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Men ‘overlooked’ by the high street

More than half of men in the UK (57%) feel “overlooked” because retailers are too focused on womenswear, according to a new poll conducted by N Brown’s menswear business Jacamo.

A third of the 2,500 men over the age of 16 surveyed said they struggled to find clothing to suit them, while a further 28% said clothing on the high street did not cater for their size.

One in seven men (14%) said they struggled to find their own sense of style and a fifth feel intimidated by clothing shops.

However, two-thirds (61%) said wearing the right clothes – a well-fitting tux or suit, for example – made a big difference to their confidence.

A spokeswoman for Jacamo menswear said: “Men have been ignored in this debate long enough. We want to start to engage with them on the subject of body confidence and really dig deep to find out and raise awareness of what makes them feel better about themselves.

“With more than 24 million men in Britain, it can only help to normalise this topic with both men and those who are influential in their lives.”

The report revealed that 48% of men desperately want to lose weight and 41% want to tone up. Half (54%) are unhappy with their midriff, while one in seven wished they had bigger pecs. One in six men (14%) dislike their hair and 11% feel self-conscious about their upper arms.

Many of the men surveyed said they felt anxious when watching films or TV programmes featuring “unrealistically attractive” men with good bodies (16%), and around one in 16 say this is made worse when their partner looks at images of men with bodies they don’t feel they could ever achieve.

Another factor that bothered those surveyed was when friends had great bodies (13%), while one in 20 (4%) felt under pressure because their partner has a good body.

However Rebecca Marks, consultant at Conlumino, said the high street had invested heavily in menswear over the last 18 months.

“We have seen a large trend in menswear clothing adopting more skinny and slim fits, such as super skinny jeans and slim fit suits. Also if you consider major retail players like New Look, one of its key investments going forward is menswear. It poached its new menswear director from H&M, and is expanding into menswear standalone stores.”

She added: “The main issue is that men shop and browse differently to women – retailers have a higher interaction with women than men on social media, and are therefore able to react faster to their likes and dislikes. This interaction also makes women more aware of the high street offer than men are, and also how to wear it, which eliminates the intimidation that men may feel.”

In response to the report’s findings, former England cricket player Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff and comedian Jack Whitehall have teamed up to help men deal with body confidence.

The pair feature in a video where Flintoff admits he felt “old” in the dressing room when he was surrounded by younger, fitter team-mates.

Speaking of his feelings towards the end of his career, Flintoff said: “You’re 37 with your belly hanging over your trousers and you’re surrounded by fit lads in their early 20s; you feel old.”

The video is available on Jacamo’s website and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

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