This is a guest post from Chris, a writer and blogger at Spend It Like Beckham.
It’s one of the oldest gender stereotypes in the book. You read about it in magazines. Comedians joke about it. You see it in films, adverts and TV.
The notion that women are expected to be better dressed, more highly groomed than men.
I would like to take this opportunity to argue the contrary, and there are a number of reasons behind this.
One of the classic stereotypes about couples that we hear about is that women spend more time getting ready than men do, but the point I want to make is that men do just as much preparation but perhaps in a shorter time period.
To argue my case, I’d like to break down the grooming of men and women into several key areas, and compare the two, and we can determine if you agree with this point of view.
When it comes to picking outfits, the research might show us that women have more to choose from than men in their wardrobes.
If you’re heading out for a formal evening with your girlfriend or wife, she might argue about the nuanced differences between a when a cocktail dress would be favoured over an evening gown.
The standard rebuttal that will get thrown your way will be something along the lines of “you just need to throw on a suit!” Now, any distinguished gentleman worth his salt will tell you that one does not simply ‘throw on a suit’.
There are rules that apply to men.
Should you be wearing a dinner jacket? Cufflinks? One breasted jacket or two? I could go on.
And I will; white shirt? Coloured shirt? Tie? Tiepin? Bowtie? Belt? Braces?
Yes, as I said, anyone can throw on a suit, but to truly pull one off is a considered item of clothing, and how you choose to wear one takes a keen eye and a working knowledge.
A look at your local drugstore or pharmacy tells us how much male grooming has come along in the last decade.
There once was a time when skin lotions and moisturisers were the preserve of the fairer sex, but now a quick look at the market shows us that there just as many products made specifically for us guys.
Spots and pimples don’t look good regardless of your gender, so both guys and girls should be using the products on the market to maintain healthy skin.
While there are just as many lady’s perfumes available to buy as there are men’s aftershaves, non-fragranced men smell worse than non-fragranced women.
That is simply a fact of life, whether it is down to genetics or something else.
The point I’m arguing here is that your average women could probably get away without perfume before they head of for the day, or night.
For men, it’s a different story.
Speaking from experience, I can barely last an hour after getting out the shower before the ‘musk’ starts kicking in. And nobody wants to smell that. I would say that there is just as much, if no more pressure on men to smell good as there is on women.
From an economic point of view, the scales will balance in the ladies favour.
Men will get criticised for having hair that looks untidy or unkempt. In many cases, however this might be the style that someone is going for. And it can take considerable effort to achieve this effortless look.
For those of us who prefer a tidier look, two trips a month to your barber might be required to keep that look sharp. Not to mention the gel and product needed to hold in place while you go about your manly activities.
Then we have beards to consider.
Waxes, oils, trims, and special shampoo are required to keep your facial fuzz looking luscious and presentable. Something women will never have to worry about!
Again it’s one of these things that we hear about from comedians.
How those girls spend all their money agonising over their shoes. And the variety of footwear they have to choose from.
Whether its stilettos, ballet pumps, trainers, sneakers, kitten heels, sandals, strappy sandals, or pumps, you can rest assured that women think they have the monopoly of footwear variety, right?
For gents, the selection of footwear on the market is just as far reaching, and complicated to navigate.
Does your average man know the appropriate time to rock a pair of boat shoes over sneakers?
When you might want to favour brown dress shoes with a dark blue suit instead of black ones? Probably not. But knowing where the differences lie is precisely what separates your average schmo from a well-dressed gentleman.
When it comes to make an impression to the right people, be they work bosses, in-laws, and everything in between getting these subtle dressing rules right, and ensuring you’re as well presented and groomed as your female counterparts is vitally important.
They build your reputation as a person and show that you take pride in your appearance and have confidence in yourself as a person.
On top of this, it’s also worth noting that very often, when going for job interviews, interviewers can be put off by what they deem as inappropriate dress. So getting your style right is doubly important when it comes to developing your career.
So there you have it. Do men require as much attention on their appearance as women? I think so.
Do you agree? Maybe. Maybe not.
But I’ll leave you with this.
Next time you’re going out for a fancy event with your wife or girlfriend.
If she’s taking an age to get ready, pull on some old sweat pants and a dirty t-shirt. When it comes to getting ready to leave, and she sees how you’re dressed, take note of her reaction. Then you’ll see the truth.
Main image courtesy: NejroN Photo/BigStock.com