Fashion is temporary, anyone who’s ever picked up an issue of GQ or Esquire knows this. As soon as you stock up on that new style of suit or shoe that is simply all the rage, we’ll be on to the next trend and your previous purchases will lack the statement of purpose you were so intent on displaying. Whoa is us, truly. When it comes to men’s fashion though, we’ve hit a moment in which two trends are mixing to create a hybrid quite unlike anything else we’ve seen in recent fashion history: the metro mountain man.
A decade or so ago, the term “metrosexual” was first introduced into the lexicon of style nerds the world over to demarcate those gents who simply cared about their appearance, some to greater extremes than others. This included a more tailored approach to clothing, dressing nicer for the most part, using more hair and skin products, and an increased focus towards grooming (aka BODY HAIR IS THE DEVIL AND IT MUST BE EXORCISED). Although certain aspects of the “metrosexual” trend provided positives, we were all ready for the obvious rebellion that followed in the form of the “lumbersexual.”
Were there a few other hipster-focused trends thrown about between these two seminal monuments of modern mens’ style? Of course, there were simpler times as beards continued to grow in popularity, but before we all went full outdoorsman. However, it was once the woodsman-inspired “lumbersexual” movement gained full steam that men truly started to embrace this is new look and philosophy.
Soon men were all swearing by workmans clothing, every type of work boot you can imagine, and, of course, flannel, but this was flannel designed for -10 degree survival, not just a plaid shirt from J. Crew. Essentially what the “lumbersexual” trend represented was a return to our “roots” as men and a focus in wearing clothing and projecting an image of craftsmanship, heritage, and hard work. All the while most of us were wearing these garments to our urban jobs featuring standup desks, iced coffee on tap, and summer half-days.
And now? Where have we arrived, but of course at an intersection of the “metrosexual” and “lumbersexual.” In theory it would make sense to dub our new men’s style trend as the “uptownsexual” or “not-quite-suburban-sexual,” (geographically-speaking) but the name “metro mountain man” does present a nice ring to it. Combining the ruggedness, and extensive facial hair, made popular by the “lumbersexual” trend and the attention to detail and cleanliness delivered by the “metrosexual” era, the “metro mountain man” look has been dubbed by many as the “dandy wildman,” (see: Gyllenhaal, Jake) however, we find that term misleading.
Our resident style expert Ryan Rosenkilde said it best, “I don’t consider myself a dandy and all I can picture when I hear “wildman” is someone foaming at the mouth. I’d prefer a title that more accurately describes the shift towards a more refined, yet equally rustic man. A man that has both a well-maintained beard but also a well-maintained collection of lapel pins and tie bars.”
The keys to really nailing this new look though are simple and can easily be accomplished with what you have on hand, probably. One thing to note though, we aren’t encouraging anyone to leave their more lumber-ish style behind if they want to keep the wooded times a’goin. Think of the “metro mountain main” as more of a special occasion look, possibly for dinner parties, dates, or the onslaught of weddings you’re more than likely facing over the next year.
Out Goes The Plaid, In Comes The Suit
The “metro mountain man” indulges in contrast and in no situation is this truer than when it comes to the beard and suit combination. One says rugged, while the other proclaims, “I’m classy as f*ck,” and it’s the perfect way to nail the best of both worlds. The key for the suit? Make sure it fits correctly. There is nothing more unsettling than seeing a guy wearing an ill-fitting suit, whether it’s too short in the arms and shoulders or if he looks like he might be wearing the same suit he sported pre-gastric bypass surgery. Basically, make sure the suit fits and you’ll kill it every time you suit up.
Give Your Beard A Trim
NOTE: We are NOT saying cut your beard so please pause before exploding into a fiery outrage in the comments. The “lumbersexual” man let his beard simply go and grow about naturally with little maintenance required. However, the “metro mountain man” keeps his beard under control, by no means finely trimmed to just above the skin, but in a fashion that says, “yes, I have a beard and yes, I know it looks great.” This is a look that allows you to boldly project confidence and let your beard be the focal point of your style without it overwhelming each of the other elements at play. If anything, the “metro mountain man” knows his beard plays well with the other aspects of his wardrobe and he isn’t afraid to show it.
Long Hair Approved
One of the most exciting things about the new “metro mountain man” trend is the insistence on longer hair. Obviously the likes of Leo DiCaprio, Kit Harrington, and Charlie Hunnam have all embraced the later-stage man bun as their hair length of choice, but you can see other guys embracing a longer, yet controlled hair style as well. Long enough to be able to run your hands through it, but by no means long enough to tempt yourself into tying it back. Man buns are great and please don’t assume we think otherwise, but they’re simply not for everyone. We suggest opting for this grown out look and if you want you can keep going over time. As with all things style, it’s best to have options.