The word men must have an apostrophe and the letter s ('s) to make it a possessive.

Is is appropriate to say "mens" not using an apostrophe to mean an adjective as in the sentence: "I went to look for some shoes in the mens shoe department"?

It seems that if we are following the possessive rule, we should write that I do my shopping in the "men's shoe department"? For the possessive form "men's" has functioned as an adjective usually modifying the word that will follow. (i.e. the men's opinions were not the same as my Aunt Jenny's opinion)

Is there a rule modification or rule change over the years that I have missed?
Good question! I don't know the answer.

Of course, we have "possessive adjectives" which do not use the "appostrophe-s."

In actual practice, we're more likely to see "mens room" than "men's room."

Edit. Well, Google seems to lean toward using the appostrophe.

My point was, whether or not we use the appostrophe doesn't affect whether or not we intend it to be an adjective.
Hi,

The word men must have an apostrophe and the letter s ('s) to make it a possessive.

Is is appropriate to say "mens" not using an apostrophe to mean an adjective as in the sentence: "I went to look for some shoes in the mens shoe department"? No, it's not correct. Errors concerning apostrophes are common on signs.

Clive
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mens shoe department

This thread may be of some interest even though it doesn't answer your question directly.

Boys' wear or Boyswear

CJ