Noah Beck looks excited about going to dinner. Standing shirtless in what appears to be the corner of a room with a white paneled closet door, the TikTok star says he is about to meet up with his publicist, agent and other members of his team to celebrate their collective accomplishment: attracting 1.5 million subscribers and an estimated 85 million views of his social media content. They will be going to the restaurant Nobu in Malibu, which means he should dress up. We are all about to see him do so, in what is known as a ‘Get Ready With Me’ or GRWR video.
Over the course of a few minutes, anyone who watched the clip posted to TikTok this past May would have seen Beck put on:
- A pair of thick wool black Burberry trousers
- A sheer Saint Laurent dress shirt
- A black leather blazer from Gucci
- A pair of black snakeskin boots, also from Saint Laurent.
Is it really worth spending time looking at someone putting together an all-black outfit? The 120,000 “hearts” the GRWM TikTok garnered would suggest the answer is “Yes.”
Beck is hardly the originator of “Get Ready With Me” content, but he and his team are savvy enough to recognize a trend when they see one. There are enough TikToks like it to occupy someone for weeks or even months.
This isn’t limited to the many women creating GRWM clips where they are putting on their makeup and doing their hair while as part of preparing for an outing. Just do a search for “GRWM Men Edition” to see all kinds of guys standing in their underwear and adding one item of clothing at a time.
An article on Stylist said the hashtag #GRWM has generated more than 42 billion views, which it suggested might not be a good thing.
“Exacerbated by the pandemic, these videos encapsulate the current zeitgeist: our preoccupation with self-improvement and the burgeoning desire to present our most authentic selves,” the article said, wondering about the effect on women’s self-esteem. “Get ready with me videos straddle the space between a true reflection of our lives and the aspirational, performative content we’ve come to expect on social media.”
I’m not sure if men watching other men’s GRWM clips will feel the same sense of inferiority. What’s the point of comparing yourself with someone like Noah Beck, who not only looks like the kind of jock that used to get away with bullying nerdy kids, but has a seemingly endless collection of high-end designer brands in his wardrobe?
GRWM videos are really best understood as a sub-genre of behind the scenes (BTS) content. It’s like watching your favorite band getting suited up in the change room before taking the stage, or Daniel Craig donning his tuxedo in one of the most recent James Bond films. When they’re done well, they add an additional layer of entertainment onto the more polished content you came to enjoy in the first place.
There’s also an assumption in the acronym GRWM that is probably not true: When an influencer says “get ready with me,” they’re not really sharing a collaborative experience with you. They are probably aware that, in most cases, you’re not putting together an equally stunning ensemble – and not just because you don’t necessarily have somewhere as glamorous to go. For guys, at least, imitating another guy’s look too closely feels embarrassing, especially if there’s a risk someone who sees you will point out the resemblance.
That said, GRWM videos could offer some inspiration for when it’s time for the rest of us to decide what we’re wearing to particular occasion. There’s even value in knowing what trends we won’t follow (I will not be wearing a black sheer dress shirt nearly open to the waist, for example). The best clips could even be instructive: I’ve been interested in seeing influencers discuss the pros and cons of wearing a belt or not, what colors work well together or if they should add a bag.
Compared with traditional menswear content – like fashion photo spreads where the decision-making of creative directors are never fully revealed in the captions – these social media posts come across as refreshingly transparent, even if they’re not as genuinely spontaneous as they appear.
In the end, GRWM content could just be another fad that eventually burns itself out. For now, though, these videos are a good reminder that thinking about fashion is an inherently creative act — not just for the brands that make the clothes, but those making choices in how to combine them. Whether you film yourself doing it or not, the end result should make you feel good. It should make you feel confident. It should make you feel ready.