There’s a flavor for every style.
The Menswear Influencer landscape has flourished over the past decade. An entire generation of accounts have sprung up in a diverse and ever-expanding system of social media outlets. This fertile habitat has allowed influencers to proliferate exponentially, filling every available niche. We’ve all had the privilege of living through a golden age of independent content creators broadcasting their influence through social media. The fashion landscape, perhaps more than any other consumer vertical, has been fundamentally altered – or influenced, if you will – by these glorious creatures.
Join us as we take a journey through the Menswear Influencer landscape and explore the various archetypal species that inhabit this most fashionable of content mediums. We’ll start where it all began with the humble selfie taker, sharing sartorial insights with the world through self portraits. From there we will travel down the data stream as it meanders across Instagram, Youtube, and eventually deltas into the exceptionally fertile new habitat known as TikTok. The safari begins.
Old School Selfie Guy
Not long after man invented the camera, he turned the lens upon himself. Self portraits go back as far as hand held cameras but they really took off when cell phone manufacturers started putting a second camera facing the user. This technical innovation coincided with the rise of social media, establishing a clear path for the first forays into fashion influencing: The Selfie.
Selfies are so simple to set up and easy to execute that they remain the most commonly used format for sharing one’s style. Both fashion influencers and civilians alike depend upon the selfie for quick posts. It is not a stretch to say that the entire Menswear Influencer ecosystem grew out of this humble little humble brag.
Mirror Selfie Guy
The Mirror Selfie represents the earliest evolution of the Old School Selfie. At some point a few decades back – we’re not sure when – a Menswear Influencer decided to take his own picture in a full length mirror rather than use the self-facing lens on his phone. The resulting photo provided a broader, third person perspective that displayed the entire fit. Thus, the Mirror Selfie was born.
Almost as common today as its predecessor, the Mirror Selfie is the default format for fit sharing across all social media outlets. Whether it be the Outfit of the Day, displaying a new purchase, or a tutorial on building an outfit, the Mirror Selfie remains a dominant species.
The Horizon Gazer
Emulation is a driving force of evolution. When one species sees another do something that it finds advantageous, they emulate it to advance their own progression. In the case of the Menswear Influencer, they emulated the Horizon Gaze from fashion marketing and editorial. Long a staple of models posing for fashion photo shoots, the Horizon Gaze feigns disinterest and affects a casually cool look.
For Menswear Infleuncers, the Horizon Gaze required the assistance of a partner to take the photo. This was the next big step in the evolution of influencing – when it became a group effort to create better content than the competition. Looking off into the middle distance away from the camera was a minor variation on the selfie that catapulted Menswear Influencer culture into the realm of fashion editorial.
Sartorial No-Face Guy
Some Menswear Influencers prefer to separate themselves from their respective packs by giving the clothing all the attention. Adherents to this belief hold that the clothes are the point of it all, not their personalities (or lack thereof). They accomplish this feat by modestly removing their heads from consideration. Some do it to conceal their identity – how mysterious – but most do it to simply remove any distraction from the clothes.
The Sartorial No-Face Guy crops his selfies and portraits so that his outfit is displayed only from the neck down. Assuming there is no hat involved, this portrays the entire outfit without any human element, essentially turning oneself into a mannequin. Perhaps that is all that any of us style enthusiasts are anyway and only the Sartorial No-Facers have really come to terms with it? It remains to be seen.
The “Candid” Stroller
Once Menswear Influencing became a group effort and someone else was there to take the photos, we began to see posts injected with a sense of action. Street Style Photography, a sartorial cousin of the Menswear Infleuncer, was evolving at the same time and the two shared a similar habitat. The Influencers both influenced and were influenced by Street Style Photography and created what we now know as The “Candid” Stroller.
“Candid” Strollers are Influencers who arrange photos or short videos of them walking around in public. One often wonders where they are constantly going or if they are, in fact, going anywhere. Though they are carefully orchestrated – thus our scare quotes – they are meant to emulate the candid photography of paparazzi and Street Style Photographers. These Infleuncers like to display their menswear in action, out in the wilds of their natural habitat.
The Get Ready With Me Guy
Get Ready With Me Guys are Menswear Influencers who have taken it upon themselves to provide their followers with detailed tutorials on how to dress exactly like them. They hold that simply showing their outfits is not enough, and believe all of their followers need step-by-step instructions on how to assemble said outfits.
Taking on this additional responsibility was a significant leap in the evolution of Menswear Influencing. It was no longer just a visual experience for followers, it became interactive with audio or typed instructions. This enabled followers to dress like their influencer heroes unlike ever before.
The Flatlay Fan
The Flatlay is an age-old marketing technique of laying out products in an artistic formation then taking a photo from directly overhead. This has been a practice in the fashion industry for over a century. The more artistic Fashion Infleuncers were quick to pick it up and established their own breed of Menswear content.
