Men’s fashion evolves every year, but the contemporary world still gravitates towards classic men’s style. Today’s classic fashion isn’t the exact copy of the garments in the Golden Age of Menswear, but many of them are inspired by that era. With some classic elements in men’s fashion, men can look their best on different occasions. This way of dressing could be expensive, so men learned how to mix and match elements in their wardrobes, showcasing the flexibility of these pieces.
Let’s learn more about the enduring appeal of classic men’s fashion and look into the timeless elements that transcend trends.
• The Timeless Suit
A typical men’s wardrobe has suits, whether classic or custom-made suits. These items can be worn during many essential events in life. They are even casually used in corporate settings today. Suits are versatile, sophisticated, and timeless, making it one of the must-have fashion pieces for men.
The First Suit
Historically, the first suit was worn by English socialite Beau Brummell. He was known for starting many sartorial trends in Regency England. When he started wearing suits, it was when the extravagant French court heavily influenced Western fashion. However, Brummell made his unique and simple fashion ensemble. He used plain coats, pants, and boots. He was an influential figure during his time, so he was believed to popularize the style.
Coats for Men
In addition, frock coats became a staple daywear for men in the early Victorian era. After frock coats, men started wearing morning coats. However, these items weren’t considered coats since they aren’t necessarily paired with pants.
Suits in Scotland
The lounge suit, the direct ancestor of the modern suits we see today, became popular in the 1850s in Scotland. These items were only worn on special occasions as they were made from heavy and expensive fabrics. It was worn along with a jacket, waistcoat, and pants.
Slim-fit suits became a trend in the 1920s, but pieces with slightly wider shoulders and trouser legs became popular at the end of the decade. Collar pins and pocket squares are in vogue during this time.
World War II and Post-War Suits
In World War II and the post-war era, high-rise pants, pleated pants, waist suppression, and wide shoulders were all the rage. More casual, laid-back power suits cropped up in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Today, slim-fit suits have resurfaced, but it isn’t necessarily part of every man’s wardrobe since society is less formal today. Moreover, fashion ensembles that include a suit are now more open to adding materials, textures, and colors.
The popularity of ties today is owed to the French. Ties were first made popular in the 17th century when the French hired Croatian mercenaries who used to wear knotted handkerchiefs around their necks. It was more practical than a stiff collar as it served the same purpose— holding the top of their jackets together.
French King Louis XIV made ties popular by copying Croatian soldiers’ clothes in 1846. The early ties were named the “La Cravate,” which has remained the Fench term for neckties today. Ties became a mandatory accessory during the reign of the king, which became a fashion trend.
The modern ties we know today can be traced back to the 1920s in New York. The one who patented the production of the modern style of ties was Jesse Langford. Today, for many people, ties are more than just a fashion accessory. They are items that express one’s personality through different patterns, colors, and styles.
• Crisp Dress Shirts
Dress shirts or buttoned shirts were first known as men’s underwear in Europe in the 17th century. They are designed to protect expensive frock coats and waistcoats from sweat and soil. However, dress shirts can be worn without additional garments today, as they stand as independent tops for men.
In the corporate setting, plain white dress shirts are topped with a classic suit in plain colors. But you can find many dress shirts in many colors that you can fit in different informal occasions.
There are two varieties of dress shirts: white-tie shirts and black-tie shirts. White-tie shirts are constructed with broadcloth and voile. It has detachable stiff single cuffs and a wing collar. On the other side, the black-tie shirt, also known as a “tuxedo” or “smoking” shirt, is constructed of white cotton in a solid or micropattern. It has a soft turndown collar, classic spread, and soft French cuffs.
• Classic Footwear
The first shoes were made from animal hides and plant fibers in 8,000 BCE. The most popular classic shoes still worn today are loafers, Chelsea boots, and dress shoes. There are some of these shoes with the original styles. Many designers have updated these items with modern materials and embellishments.
Loafers were first worn in Norway in the 1930s. They have low heels and a slip-on style. Moreover, loafers feature decorative straps across their top. Meanwhile, Chelsea boots were first worn for horseback riding in the 1960s. Today, you can find Chelsea boots made of suede, leather, or vegan options. Lastly, one of today’s most popular dress shoes is the Oxford shoe, which was initially called “Balmorals.” Oxford shoes have a sleek silhouette, low heel, and closed lacing. The updated styles come in different colors, materials, and textures.
Men’s fashion has changed through the years. However, the classic pieces remained as designers only looked for ways to update them by giving them a more gender-fluid look. Traditional fashion pieces are still relevant, but with the influence of pop culture and prominent figures today, men’s style will continue to evolve in the coming years.
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