Defying traditional fashion norms, a new trend dubbed the “old man style” is captivating the attention of young Chinese women who are increasingly placing comfort at the forefront of their clothing choices.
This unconventional movement involves the adoption of oversized men’s clothing as a deliberate response to simultaneously combat body-shaming and the limitations imposed by standard sizing practices in China. The surge in popularity of this trend can be attributed to the struggles many Chinese women face in finding clothing that fits well, leading to numerous individuals having to select sizes significantly larger than their own measurements.
The emergence of this trend has been highlighted by numerous personal accounts online, including one Chinese Gen Z individual, May, who disclosed her struggle to find adequately sized women’s clothing despite her petite frame. Her experience is shared by many others who have encountered a similar predicament while shopping for clothes. Swooping in to save the day, the rise of the “old man style” has become a transformative experience for these women, giving them a newfound way to dress comfortably and confidently that goes completely against the grain of typical Chinese beauty standards.
This trend’s impact has extended to social media platforms, with the hashtag “old-man style” garnering over 60,000 views on Xiaohongshu. Supporters of this movement have cited various advantages of men’s clothing over their female counterparts, emphasising their comfortable designs that allow for greater freedom of movement and alleviate concerns about body weight. The classic colour palettes found in men’s wardrobes provide an additional dash of timelessness and classiness that many women find appealing.
Another striking aspect of this trend is its economic allure, as men’s clothing often boasts more affordable price tags compared to its female counterparts. By purchasing men’s clothing, Chinese women also defy the imposition of the “pink tax”, a phenomenon in which products targeted at women are frequently priced higher than equivalent items designed for men. This financial aspect further strengthens the trend’s impact, aligning it with broader movements advocating for fairness and equality in the market.
This newfound trend also coincides with the burgeoning body positivity and unisex fashion movements currently prevalent in the West. For Chinese women specifically, the “old man style” is not merely a pursuit of comfort but also a means of projecting professionalism and maturity, especially within the workplace.
Overall, as Chinese women continue to challenge societal norms and expectations, the “old man style” trend represents a shift towards clothing choices that prioritize comfort, practicality, and body positivity.