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What Men Want: American Men Fess Up On Style


The modern American guy wants to improve his style, but needs a bit of help. A new survey from The Doneger Group, the global leader in creative and merchandising strategies for fashion and retail, asked 350 American men about their style and shopping preferences. The results reflect a consumer who clearly sees fashion as a way of standing out but who is somewhat intimidated by it, presenting an opportunity for retailers to help modern men through guidance, looks and products.

The modern American male wants to attain ‘‘chill guy’’ status, a relaxed way of showing his individuality to stay ahead in work, life and love. He’s more expressive than ever, and open to brands and retailers that can help him find his groove. This survey confirms that.

Here are some of the surprising findings:

  • Men are more style-curious than they’re credited for, with 48 percent of men seeing style as a means of self-expression in comparison to 33 percent of men who see style as “a pain,” and the rest who see it as a necessity.
  • When asked what their best style statement is, the two top answers were the statement shirt (27.3%) and a haircut (25.9%), demonstrating their openness to try new things and be pampered.
  • While the majority of our men (57 percent) describe their style as “basic” (jeans, T-shirt, sneakers, i.e. Dadcore), their style inspirations are anything but, with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling coming in as their top two style inspirations. Brands and retailers have a strong opportunity to help this guy go from basic to cool.
  • Our guy is more quality-conscious than ever, as 64 percent of men said they would be willing to pay more for clothes made with higher quality materials.
  • He’s upbeat about spending in fashion, with 65 percent saying they will spend as much as last year, and another 15 percent saying they will spend more.

Here’s what Doneger deduced:

  • Men want style but struggle along the way. Give them style guides or delivery services that ease the process.
  • Men are looking for a means to stand out from the rest. A higher focus on grooming products and unique shirts is a winning strategy.
  • Men seek comfort but still have a classic look in mind. Deliver a new suited casual style that brings these aspirations together in a refreshing way.
  • Men, especially Millennials, still rely on stores for style inspiration and are subsequently still making purchases in-store. Deliver on in-store exclusives as well as experiences (e.g. how-to styling sessions).

Across the board, the typical American guy presents a strong opportunity for business and creative growth, with just a bit more style attention and love that can yield big growth and profits. And that, everyone wants.

Download Doneger’s comprehensive and complimentary What Men Want report with the full survey and key takeaways and insights.

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The Doneger Group is the global leader in creative, merchandising and business strategies for the retail, fashion and related industries. As retail’s trusted advisor, The Doneger Group is unparalleled in industry reach and expertise, providing the knowledge and confidence needed to make important design, product development, merchandising and business decisions.