Lisa Markwell: Suddenly I see Brünos everywhere

Men now seem more interested in their appearance than women are

Related Topics

The tight shorts, the expanse of tanned, toned thigh, the taut midriff. It's enough to make any woman jealous – except that, oh, it's a man. Sacha Baron Cohen, in the guise of Austrian fashion stylist Brüno, sashayed up to his film premiere in London on Wednesday night showing a physique that Madonna, Britney or Victoria would be proud to show off.

Yes, it's a role he's playing, but I can't believe Baron Cohen isn't getting more than a smidgen of pleasure from his buff body. He's right up there with Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand and David Beckham as a pedigree peacock. Hot pants, or quite literally pants, are now acceptable day wear. (Would wearing them as nightwear be any better, one wonders?)

Yesterday Ronaldo was pictured in the latest of his almost daily appearances with a new fashion accessory. This time it was a Gucci "man bag". Earlier in the week, Ferdinand teamed his thigh-huggers with a crop top. It was, the general populace hoped, a joke. Last week Beckham posed in the skimpiest of undies for Armani (well, at least he was getting paid for looking foolish).

Based on the above, it's possible to moot that men are becoming more interested in their appearance than women. And it's not just celebrities. Even at the school gates the dropping-off dads are working a vaguely metrosexual look, which involves artfully low-slung jeans and a tight T-shirt that shows off their "guns". That's what some men – tragically – call their biceps.

A 13-year-old boy of my acquaintance insists on tugging his school trousers down on to his hips, the better to show off the waistband of his (non-designer) boxers. That tiresome trend shows no sign of abating (and Jockey has just announced that sales of brightly coloured pants have risen 60 per cent in three months...). This week, a high-flying executive I was having lunch with couldn't wait to show me snaps of himself in Ibiza, wearing a neon orange Calvin Klein suit. No, he's not gay, but a married father of two. It turns out, on investigation, that the New York branch of CK sold out of neon suits the day they arrived.

Of course, there's absolutely nothing wrong with men taking more interest in their attire – the neon orange was strangely alluring. If it means one less man this summer will step into the park in a sleeveless nylon t-shirt, or shorts with socks and brogues, that's got to be a good thing. Apart from anything else, it helps the economy.

In the face of financial doom on the high street, where sale signs are being hoisted all around, Harrods will next week unveil its newly revamped menswear department, complete with Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga amongst a plethora of other high-end fashion labels.

There's a fine line between attentiveness and narcissism, when it comes to men and fashion. Here are some tips. Manscara and guyliner are never acceptable. Strimmed nostrils are to be welcomed; waxed legs are not. A pale pink shirt can look jaunty; hot pink trunks just look like a joke.

Women have worked for years at looking chic in a nonchalant way; it's not easy, I'll grant you. But, men of the world, don't let Brüno's wet-look vest or leopard-spot smalls put you off trying to get in touch with your inner dandy. Perhaps Harrods could employ an on-site style guru to advise. And no, Sacha/Brüno, it's not a job for you.

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Tactical voting is a necessary evil of the current first-past-the-post system, where voters vote against what they do not want rather than in favour of what they do  

Election 2015: Voting tactically has become more fraught in new political order

Michael Ashcroft
Ed Miliband said the Tories are a danger to family finances  

Election 2015: Me, my 18-year-old son, and why I’m voting Labour

Matthew Norman
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before