fur cloaks to designer suits
50,000 years ago, homo-sapiens used everything in their surroundings to shield themselves from the harshest of climates. Anthropologists, by unearthing human fossils in the Arctic Circle, discovered evidence of pieces of clothing constructed with components of fur and hide.
Likewise, in warmer environments, forensic evidence determined that leaves and grass were woven together in an attempt to create an item resembling the functionality of modern-day clothing.
Back then, however, men’s clothing was spawned out of necessity and protection – the concept of fashion hadn’t been born yet.
Centuries later, the value of clothing elevated from its protective use to its aesthetic appeal. Items of glamour, those which were bejeweled, became a symbol for someone of superior social status.
Monarchs wore ornaments covered in bright-colored jewels; nobles wore hats, and peasants, as to represent their stature, wore shells and plain-colored garments.
Decades later, men found a way to bridge their geographical gap amongst one another. Consequently, men’s clothing boomed, and became as diverse as ever. Men from China wore court dresses; the Scottish wore tartans and kilts, while Filipinos sported barongs woven from pineapple fiber.
The results of this diversity lead to the erection of fashion as an institution. Designers and fashion magazines quickly filled the roles of style critics, delegating what would pass as an ‘appropriate’ outfit. Men were endlessly judged by what they wore; the length of their tie, the crease in their pants, and if their attire matched through and through.
The result of such criticism bred classifications for fashionable men to abide by, for instance, brown belts should never be worn alongside black shoes.
Such a celebration of diversity lead to the inception of haute couture, providing men’s fashion with the necessary tool for individual distinction.
Distinction not dictated by social status or an incontrollable variable, but rather on provoked by unique preferences. Custom clothing represented the epitome of such individualistic measures.
men’s clothing represented a form of self-expression
The way a man saw himself was greatly reflected by how he dressed, every day he had the opportunity to decide how he wanted the world to see him. This mentality was accompanied by how a man chose to carry himself, which eventually birthed the ideology of a chivalrous gentleman.
The fast-paced nature of the fashion industry quickly uncovered a new element in men’s fashion, comfort. Looking good became just as important as feeling good. Clothing that didn’t require tedious caring, but serviced in all aspects of aesthetic and comfort.
To respond to the need for comfort, and to exploit an unseen opportunity, technology nurtured the discovery of fabrics and integrated new methods of developing clothing. Synthetic fibers such as nylon, polyester, and lycra began to replace natural fabrics.
Segments of the men’s clothing industry exploited technology to an even greater scale; sports-wear brands began weaving together innovative breathable material (we’re looking at you Nike) and outdoor clothing brands began manufacturing water-resistant clothing.
The value of the men’s clothing market boomed.
haute-couture to casual-wear
In most formal settings, the suit has claimed its stake as the most appropriate ensemble in the pool of men’s clothing, bar-none. It’s difficult to go wrong by showing up in a clean-cut suit with a crisp shirt.
Additionally, the elegant construction of a tailored-suit contributes to the demeanor of the individual sporting it, portraying chivalry, discipline, and a fine eye for detail.
the blue jeans
Lee, Mossimo, and of course, Levi’s are some of the many labels that have paved the path for what jeans represent now and how they should be worn – deconstructed, faced, or acid-washed. From a laborer’s essential to a casual staple, jeans have secured their place as an icon in men’s clothing.
Two super-brands have monopolized the market by revolutionizing trainers that conquer the testiest of terrains and withstand the most rigorous of programs. Nike and Adidas have emphasized the importance of trainers to ensure that they are not thought of as an after-thought in men’s clothing.
The sneaker sector is perhaps the largest industry in menswear by a long shot – all thanks to brands such as Nike and Adidas that go out of their way to scout athletes and have them contribute to the development of their trainers.
T-shirts were initially considered to be undergarments designed for laborers, thus, representing a classic example of the metamorphosis of a clothing item – by the end of the first World War, it became a permanent trend for casual wear.
Well Gents! That concludes our deep-dive into the world of men’s fashion. To ensure that the information described above is one that you remember, refer to it frequently. Make sure to stay-tuned to our Gentleman 101 series for everything and more on living a lifestyle of chivalry. If you derived any entertainment or education from this piece, please share this post with others who you think may enjoy such content. Till next time gents, stay chivalrous!