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Issue Date: May 2004 Issue

Straight Eye on the Fashionable Guy

The metrosexual boom has fueled an explosion in men's fashion, accessories and grooming products.
Kathleen Murphy Colan

Since metrosexual mania swept the country, more retailers of men's clothing, accessories and grooming products are straight-eyeing the urban male who indulges in spa services, follows fashion and has an interest in interior design.

The extra attention to the discriminating male has produced exciting alternatives to the same-old, same-old in clothing, accessories, grooming products and even domestic housewares.

The term "metrosexual" gained widespread notice in June 2003, when a New York Times reporter wrote about the trend that describes men as the new women in the eyes of mass marketers.

Dan Varnadoe, owner of Adesso Fashion for Men in Rocky River, says it's a result of television makeover shows such as "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

"Men are becoming much more conscious of how they look in terms of staying in healthy shape and it reflects in how they dress, too," Varnadoe says. "Plus, a lot of the suits out these days are cut trimmer and more tapered so some men feel the need to keep up with the trend."

He predicts that more men will be wearing the color orange, stripes on almost everything and the two-button suit, which returns in force.

"For years, we've catered to men who care about their appearance," says Varnadoe.

But it takes more than clothes to make the metrosexual.

At Nordstrom, men's skin-care products have their own place in the clothing department rather than with the women's cosmetics, which creates a less intimidating atmosphere for new customers, says Eduardo Macias, fragrance director for Nordstrom's Midwest region. The approach must be working, since sales are up.

Sales have also increased for men's product lines at Beachwood's Sephora during the past six months, according to store director Dawn Hoovler. The store has also added a line of men's products by Frederic Fekkai.

In fact, the recent influx of male customers has prompted Spa West in Westlake to build a men's services wing, which should be complete this summer. "We're making it private to make the men a little more comfortable in territory that was once traditionally known for women only," says Nicole Ponte, a manager at Spa West.

The metrosexual boom has fueled an explosion in men's fashion, accessories and grooming products.

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