The ‘RompHim’ (male romper) was released around May of last year through a company called Kickstarter with a goal of $10,000 in backing. Since then, they have made over $300,000 and generated a lot of buzz – mostly of various mixed emotions. Some believe that this is a fashion revolution, and others think it’s a step back in the quest for gender-neutral dress and positive body image.
On social media, the RompHim Instragram aesthetic can be described with the three F’s: fitness, football, and food. Masculinity is the forefront of their campaign, displaying muscular men playing sports, drinking beer, and having a full social calendar. Even the functionality of the romper is adapted for men, with a zipper down the front for bathroom purposes, and extra pockets on the front and back of the garment. According to the Daily Beast, for the rompers success it must, “encourage men to really enjoy and indulge the performance of fashion, while also encouraging them to be secure enough in themselves to do so,” (Teeman). Therefore, by marketing the romper for a masculine male – they’re doing both of these things. However, an article in the Huffington Post suggests the opposite, “It’s a sign of “male fragility” that men would even need a so-called male romper to be on the market in order to have the courage to start wearing rompers,” (Fallon). In many ways, this is true – the article lists off many other seemingly feminine products, like scented soaps or candles that get labeled and packaged differently for men, while women have had no problem adopting male styles. However, there is a huge market for men who want to me masculine, and it wouldn’t make sense to not sell your products in such a way that adheres to the market – especially because men wearing rompers / jumpsuits has been around for years, but marketing it towards men has caused it to become a trend. Lets look at this with a gendered lens to one degree, the male romper is a step forward in gender-neutral dress, because it’s taking a style traditionally worn by women and children, and giving it the functionality and desire to be adopted by male dress. On another degree, it’s further fueling the industries need to categorize clothing into genders.
Another reaction to the male romper was its affect on body image. Similar to many trends that pass through the fashion cycle – the male romper is suppose to be wearable for all shapes and sizes, but really only for someone with a trim figure. As illustrated in the Daily Beast, “If you like carbs and have been neglectful of your side planks, approach the male romper with extreme caution,” (Teeman). Just one of many similar posts about the romper. Traditionally, body image is seen as a problem more with women than with men, but trying to fit the look of a muscular man is just as much an issue. RompHim uses a muscular, masculine, looking model to produce a desire for the product – so they’re selling a body type and a garment at the same time – which effects the way men look at their bodies. We need to be looking at the way fashion effects body image on a larger scale, instead of merely assuming it’s limited to women.
Overall, the male romper has produced a noteworthy buzz, which is important for any emerging fashion trend. However, it furthers the notion that brands should market their products to one gender, instead of the inclusive neutral dress that our society should be pushing for.
Fallon, Claire. "The RompHim Isn't Just Lame Wordplay, It's Male Fragility." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 18 May 2017. Web.