Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Writer
Picture this scenario: it is one of those long off days at home and your spouse is demanding all your attention from the time that you have taken off your busy schedule.
Like the proverbial lovebirds, she tags you along to her hairdressing salon, where the affair is strictly women’s business, all characterised by the talk of the latest fashion this, latest hairdo that — obviously laced with the stories that women share to spend their ordinary day.
The question here is, what do you do, if she keeps on pointing in your direction as you are sitting on the bench positioned outside the salon just at the entrance, while having your favourite drink and trying to put up a mysterious face which does not reveal your feelings – that you are not at home in this set-up?
Obviously, it is a boring scenario for most men. However, gone are the days when men used to wait for their wives having a hairdo or shuttling from one boutique to another either quoting the prices or shopping.
Some men used to remain in the car while their women and children do their shopping.
Not that they didn’t want to shop but somehow a bit shy to shop for their underwear, shirts, ties, socks among others while in the presence of their family.
Though, in the country we used to have departmental stores such as Greatermans among others it was fading and it greatly affected some men.
Such stores like Edgars, Truworths, Topics and Barons have lived up to their billing when catering for men.
Again, thanks to the introduction of men’s boutiques, which have taken town by storm. These boutiques include Jan-Jam Menswear, The Celebrity, Wonderful Closet, Four May, Bachelor’s Republic and Palm Tree among others.
Rather than spending your time doing nothing as you wait for the queen to finish going about her seemingly endless errands, today’s man has found a way of putting his time to good use.
Good use indeed, and with some profitable results in the end.
Although it has been trending in some countries for years, the concept of men’s boutiques has caught up with Zimbabwean guys to the extent that they now find it pleasurable to accompany their ladies when they go out for their weekly or monthly fashion trip.
Not that men are pets like Fred Basset who always jump at every opportunity to go out and enjoy the fun, but men are adventurous and they are always after something unique, out of the beaten path.
And visiting the boutiques, getting to not only window-shop for the latest fashion designs from all over the corners of the globe, but also have a chance to pick something for their wardrobe is just as fun as angling for a good catch to go and show off at the workplace, social place and church.
In fact, the sprouting of men’s boutiques has actually enhanced the concept of fashion, whereby both men and women partners in this case can budget for an outing to their respective boutiques and help each other in making the pick that suits their tastes.
“My friend used to wear strictly clothes that his wife would buy for him while he was away at the office, but now, thanks to the men’s boutiques, he is now going out with her when he is not busy, takes her to his favourite fashion shop and selects what he deems is ideal for him, with her support of course.
“This helps in enhancing variety since men and women have different ways of looking at things, especially when it comes to fashion,” explained Micheal Kunaka of Mbare.
He said there are certain flavours which men prefer like the jungle or safari-wear, and women were not much into this stuff.
Kunaka added that, the men’s boutiques has contributed in a big way in strengthening bonds between couples since some people are now going to their boutiques as pairs but giving the other person enough time, space and choice to select what really appeals to them.
“Bonds are now strengthened since women can now go to the places where the men find what they really want to wear and this gives the men the freedom over their fashion identity,” he said.
Even the worry of one’s partner having gone too long to the boutique is reduced when the other partner knows that their partner is using his or her time doing fashion, and not the other suspicious thing they call infidelity.
In an interview with some male boutique owners they said for men, shopping is a mission.
“They are out to buy a targeted item and flee the store as quickly as possible.
Women are happy to meander through sprawling clothing and accessory collections or detour through the shoe department.
They react more strongly than men to personal interaction with sales associates.
However, men are more likely to respond to more utilitarian aspects of the experience — such as the availability of parking, whether the item they came for is in stock, and the length of the checkout line,” said Cynthia Bizure Sithole owner and founder of Jan Jam Menswear.
She said it was much easier to deal with men than women when it comes to fashion shopping.
“These days men are more conscious when it comes to fashion hence they also need their time alone in their boutiques compared to before and we have the right needs for them, all in one,” she said.
Wonderful Closet director, Wonder Chinembiri said he opened his male boutique in 2012 after noticing the trend men were following when it comes to fashion.
“Back then I used to do car-boot sales for men and I used to have clients calling me and later realised I should open a shop. There was great need to have one after noticing men were also competing with women when it comes to fashion,” he said.
Chinembiri whose shop is allocated along George Silundika said he specialises in weddings, corporate wear, churches and red carpet affairs.
“My inspiration came after noticing the trends in male fashion and how men were not catered for before in such field. I have pastors, prophets, ministers, diplomats, celebrities coming to buy the latest trends and you have to know what is happening around the fashion world,” he said.
Chinembiri said he buys his stuff in China. He said his fashion fetish for male is on colours.
“As you can see that is the trend these days, gone are the days men used to love dark colours, things have changed. I sell all types of suits and the shop is conducive for male environment as we also tend to extend our stylish skills in helping them on how to rock the attire,” he said.