Headphones: Fashionable Accessory or Faux Pas?

Written by Marc | 15/07/2014

Accessories and Gifts


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We all turn on the TV and flick through the pages of magazines from time to time and chances are if you do so today you’ll spot a celebrity with a pair of headphones placed either from ear-to-ear or around the neck. The latest trend in fashion is to have a pair of these chunky personal headsets to use as an accessory, partly due to rapper Dr Dre’s branded electrical goods which have become such a hit that Apple acquired the business in a multi-billion dollar deal.

What’s the difference? headphones now don’t even look too dissimilar to the old styles from decades ago (below).


The latter (Apple) firm’s white ear pods have been the iconic design in the headphone industry for a long time prior to the former’s (Dre Beats) arrival into the mainstream consumer market. But as every man and his dog got hold of a pair of those, it soon became apparent that those who could afford it would ditch the simplistic white buds for a designer headset which really made a noise both in terms of audio and appearance. This tendency has led to a huge demand for them on the mass market with consumers willing to pay hundreds to get the “footballer’s headphones” or the “footballer look” for whom these devices are synonymous. This is a stark contrast to ten years ago when only the rich, famous and musicians would pay such a sum for quality audio headsets.

Below: Denim headphones: the amount manufacturers who now make this style of headphones means it is becoming easier and easier to find a pair to suit the way you dress too.


It does raise the question: why can’t the same level of sound be achieved from a pair of much more succinct in-ear headphones? Well, it probably can- experts argue that the sound on the most popular Dr Dre Beats headphones is amongst the worse in their price category- but this suggests that people buy them more for the reason they come in sleek colours and have an association with a successful rap artist, than for technical or quality purposes.

In fashion, headphones have become an accessory that you might associate with the urban youth cultures who are usually typified by a preference for retro-styled clothing, it, therefore, fits that these headsets which are reminiscent of the ’80s and ’90s are when bigger styles were by far more prominent. But where do we draw the line between fashionable or faux pas? Statement headphones are just as common with keep-fit exercisers as they are amongst their youthful fashion-minded audience, it isn’t just these varieties of people either; it is not uncommon to see them on a daily commuter train where everybody is suited and booted for the daily grind.

Who said you can’t look suave with your headphones in?


What outfit do you think suits a pair of headphones? 

The big question left to answer here is: when is it not a good time to use your headphones as an accessory? Well, there are that many brands producing these styles now you could easily make a case to sat there isn’t one. Well, presumably if you are going for a sartorially precise outfit then you probably wouldn’t think to have a colourful gimmick like this to compliment your look. But as we’ve already discussed, these types of products- especially at these prices- used to be targeted at those with a passion for music or “audiophiles”, essentially this is a niche market product turned into a mass-market one, and therefore why should there be any limits as to what style they are bound to?

Beats- or any of these brands of headphones for that matter- are designed to look the part so of course, it is an effective fashion accessory. “Bigger is better” as the old saying goes, and it seems when it comes to fashion and headphones this certainly rings true. The bulky devices are certainly the ubiquitous footballer accessory in the modern-day, just see how many pairs you can spot next time you see the players arriving at the match on TV.

Brazil’s Neymar is rarely seen without his customised headphones.


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