This week, a look at the influencers, blogs and fictional characters who are looming large in the world of menswear. Scroll down to use Glossy+ Comments, giving the Glossy+ community the opportunity to join discussions around industry topics.
It’s easy to pinpoint the most influential people in women’s fashion. Influencers like Sofia Richie Grainge and Aimee Song have millions of followers on Instagram and regularly collaborate with fashion brands.
But who men are influenced by is a bit harder to place. Data shows that fewer men tend to follow influencers on social media than women. Men ages 16-24 are the most likely to follow influencers, but only 25% of them do. The sheer number of influencers is heavily weighted toward women, as well. Seventy-seven percent of fashion influencers are women, by one estimate. Meanwhile, the global menswear market size is worth around $550 billion.
This week, as Skims announced its highly anticipated menswear launch, it tapped into a couple of go-to categories for men’s style inspo, including athletes. Brazilian soccer player Neymar, one of the most famous and well-paid athletes in the world, is featured in the campaign. Also featured are NFL player Nick Bosa and digital-native influencers including Bradley Thor, also known as the guy who chops wood on TikTok.
Neymar, who has more than 200 million followers on Instagram, received over 1.6 million likes on his Instagram post about working with Skims. Athletes like Neymar remain a source of inspiration for me, as do musical artists like A$AP Rocky, whose many collaborations with brands from Dior to Guess have made him a men’s style icon.
But who else is influencing men’s fashion purchases? We spoke with a dozen men, all of whom actively seek out fashion inspiration from different sources, about what influences them. The responses ran the gamut from film and TV characters to fashion designers to grandparents.
Anthony Landi, 31, an architect and menswear enthusiast based in Philadelphia, said his main sources of inspiration are specific fashion designers, even as they move between brands.
“I love to find someone who knows what they’re doing, has a strong voice in the space and creates a scene around it,” he said. “Teddy Santis [founder and creative director of Aimé Leon Dore] is a great example.”
Landi also mentioned Brendon Babenzien, the founder of Noah who’s currently serving as men’s creative director at J.Crew, and the menswear blogger Derek Guy, also known as “the menswear guy” on X.
Guy himself does not consider himself much of an influencer. He eschews most brand partnerships, he said.
“This is not a shade on brands or anything, but I try not to work with brands,” Guy said. “I try to keep them at arm’s length.”
Guy takes inspiration from the history of menswear, citing archival images of quality 20th-century tailoring as a major inspiration. He also praised the recent trend of men’s designers taking inspiration from womenswear, which he documented in a recent X thread.
Several men said that characters in film and TV are major sources of fashion inspiration.
“[I’m inspired by] a mix of what is on sale at Uniqlo and Macy’s, ’70s male leads in movies, and people who aren’t trying to be stylish or postured against the desperation of Reddit men’s style,” one man said.
Throughout the years, actors like Ryan Gosling in the Nicolas Winding Refn film “Drive” and Jeremy Allen White in Hulu’s “The Bear” have become instant style icons for men. Gosling in “Drive” almost singlehandedly brought the Harrington jacket style back to life in menswear, while White’s famous white T-shirt in “The Bear” became a sensation.
Tres Dean, a menswear writer and editor with bylines at publications like GQ, said these characters are mainstays in his own fashion evolution.
“It always comes back to movies for me,” Dean said. “They’re what sparked my interest in menswear, and it’s hard for me to watch just about any movie without an eye on costuming and styling. I think Brad Pitt wears shirts better than just about anybody who’s ever lived. Plus, my stupid broken brain can name every single piece of James Bond clothing, in any scene, and I got distracted by Cate Blanchett’s The Row coat in ‘Tär.’”
When the first season of “The Bear” was airing in August of 2022, costume designer Courtney Wheeler who worked on the show told Glossy that iconic menswear moments in TV and film are increasingly influencing how men dress.
“For so long, men weren’t allowed to be so exacting,” Wheeler said. “They weren’t necessarily paying attention to what clothes men in film were wearing unless it was a suit. But that’s changing.”
But traditional social media influencers do still have a role in men’s fashion, especially as men, in general, have grown more comfortable taking an interest in fashion. The rise of figures like Derek Guy; the menswear podcast Throwing Fits, hosted by James Harris and Lawrence Schlossman; the footwear-focused social media account Muleboyz created by Noah Thomas and Jian DeLeon; and a number of TikTok stars like Albert Muzquiz all are part of the growing media ecosystem around menswear. Guy, Muzquiz and Throwing Fits all have hundreds of thousands of followers across their social media accounts.
Muzquiz, in particular, has become something of a guru in the menswear space. In addition to his popular TikTok account and collaborations with companies like Harry’s and Ron Herman, he has a weekly Substack newsletter with over 2,000 subscribers that goes deeper into the history and philosophy of his take on menswear.
“Muzquiz’s influence not only on how young guys dress these days but how menswear influencers present themselves can’t be overstated,” Dean said. “He hasn’t just influenced the way guys dress, but [he also influences] the way they talk about getting dressed. There’s also Jake Woolf (58,000 Instagram followers). His approach to menswear is really accessible and instructional, whether he’s breaking down Austin Butler’s wardrobe or just teaching folks how to look for cool vintage pieces on eBay.”
A number of men also told Glossy that they’re influenced by people in their everyday lives like grandparents and coworkers.
“My favorite clothes are button-down short-sleeve T-shirts that I call my grandpa style, inspired by my actual grandpa,” said Jared Corwin, a screenwriter and producer based in Los Angeles.
James Lettieri, a 31-year-old ad tech analytics manager based in New York City, told Glossy that just walking around the city each day provides enough inspiration without the need for specific influencers.
“By just working in SoHo and keeping an eye out, you’ll walk by a stranger with an aspirational look almost every day,” he said. “That and anyone in the Todd Snyder catalog.”