No sooner had the RompHim appeared, but it was the target of criticism and humorous memes. My own objection to the name was that it joined a growing list of unnecessarily gendered style terms -- man bun, boyfriend jeans and the like -- that seemed to signify a transgression of gender rules. Since rompers have a long history of unisex and masculine design, it seemed an odd choice. Of course, ACED Designs probably intended to give their project a rebellious aura and make clear the intended market for the RompHim: men so secure in their masculinity that they can and will wear anything. Men like James Bond.
Ridicule plays an important role in policing men's appearance and behavior. It can be the first warning a boy or man gets that if he persists, he risks harassment and ultimately violence. In my long ago dissertation research, I studied how cartoons making fun of older, more formal styles helped accelerate the transition to the modern business suit. Psychologists who have studied fashion behavior have found that "avoiding ridicule" is the top motivation for men's clothing and grooming choices, in contrast to women's number one reason, which is to look attractive.
This begs the question, "Will the RompHim survive the memes?" According to their Kickstarter page, they not only exceeded their fundraising goal, but quickly sold out the first production run. In another year we will be able to see if it is the wave of the future or this year's Nehru jacket.
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