As we evolve as a culture, a race and a people, our style of dress is equivocally altered. We watch as the Black male says farewell to (but will never forget) baggy jeans, oversized white T-Shirts and the hip-hop style of dress and introduces the world to The New Age Black Gentleman. It is a replacement that is long overdue.
While there is an admiration and a respect for urban fashion and all that it has done for our culture, there has been a desire and need for its maturation.
This change can be seen across all media, in many magazines, on television shows, and most often on our streets. There is no mistake that the young Black male has traded in the oversized jersey for a well-fit cardigan.
Iconic figures such as Kanye West, Pharrell Williams of NERD, and Andre Benjamin, also known as Andre 3000, of the group Outkast and other influential artists began to channel the likes of Miles Davis and Sammy Davis Jr. through their way of dress. A trickle-down effect occurred and soon button-down shirts and cuff links were on every young adult male’s Christmas list.
No longer are the men making quick runs to the local T-shirt store but instead to their tailor. We are watching as smoking jackets and blazers are replacing parka’s and hoodies. Christopher McMullen, stylist and fashion blogger known to many in the industry as Seth Brundle admits that he definitely feels a difference in his posture and his attitude when he is dressed in a suit as opposed to former wardrobe choices. “Style today is reflective of how you feel about yourself,” he said. “Your dress tells a person a lot about your personality, the manner in which you carry yourself and your level of professionalism. It is important to me to nurture this,” says McMullen. “As a young, professional Black male working with youth on a daily basis, it is important for me to dress accordingly. For many of my students, I am the only image of a Black male that they are familiar with or see on a daily basis. The way I present myself is important to their future.
” Ultimately, the way you dress is the way you act. If you dress professionally and gentlemanly, those characteristics are going to take over and you will find yourself becoming more professional and portraying gentleman-like qualities” adds, McMullen.
Although many believe that a person’s style of dress is reflective of all they do, it also is the way an individual is presented to the world, consequently this introduction is the way people develop their first impression of a person. As we encourage and embrace this style of dress, we also hope that a new respect is formed for the Black male not only from America but for themselves and for each other.