This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Exploratory Study of Men’s Interpretation and Choices of Male Looks




Zhang, Ou

Type of Degree



Consumer Affairs


Men’s shifting self-identities and masculinities result in changes in men’s clothing and shopping behavior. In fashion diffusion process, the fashion opinion leader plays a crucial role in approving or disapproving any new trend and look. While, nonleaders seek information and guide from those fashion opinion leaders. Understanding both opinion leaders’ and nonleaders’ clothing behavior changes will close the gap between industry offerings and consumers’ needs. The purpose of this study was to: (1) explore and examine how male consumers with a different degree of fashion opinion leadership interpret the same male looks by using a photo sorting methodology; (2) investigate the differences in male consumers’ tendency to accept a variety of looks depending on their fashion leadership; (3) investigate how the variances in the interpretation and acceptance of male looks are related to information sources used. A sample of male students at Auburn University was used. Content analyses revealed that men distinguished male looks by using both clothing and non-clothing cues. Associations between male looks and some cues proved previous researchers’ propositions that masculinity has been fragmented and changed by subcultures and media influences. Furthermore, the findings showed that men’s interpretations of male looks were different from person to person to some extent. Results from correlation analyses showed that the male consumer’s fashion leadership was positively related to the frequency of using impersonal information sources, the variety of information sources used, and the variety of male looks accepted. Furthermore, impersonal information sources and the variety of male looks men accepted for themselves were also positively related.