In the 1960's the "menswear revolution" association of fashion and homosexuality began to diminish with the rise in sub cultural fashions around the world. It was suddenly acceptable for young men to be interested in fashion, and to spend time and money on clothes and appearance. looked to the epitomes of American masculinity-the cowboy, the lumberjack, the construction worker-for inspiration for a new dress style. The clones, as they wlooked to the epitomes of American masculinity-the cowboy, the lumberjack, the construction worker-for inspiration for a new dress style. The clones, as they were known, adopted the most masculine dress signifiers they could find-work boots, tight Levi's, plaid shirts, short haircuts, and mustaches. Their clothes were chosen to reveal and celebrate the contours of the male body. During well as the emergence of other masculine subcultural styles such as the shaven-headed, boots and braces wearing, but not necessarily racist skinhead.
By the late 1960s, lesbians and gay men throughout the Western world had begun to question their position as second-class citizens and their stereotype as effeminate "queens" or "butch dykes." Along with the demands for equality and recognition, lesbians and gay men began to address their appearance. There had always been gay men who dressed in a conventionally masculine style, and in the early 1970s, gay men in New York and San Francisco looked to the epitomes of American masculinity-the cowboy, the lumberjack, the construction worker-for inspiration for a new dress style. The clones, as they were known, adopted the most masculine dress signifiers they could find-work boots, tight Levi's, plaid shirts, short haircuts, and moustaches. Their clothes were chosen to reveal and celebrate the contours of the male body. During 1980's gay men interpreted and demonstrated their masculine looks through the celebration of muscular "gym" bodies and clothing that shows off those bodies, as well as the emergence of other masculine sub cultural styles such as the shaven-headed, boots and braces wearing, but not necessarily racist skinhead.
The 1980s and 1990s saw a new diversification in lesbian dress. The breakdown of the old butch and femme divides, the changes instigated in women's dress by feminism and punk, and the increasing visibility in public life of lesbians opened up the debate about what lesbians could and should wear. One of the most significant developments was the appearance of the lipstick lesbian (also known as glamour or designer dyke). Dress styles signaled a move away from the traditional butch or radical-feminist styles and allowed out gay women to develop a fashionable urban look that combined signifiers of lesbianism or masculinity with fashionable women's dress. However, critics accused lipstick lesbians of hiding behind a mask of heterosexuality.
Throughout the twentieth century, many of the top couture fashion designs were gay, even though social pressure called for them to keep their sexuality quiet if not secret. Indeed, many of the greatest names in twentieth-century fashion were gay or bisexual, including such figures as Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent, Norman Hartnell, Halston, Rudi Gernreich (who was one of the founding members of the first American homophile organization, the Mattachine society), Calvin Klein, and Gianni Versace.
As designers took over from traditional tailors and gentleman's outfitters in men's fashion, a new gay influence became evident. Because gay men were often more willing to experiment with new ideas, styles, and fabrics in clothing, designers such as Jean-Paul Gaultier began to look at what was happening at street level and in gay clubs for ideas for their men's collections. Moreover, gay men bought clothes that were influenced by and styled toward a gay aesthetic, so their taste influenced fashion in both obvious and subtle ways.
The advent of the "new man" (as a media icon) in the 1980s was a result of men's reaction to major social changes brought about by a second wave of feminism. As a consequence, it became acceptable for straight men to be interested in their appearance, clothes, and grooming products.
Today it is perfectly acceptable for straight men to be interested in fashion and to be obvious consumers of clothes, grooming products, and fashion or "lifestyle" magazines. Popular figures, such as soccer player David Beckham, are avid consumers of clothes and even acknowledge their debt to gay men's influence on fashion. In an age where homosexuality is tolerated and to a great extent accepted in major urban centers, it has become increasingly difficult to distinguish gay and straight men, and lesbians and straight women, on the basis of their dress.