For some men, an old concert T-shirt—torn, stained, beloved, and worn primarily when mowing the lawn or working on the car—is as close as they will ever get to collecting vintage fashion. Others have learned to love that old Hathaway shirt their fathers gave them so many years ago. It was way too big at the time, but what do you know? All of a sudden it fits like a glove!
Which is not to say that men, as a species, lack an appreciation for vintage fashion. There are countless connoisseurs of cloth who genuinely appreciate the tight-waisted cut of an Edwardian dinner jacket, or the way some vintage Levi 501s had both loops for a belt and buttons for a pair of suspenders. These men can tell a Gucci shirt from an Abercrombie & Fitch in a single glance, a pair of Prada trousers from a pair of Versaces in two.
The fact is, men care about how they look every bit as much as women do, but they arrive at their plateau of self-esteem much differently. Most women tend to dress for the partners they are trying to attract, for each other (as everyone from the Who to Van Morrison has sagely observed), and for themselves. All of those requirements must be satisfied before they are ready to step outside the sanctuary of their dressing rooms.
Most men just want to look good, or better yet cool, as if these subjective opinions were objective truths. The good news for such souls is that vintage clothing can usually help them get there, unless, of course, they decide to wear that old concert t-shirt to dinner at their in-law’s house.