January 3, 2008, - 12:38 pm
By Debbie Schlussel
Did you know we are now in the “post-metrosexual age,” where anything effeminate on men goes and is celebrated? Pearl necklaces on men? Sad. Blame the baby boomers, the aging hippies who keep on “giving.”
On Friday, when I posted about a “seamy” hew product for men–girdles–one reader wrote that, at least, there isn’t Hello Kitty for men.
Um, think again:
The planned products mark the first time Sanrio is developing Hello Kitty items especially for males, Tohmatsu said.
“Young men these days grew up with character goods,” said [Hello Kitty producer, Sanrio, spokesman Kazuo]Tohmatsu. “That generation feels no embarrassment about wearing Hello Kitty.”
Hello Kitty = Hello Girlieman.
And then there’s this from today’s Wall Street Journal–the newspaper which seems to have a running obsession with pushing women’s jewelry, clothing, undies, etc. on men. Yes, forget that song about diamonds being a girl’s best friend. Now, diamonds–and PEARLS!–are a (girlie)man’s best friend. They’re pimping pearl necklaces and bracelets for the male set. Eeuuww:
An enduring image of men and their jewelry is the 1970s guy with his polyester shirt unbuttoned to reveal a regrettable glimpse of gold chain. So it may seem strange that jewelers from Harry Winston to Kay Jewelers have been rolling out men’s pearl necklaces, pav?© diamond rings and gold bracelets.
Annual sales of men’s bling have taken off, nearly doubling from 2004 to 2006 and reaching $6 billion in the U.S., according to Unity Marketing, a research firm in Stevens, Pa. While we often blame trends on the young, it was a middle-age businessman seated beside me at a dinner last spring who unbuttoned his shirt collar to reveal a glowing black pearl on a leather cord. . . .
And there has been a recent run on $250 pearl bracelets for men at PearlParadise.com, where 5% to 10% of sales are for men these days, up from almost nothing five years ago. More than half of the 1,052 men surveyed recently by Harris Interactive said they view grown men wearing jewelry — other than watches, wedding bands and cuff links — as “fashionable” and “sophisticated.” [DS: More like, signifying testicles checked at the door.] . . .
A graying fifty-something man I know recently confessed to me that he purchased a necklace, saying it reminded him of one he wore back when he was in his 20s, the last time men’s necklaces were mainstream. This time around, “I just had to feel it on my skin,” he said, sounding primal. His wife rolled her eyes.
Some men may be taking their cues from celebrities. Among the men with gray at their temples who are adorning themselves, Pierce Brosnan wears a Tahitian pearl at his neck. [DS: No wonder he's no longer James Bond.]
The growth in men’s jewelry tracks a broader interest among men in their own appearance, with sales of men’s apparel, accessories, and even cosmetics on the rise. Indeed, the jewelry boom may be the latest outgrowth of the now-aging metrosexual phenomenon, in which young, urban, heterosexual men began to adopt personal-care habits such as eyebrow grooming that had long been more common among women. “In the post-metrosexual world, with David Beckham wearing nail polish and sarongs, you have the baby boomer who’s not growing old gracefully,” says Michael Macko, men’s fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, which has been selling a lot of men’s jewelry lately. “He’s exercising and having cosmetic surgery — there’s so much more acceptance of what you can wear.”
Fifty-year-old Milton Pedrazza, chief executive of the research group Luxury Institute, posits that “men are beginning to adorn themselves more because women are so much more self-sufficient and successful and far more picky, and now men need to compete in a more Darwinian fashion.”
This is what you get with the further blurring of gender roles. Women act like men. And men dress like women. All hail the new liberation. Thanks, baby boomers and hip-hoppers.
Tags: Chief Executive, cosmetic surgery, David Beckham, Debbie Schlussel Did, fashion director, Harry Winston, Hello Kitty producer, James Bond, Kay Jewelers, Luxury Institute, Michael Macko, middle-age businessman, Milton Pedrazza, Pearl Necklaces By Debbie Schlussel, Pennsylvania, Pierce Brosnan, Saks Fifth Avenue, Sanrio, spokesman, Stevens, United States, Unity Marketing, USD, Wall Street Journal