Suited for Success? : Suits, Status, and Hybrid Masculinity
This article analyzes the sartorial biographies of four Canadian men to explore how the suit is understood and embodied in everyday life. Each of these men varied in their subject positions—body shape, ethnicity, age, and gender identity—which allowed us to look at the influence of men’s intersectional identities on their relationship with their suits. The men in our research all understood the suit according to its most common representation in popular culture: a symbol of hegemonic masculinity. While they wore the suit to embody hegemonic masculine configurations of practice—power, status, and rationality—most of these men were simultaneously marginalized by the gender hierarchy. We explain this disjuncture by using the concept of hybrid masculinity and illustrate that changes in the style of hegemonic masculinity leave its substance intact. Our findings expand thinking about hybrid masculinity by revealing the ways subordinated masculinities appropriate and reinforce hegemonic masculinity.