Management in Hamburg or Curvy Agency in Duisburg. The market is becoming increasingly professional, observes Botar: “In the past, amateur models were often used in this sector. This is increasingly changing.
The sector is still a niche, but very profitable: “The competition is not yet that strong. The chances of models receiving orders are even higher.” However, it is not easy to find young people who want to pose in front of the camera as plus size models. “The topic of body positivity doesn’t seem to have caught on among men as much as it has among women,” Botar suspects. The controversial (and overused) concept of body positivity, especially for men, does not only concern clothing, but often also body type.
There is almost nothing you can do about it, other than weight and muscles. And the models are often tall, at least 1.85 meters. More and more online fashion shops offer so-called high collections. Particularly tall, but not necessarily full, models are used here. However, men often have to search longer for petite collections like those available for women.
Perhaps the development of female role models is more advanced because women do not hide their thoughts about their appearance, their vanity and their insecurities as much. Cosmetic procedures, for example, are discussed lively, but at least openly. The female perspective is generally discussed and analyzed publicly with much greater naturalness than the male one.
Sometimes it is still considered “courageous” not to hide cellulite or show oneself without makeup, and pregnancy rumors continue to circulate due to a completely normal swollen belly. This is absurd – and fortunately it is decreasing. Even beyond the catwalks: Rihanna wears what she wants, no matter how pregnant she is or what size she is. Kate Winslet has refused to have her photos retouched for years. And Pamela Anderson recently appeared completely without makeup at Paris Fashion Week.
Now, makeup and pregnancy aren’t classic men’s problems (at least not the ones that affect your own body). But wrinkles and fat are. According to the German Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, eyelid lifts and liposuction are among the most popular procedures for men. Eating disorders also affect men: according to the Federal Center for Health Education, six out of 1,000 boys and men will develop bulimia and two will develop anorexia in their lifetime. Unrealistic and unhealthy beauty ideals target a particularly young audience on social media. Several studies show that the constant presence of presumed perfection can have a negative impact on young people’s relationship with their bodies.