Fashion is not enclosed in a box; it is limitless. Fashion knows no gender. If you think that fashion is exclusive to women, then you are wrong. We have now come to the age and time that fashion is a universal term that applies to both men and women. This, however, should not come as a surprise considering how fashion relates to us on a personal level as it is a window to express ourselves and to visually communicate our thoughts and perceptions. On a larger scale, fashion has a contribution to society, particularly in the filed of economy.
For the past couple of years, fashion magazines pay attention to both men and women’s apparel. Fashion has allowed more men to showcase their creativity and be whoever they want to be. It matters to both men and women because it allows us to translate our views about the world, just as it allows us to build and shape how we want others to view us. Fashion does not only establish ties between ourselves, it empowers our relationship with others and the world.
At the beginning of this article, we emphasized how fashion caters to both men and women. Some men take fashion as a necessity; something like it is part of the routine. Others take fashion as one medium of communication and image-building. But as we have come to the visual era, people now realize what aesthetics can do and how it can make a big change in your life.
When it comes to dressing up for men, there are a lot of factors to consider, namely: physical attribute, lifestyle, resources, personal style, and comfort. As compared to women, men tend to put more emphasis on comfort more than anything else. You cannot compel them to wear just anything. If they are not comfortable about it, no matter what the brand or how expensive it is, they probably won’t.
History of Men’s Fashion
Far from the looks or outfits of men that we see today in many magazines or fashion websites, men from the past had a different take on fashion. Today, fashion is made available among all types of person from different social status. Regardless of your resources or budget, fashion serves as your common denominator. There are brands that offer a more affordable alternative to upscale lines. Comparing that to the early years, what you wear is a representation of your socioeconomic status or your place in the society. The wealthy men got the chance to wear the more elaborate and intricate clothes.
To take a grasp about the evolution of men’s fashion, here is a short overview of what have transpired in the past. By strolling down memory lane, you will realize how the designers of today are greatly inspired by the works of the past. Indeed, fashion is a recurring theme.
During the Paleolithic era, one of men’s biggest struggles was the harsh weather. During the extreme cold, they would use the skin of the hunted animals, as well as, dried leaves and fibers. For a long time, this was how people dressed. At that time, it was about resisting the weather and keeping themselves warm.
Fast forward as villages were established and eventually, ranks in the community were found, people started wearing clothes according to their position in the community with wealthier men wearing gold and other jewels. This fact was clearly attributed to the ancient Egypt where the Pharaoh was dressed with precious materials and artifacts that command power, leadership, and royalty. Those who served under him were clad in uniforms only attributable to them. Some years later, they started sporting knee-length kilts or tunics and adorned with bracelets and armlets made from treasured materials.
The separation in men’s fashion so as to classify one’s status in the society became more prevalent in the 1700s as dress codes were adopted by the high ranks in the military. And since this era found men working, they wore clothes that identify them according to their profession, wealth, or influence.
In 1730s, frock coats were created to attend the need for a more comfortable clothing suitable for the working men. These coats were also considered as an ideal piece to improve men’s performance in equestrian sports, which was then common among the aristocrats.
In Britain, men, in the closing 1700s and during the Regency era, adopted the tailcoat and cutaway coats, which exude elegance, confidence, and minimalism. These coats emphasize masculinity as it highlights the physique of a man rather than his adornments. The 1800s was dominated by the formality of the tailcoats, especially as men during such time associated themselves into fraternities and companies that consist of the most distinguished men in the society.
Tailcoats were still prevalent until the 1900s. This time, however, men wore suits in three layers consisting of trouser, vest, and jacket. In 1910, the idea of separates emerged and men used lighter fabrics to their clothes. Men during this time have also started wearing button-down shirts in pastel colors.
Meanwhile, in the 1920s, otherwise called as the Jazz Age, men opted for simpler clothing in brighter colors. Introduced during this period were button-down shirts with collars and front creases, as well as, cuffs that improve their physique. Men laid their suspenders to rest and started wearing belts. Moreover, as automobiles emerged, men’s taste in fashion likewise changed with men sporting leather jackets and driving caps.
The 1930s was equally interesting, notwithstanding the declining economy. Superman silhouette became prominent as trousers were worn high-waist. Because of the poor economy, men opted for neutral and dark hues. For the shoes, the era was about loafers, moccasins, Oxfords, and rubber-soled shoes. And because swing dance was a hit near the end of 20s, men of that time loved the zoot suits. In 1940s, among the remarkable fashion statements were the shorter ties and Hawaiian shirts.
The 1950s was about casual and sporty menswear like polo shirts. Affordable sunglasses were manufactured. It also witnessed the rise of greased-back hairstyle that was influenced by the rock and roll industry. The laidback fashion took a turn in the 60s as men were dressed in narrow trousers and body-fitting suits that contrast the boxy fashion of women at that time as men also donned longer hairs. And as British bands like The Beatles went to stardom, their looks were copied by so many of its followers.
In the next decade, the 70s, bell bottoms, turtleneck, and platform shoes were the trend. But the most remarkable could be the development of the wash and wear fashion of men. By the 80s, the craze was all about the activewear. Then, came the 90s, which abandoned the formality of the previous decades. During this decade, men wore t-shirts, shorts, hoodies, jeans and sweatshirts among others. Just like the women’s fashion that time, men embraced minimalism and casual look.
Apart from the fascinating history of men’s fashion, there are definitely numerous accounts and facts that make the same a very interesting subject. Here are some of them:
- The French cuffs we know of today were actually a British invention.
- An item is considered vintage if it dates between 1920 and 1960. Those created after that period is classified as retro.
- The iconic crocodile logo of Lacoste was manufactured and patented in 1933.
- Buttons from women’s button-up garments are found on the left, while men have buttons on the right primarily because women back in the days were dressed by servants and having the fastener on the opposite side makes the job easier.
- Men wore the high heels first before women as well-heeled men in the 16th century were viewed to be of higher social status.
- The pink color was originally attributed to men as a diminutive of the color red, which during the early times was associated with war.
- Survey reveals that men check themselves in the mirror seven times more than women.
- Young boys back then wore dresses until the age of five or six. This was common until 1910.
Every occasion has a corresponding dress code for men. Casual weekends would mean jeans with relaxed fit or maybe a sexy polo shirt. Other days, however, may require sophisticated jeans, suits, or leather jackets.
Just as men have different looks for different occasions, men also have a wide range of bags to choose from. Each bag conveys a unique story that would complement its owner’s personality and taste. Bags likewise vary according to your purpose. It could be a small but reliable clutch bag you can take to brunch with family or friends, or it could be a functional backpack that is perfect for your out-of-town trips.
A gentleman’s look will never be complete without a good-looking pair of shoes. Men have a higher inclination towards shoes more than anything else. Hence, the need for a pair that embodies their personality, serves its purpose, and boosts their confidence. Men’s shoes vary in style from the more casual sandals, Oxford shoes, espadrilles and sneakers, to the polished monk shoes, loafers, and brogues.
Those little details we call accessories are what really make you unique and your look genuinely you. They could either make or break your look. So be sure that you wear the best one that goes along with your outfit from the more typical caps to the gloves you wear when it is cold.