Spring is nearly sprung upon us, and with the changing of the season comes rain. Rain water is not bad for our clothes — after all, we need to wash them on a regular basis — but because our clothes are often made from organic fibers, and these fibers retain moisture, it’s possible for them to develop mold and bacteria if they stay damp too long, giving them a distinct odor. Rain can also harbor pollutants, which impart another odor to our clothes.
The simple solution to these problems is investing in an umbrella. The word umbrella comes to us from the Latin word umbra, which means shade, so umbrella literally translates as “little shade.” The umbrella as we know it today has been with us for at least 2,000 years. The earliest record of a collapsible umbrella is from ancient China and was made for the carriage of Emperor Wang Mang. From then until the 18th century, umbrellas were a mark of nobility or aristocracy.
Today I want to talk about patterns and pattern matching. While this may seem like an overwhelming task to the uninitiated, it’s really very simple. But before we go into the how of pattern matching, it’s important that we have an idea of what some of the most common patterns are.
Stripes are parallel bands of different colors. The bands of color may be of equal size or one or more stripes may be smaller, as in pin stripes.
The modern necktie traces its origins to the cravat, which first gained popularity in 17th century France. A group of Croatian mercenaries in the service of France were wearing cravats when they were presented to the French royalty. A young Louis XIV was present and began wearing them. Later that century Charles II (returning from exile in France) brought them to England and the fashion quickly spread.
Our modern neckties evolved during the industrial revolution. The thin profile allowed them to remain tied for longer periods of time and to be easier to tie. Today’s necktie was truly born in 1923, though, when Jesse Langsdorf patented his tie constructed of three pieces. Langsdorf’s major innovations were cutting the fabric diagonally against the grain (along the bias) to allow for more elasticity, and adding a lining and a loose “slip stitch” to help the tie keep its shape after multiple twistings and knottings.
Today, ties retain few of their original functions. It’s speculated that the Chinese and Romans used colored scarves to show allegiance or membership; many schools and military units today use ties for this same purpose. Cravats were at one time used to protect the shirt from stains, but today’s ties are too thin for this purpose. Some speculate that ties are for hiding the buttons and placket of a shirt or for directing an observer’s attention upward or downward. There’s no way to know for sure, but for now the tie is an essential part of most men’s wardrobes.
Winter has arrived in full force and with it the need to keep warm and, of course, look good doing it. With that in mind, I’m going to be exploring the diverse world of men’s jackets and coats. I won’t be delving into any style advice but I will be delving into the history and basic characteristics of some of the most popular and classic outerwear.
Today’s denim jackets can trace their origins to Levi’s Type I jacket made in the early 20th century. It was initially made as work wear for laborers and the military but after it began to appear in film and on celebrities – like Martin Sheen in Badlands – it quickly passed into popular culture. We’re probably most familiar with Levi’s Type III jacket, also known as the trucker jacket. Today variations of it can be found everywhere from the runway, on tractors, and in Target.
Love them or hate them, logos are here to stay. A good logo can make all the difference in the world when it comes to defining a brand. Some represent a piece of a company’s history, while others are manifestations of a brand’s aspirations (and some are just initials). No matter the inspiration, logos are a part of the modern fashion landscape, and if we’re intent on becoming style heroes, it pays to know where they come from. Let me know what brands you’d like me to cover in the future in the comments.
Abercrombie & Fitch
First use: 1892
Long before Abercrombie & Fitch were known as an edgy clothing line for preppy 20-somethings, they were selling hunting gear to Theodore Roosevelt. Founded in 1892, A&F was the L.L. Bean of its day. After a long decline, it was revived by The Limited in the 90s. The moose has been around in one form or another since they were founded, but today it is an homage to the days when they sold outdoor clothing.
After weeks of unseasonably warm weather here in North Carolina, winter is finally here. It’s time to break out the heavy coats, gloves, and scarves. I’m busy working on my first article for the year, but in the meantime, I wanted to share these videos I found from Burberry‘s YouTube channel. Each one is less than 30 seconds long, and while they have a Gap commercial vibe to them, they also show some practical ways to tie our scarves.
If our outfits were a sentence, our shirts would be the subject. Our shirt can dictate the rest of our outfit based on its color and cut. Shirts also frame our face and define our silhouette, so it’s critical that they fit properly. A shirt that doesn’t fit properly will make us look larger than we are. If it’s too big it will create a “muffin top” around our waist and make our sleeves billow like a pirate’s. If it’s too small it will highlight every bulge and curve on our bodies and restrict our arm movement. And keep in mind, very few store-bought shirts will fit us perfectly. Mass-produced shirts are made to mostly fit most people and a perfect fit likely won’t be found without the help of a tailor.
With the collar buttoned, our shirts should afford us enough room to breathe without making us look like we’re wearing our father’s shirt. We should be able to fit a finger or two between our neck and the collar of the shirt. The collar is one of the basic measurements of men’s dress shirts (the other being sleeve length). When we find a shirt that fits us well around the neck, we should remember the measurement for future purchases.