High-Maintenance Man: the secrets of sophisticated post-oughties men who embrace their inner femininity

High-Maintenance Man: the secrets of sophisticated post-oughties men who embrace their inner femininity

The advent of the mid-’90s metrosexual made it OK for a dude to wear a pink V-neck and treat himself to bimonthly lowlights, but that’s about as far as mainstream hetero Toronto would stretch its definition of masculinity. Until now. Men’s fashion designers are seeking sartorial inspiration in the female closet, and man-pampering beauty brands are encouraging even the straightest-edge guys to make like RuPaul and primp. Toronto now has a niche industry to support the new fad. Call us sissy sympathizers, but we think it’s a refreshingly femmy antidote to the bearded, burly look of last year. Here, a survey of the city’s gender-bending cosmeticopoeia.

Statement jewellery
Toronto designer Michael Mercanti makes artistic unisex necklaces out of hardware so dudes can maintain their tough while also earning style cred with the fashion-forward set.

Liberty Village bakery For the Love of Cake wrests the cupcake free of its estro-laden Sex and the City baggage, with such macho flavours as maple-bacon and Guinness-chocolate.

One Toronto doctor reports a 50 per cent surge in male Botox clients. We blame George Clooney for setting unrealistic standards of handsomeness.

The Equmen Core Precision Under­shirt ($89 at Holts) appeals to the science-minded man. But c’mon—if it tames the spare tire, it’s a girdle.

Bling finger
You know gender roles are getting flexible when Tiffany’s starts carrying men’s engagement rings.

Distressed leather adds enough cowboy punk to save this $2,000 Balenciaga satchel from full-on pursedom. Oh, who are we kidding? It doesn’t get more Brokeback than this.

Meggings and mantyhose
Worn as a comfy substitute for long johns in winter, or with a man skirt, of course, men’s hosiery is practical and brazenly flamboyant.

Man pumps
Danny DeVito must be clapping his wee hands for this trend. John Fluevog’s Perry boots add two and a half inches of altitude and oodles of attitude to any man who can work them without wobbling.

Man skirt
A staple at Marc Jacobs’s runway shows, the airy A-line garment made its way into H&M’s spring collection, letting guys show a little leg without resorting to the always-unflattering Bermuda short.

Good grooming gets maxed out at Mankind, an upscale new studio in the Fashion District that specializes in mankini waxes, along with male manis and pedis.

Fancy skin care
Bread and Butter, a local brand of cosmetics, disguises its frou-frou all-natural lotions in butchy black bottles labelled with a robust font.

Illustration by James Braithwaite. Photographs: necklace by Jenna Marie Wakani; undershirt, cosmetics and bag by Christopher Stevenson; boots courtesy of Fluevog; ring courtesy of Tiffany and co.; cupcakes courtesy of
For the Love of Cake; wax and syringe from iStockphoto; Jacobs from Biasion Studio/Wireimages