Flatlays can consist of an entire outfit, a weekend’s worth of clothing along with the weekend bag you would put it in, an assortment of clothes in a particular seasonal variety, or many other varieties. The possibilities are limitless and the competition for success among the Flatlays depends on originality. That drive for originality to garner more influence results in ever more creative displays of menswear spread out from an overhead perspective.
Who doesn’t love opening up new things? It recalls the childhood joy of unwrapping birthday or Christmas presents. The Unboxer provides that joy vicariously for their followers by filming the opening process of new menswear goods. It seems that for many followers, watching someone else open new items is the next best thing to opening new items themselves.
The real draw of The Unboxer comes from the revelation of new, rare, or exclusive items. The more successful an Unboxer becomes, the more access they get to these desirable goods which provides them with greater success – a true symbiotic relationship between brand and influencer. Since it is a small and very competitive niche within the Menswear Influencer ecosystem, competition is fierce and success is difficult.
The Jumpcut Magician
When Menswear Influencers first emerged, technology was extremely limited compared to today’s standards. The kinds of editing techniques readily available to everyone now were uncommon, hard earned skills back then requiring special programs. Today’s Menswear Influencers can easily produce video content that looks like pure magic.
The most preferred editing trick of the Menswear Infleucers right now is the Jumpcut. Jumpcut Magicians dress themselves with wizardry once reserved for the stages of Las Vegas. With a snap of the fingers or a drop of the cloth, these Magicians are dressed in completely different outfits. Researchers are still unsure if it is an editing trick or black magic, but they are mystified all the same.
Merchandising appears everywhere goods are sold. Simply put, it is the art of displaying goods in a way that entices customers to purchase. For menswear, merchandising is a fundamental part of the retail experience. A particular type of Menswear Influencer has made a living from taking the practice from retail shops and adapting it to social media content.
In most cases, Merchandisers will photograph actual store displays. The more ornate the display, the bigger the draw on social media. Other Merchandisers do the work at home, rigging up their own displays or mannequins. From what we can tell, Merchandisers often have professional retail experience as this is a skill that requires professional training to execute at the highest level. While brick and mortar retail is dying off, Merchandisers are keeping their craft alive in the Menswear Influencer ecosystem.
The Vintage Visionary
An entire habitat of the Menswear Influencer ecosystem exists in vintage goods. Within that habitat, thrives a particular sort of Influencer dedicated to finding and sharing vintage menswear. This role was hard work back in the early days of social media as the vintage menswear market was not nearly as developed as it is today. However, as the market has exploded over the past decade, the Vintage Visionaries are now thriving.
Some Vintage Visionaries sell the goods they find and depend on their social media influence to draw customers. Others enjoy the hunt for themselves and keep what they uncover, only posting it on social media to share with other enthusiasts. For followers both shopping and looking, the Vintage Visionary provides a glimpse into the rich history of menswear only available on social media.
The Gear Gazer
A Gear Gazer is an exceptionally modest sort of Menswear Influencer. In a genre known for showing off your looks and drawing as much attention to yourself as possible, the Gear Gazers defer all the attention to the items themselves. Unlike Sartorial No Face Guy, they are removed from the content all together. Their photographs and videos are often closeups that showcase the details of desirable goods.
Gear Gazers admire menswear as one admires a painting. Great menswear can stand on its own, isolated from the wearer, and appreciated unto itself. They are often connoisseurs of craftsmanship, pointing out the details that demonstrate expertise and effort. This particular group of Menswear Influencers are perhaps the pickiest of all, bordering on snobbish. However, they simply know a great thing when they see it and can’t be bothered with anything less.
All Menswear Influencers practice education in their craft to some degree – it is a fundamental part of their role on social media. The Educators are specialists who took this one common factor and evolved into an entire subcategory of Influencer. They are easy to spot because they go into far more detail with their content than any of their peers. Educators approach menswear from an academic perspective. They are on a never ending quest for menswear knowledge and enjoy sharing that they have learned with other enthusiasts.
Educator content is laden with facts and explanations. They care more about the history of a garment than how to wear it now. Fashion is important to them in an entirely different way than other Menswear Influencers. They avoid all contemporary trends and prognosticate the heritage of all the great menswear that has come before us. Their dedication serves all menswear followers and enthusiasts alike.
The Female Perspective
The Menswear Influencer ecosystem is unsurprisingly dominated by men. When men are looking for style advice they almost always turn to other men. Yet most men – gay and straight alike – could abolutely benefit from some female perspective. That is why a small group of women have dug out their own niche as Menswear Influencers.
The Female Perspective provides a third person view of menswear that is both refreshing and brutally honest. Menswear Influencers can get stuck in an eco chamber of their own bad advice. There are just some trends that come up in our male blind spots and we need women to point them out to us. Not all men have women in their life that they can trust with fashion advice so fortunately there are Female Perspective Menswear Influencers that they can turn to.