Irish men are more in touch with their feminine side than ever before, according to leading fashion experts.
The ‘prettifying’ of Irish men is a growing business, with males taking much more of an interest in their style and appearance in recent years.
"I think guys are a lot more aware of how they can look better with a little bit of grooming,” Irish Tatler editor Alexander Fitzgerald told the Irish Examiner.
“I think the stigma of taking pride, or just looking as well as you can, isn’t really there anymore so guys are certainly investing more time and money in their appearance."
Bolstering the fashion expert’s theory, spending on men’s grooming in Ireland has increased from just under €79m to €108m in 2010.
Fitzgerald says celebrities like David Beckham, George Clooney, Clive Owen, and Matthew McConaughey mean that men are more interested in looking their best.
"I think Beckham has a lot to do with it," Fitzgerald said.
"He was the first guy in recent years who made no bones about the fact that he’d be wearing nail varnish and getting his eyebrows plucked. He’d change his hair from day to day, he had earrings, yet he remained masculine."
"Go back 10 or 15 years," says Fitzgerald. "If you went to a health club or a golf club, men would go into the shower with their shampoo and possibly shower gel and that was it. They would literally just wash and go. Now, even in the morning, they’ll have a pre-shave solution and most, or at least a good portion of men, probably use moisturiser.”
Demand is up for male cosmetic procedures also, according to The Hospital Group in Dublin.
"We’ve definitely noticed an increase in men using our services," says spokeswoman Aisling Holly.
"Men tend to opt for procedures that deliver subtle improvements in how they look such as wrinkle-removing injections [Botox], fillers to plump out lines, or laser treatments to correct skin conditions. They’re also likely to request procedures that address a perceived problem, such as gynaecomastia or ‘moob’ removal, tattoo removal, or hair restoration."
According to Holly, a swamped job market means men feel more pressure to look their best.
“The recession has played a part. Men are finding themselves unexpectedly back in the job market, competing with younger men, or back in the singles market, following a marriage or relationship break-up.”
Despite many men having more of an interest in their appearance, Darren Kennedy, a television presenter, stylist, and fashion blogger, thinks that Irish men have a long way to go.
"The Irish, as a people, are reluctant to step outside the box to draw attention to ourselves. Particularly with men, I think to be seen to care about what you looked like was and is frowned upon. The mentality is: ‘why the hell would you be interested in looking well, surely an aul GAA jersey and a pair of jeans would do you grand’. And that’s what’s holding a lot of guys back."
Do you think Irish men are becoming more metrosexual?