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Posts Tagged ‘men’s fashion’

In 2004 I attended the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) conference. This big deal event for both published and pre-published children’s writers is held every summer in Los Angeles and attracts several hundred attendees.

Henry Winkler signing books while sporting his fabulous sport jacket. I know this is a lousy photo, but it’s the one I took that day and isn’t it great that he’s wearing a tie!

On the morning of the fourth and final day of the conference, I was standing in the middle of a long line to get a book signed when Henry Winkler walked in. Standing right in front of us, he took a look at the line, raised his arms slightly with palms out, a la The Fonz, and said, “Wow, this must be for someone important. I never get lines like this. Who is it?” He laughed and we laughed and everyone was a bit star struck by the charming Mr. Winkler. But I was also quite struck by something else – the jacket he was wearing. Not The Fonz leather jacket, actually that hangs in the Smithsonian, but a beautifully tailored sport jacket made of the finest quality fabric I’d ever seen.

I’d call the color oatmeal and it looked to be tailormade of a wool/silk blend. You know when you’re looking at quality garments. They hang right, they fit right, they speak quality. Between Mr. Winker’s humorous charm and his lovely jacket, that encounter is vivid in my mind to this day.

Did you know that Mr. Winkler writes books for kids?

He writes the Hank Zipzer series with co-author, Lin Oliver, who also is the co-founder and director of SCBWI. Hank is a little kid who has some trouble learning, but he’s funny and nice and resourceful and the books have been very successful. In fact, the BBC created a Hank Zipzer television show.

(Speaking of children’s literature, FYI May 3-9 is Children’s Book Week, when we celebrate all things related to children reading and books for kids!)

I appreciate a man who pays attention to his words and his wardrobe. Over the years I’ve seen Mr. Winkler interviewed and spotted his photo in magazines, and he has an array of beautiful sport jackets, which he likes to pair with button down shirts and sometimes a crewneck sweater.

Writing, books, and fashion – three of my favorites.

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Jerry Lorenzo. Photo: Texas Isaiah for Harper’s Bazaar.

So many times, though, when someone dresses up for an occasion, they step into a silhouette that’s a lot different from how they look the rest of the week. They don’t feel comfortable, and it shows. So with Fear of God, we’re trying to blend all these life moments together in one wardrobe that offers comfort and functionality at the same time as elegance and sophistication.

Jerry Lorenzo, head designer at Fear of God.

This quote is from an interview in Harper’s Bazaar, Dec. 2020/Jan.2021.

Mr. Lorenzo started his menswear label, Fear of God, in 2012. Based in LA, his athletic inspired street-style brand had a cult following at first but with his recent winter 2020 line, something shifted.

For one thing, women are paying attention and for another he’s now crossing tailoring with soft more athletic fabrics and in our new pandemic world, that has struck a cord. Not that the idea is new but the timing is spot on. One year into Covid Hell and people are craving an alternative to sweats and joggers but they’re too stressed for challenging structured clothing. Enter tailored duds in forgiving fabrics.

The new line looks to be comfortable but still presentable. A step in the right direction.

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One of the assignments in the fashion history class I recently completed was to find historical fashion references in current fashion. In magazines I looked for examples covering ancient clothing to the 20th century and matched with historical images from books, plus I had to write a comment.

This week it’s the Trunk Hose from the 16th Century.

 

trunkhose

 

I was excited when I found this modern short skirt. It immediately reminded me of the ever popular men’s Trunk Hose. The precursor to Breeches, Trunk Hose initially were short and puffy, but over time they became longer and more narrow. On top a gentleman wore a Dublet, which was attached to the Trunk Hose with laces (called points) threaded through the waistband.  He sported stockings and soft shoes, later boots. In the early part of the 16th Century, ruffs were all the rage to wear at the neck; by the middle of the century Falling Collars were the thing. Check back next week for more on that.

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Figure left: Early 18th century three piece suits made of the same fabric were called Ditto Suits. Figure right: Three different style banyans in the late 18th century. Both images from Survey of Historic Costume by Phyllis Tortora, 5th ed., Fairchild Books.

I never thought I’d say this, but while studying fashion history I have been just as, if not more, interested in men’s fashions as women’s. Men’s fashions from the 15th through the 18th centuries are fascinating for their silhouettes, layers, and extensive decoration.

In the 18th century men were sporting a shirt with breeches, a waistcoat (vest), and a narrow coat –  all in beautiful sometimes embroidered fabrics. But at home the coat was hung away and replaced with the banyan. This loosely fit garment was what we might think of as a robe or dressing gown.

Called “undress at home” the look was more relaxed yet still fit for company and portraits. Some fabrics used for banyans included Indian cotton, silk, velvet, or brocade and often gentlemen topped the ensemble with a nightcap and perhaps toasted the evening with the other kind of nightcap.

How are we doing out there? Holding on OK? I hope so.

Remember to Keep Calm and Keep Your Distance.

 

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IMG_20190429_170819383If you’ve got belt loops on a trouser, wear a belt. Otherwise, it looks like you forgot. The only exception: jeans. Wear a fresh white shirt with a pair of jeans and loafers or driving moccasins. You will feel like Robert Redford. 

Joseph Abboud, menswear fashion designer.

I would say the same for women – belt loops cry out for a belt! And yes, a crisp white shirt with jeans is a winner on everyone.

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downloadI was in Silicon Valley and with a lot of senior, grown-up people, not the Millennials. I was out there for a couple of days and it just struck me that they didn’t see it, but they all dressed exactly alike – they all wear jeans, they all wear navy blazers, they all wear shirts without ties. If you’re a multi-million-dollar-a-year Silicon Valley executive, you dress like a civilian because you’re wearing jeans, but you’re wearing $2,000 brown Italian shoes … that’s how you express your individuality. 

Leslie H. Wexner, CEO L Brands.

This quote is from an interview Mr. Wexner did with WWD, June 2016.

Jeans? How depressing. At least the older guys are wearing blazers – I bet the younger ones are not. Still, it’s a look that, for me, does not inspire any confidence and I certainly don’t find it attractive. I like an executive to look like an executive, not a “civilian.” I know that suits these days are dated, but there must be some way to balance a professional look with modern lifestyles. But really, at the office no sneakers! No jeans! Please guys, dress like a grown-up, not like your ten-year-old son.

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Pocket Square

It doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be there.

Roberto Isola speaking about the all important pocket square at the Art Deco Society of California’s recent lecture on men’s vintage fashions. Roberto and his wife, Jula, are experts in vintage fashions and run their own business, City Vintage Clothing.

From their studio in South San Francisco, the Isolas work with men and women to create vintage ensembles for parties, weddings, and various period events, including the upcoming ADSC’s Gatsby Summer Afternoon.

Thanks, Roberto for doing your part to help our fellas look their best.

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