June 14, 2013

The United Kingdom: The Birthplace Of Luxury Menswear

What comes to your mind when you hear about a three-piece suit? What about a trench coat? If your mind instantly wanders towards the classic elegance and the inimitable refinement of English men, then you’re on the right track.

Welcoming the debut of the London menswear catwalk shows for the next season The British Fashion Council has commissioned the Victoria & Albert Museum to create a study, highlighting the fact that the United Kingdom is, as you may have guessed, the birth place of luxury menswear.

The study closely analyses the history of men’s fashion, following the creation and evolution of a series of iconic pieces, such as the trench coat, the Wellington boots, the three-piece suit, the bowler hat or the brogues. Follow the evolution of male fashion since 1528 and up until the present day, as well as the ways in which it continues to shape and influence the style and taste on men around the entire world, by downloading the study right here, and taking a look at 10 of the most iconic menswear pieces that have stood the test of time and become a symbol of masculine elegance:

The three-piece suit: Defying the French domination over fashion around the middle of the 19th century, Charles II adopted in 1966 a look composed of a suit worn with an accompanying English wool vest (as opposed to French silk, the fabric usually used for such attire), shifting focus from the decorative aesthetic towards fabric and texture.

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The Bowler hat: Created in 1849 for politician Edward Coke, the Bowler hat was initially popular amongst the working class, before being adopted as a staple style by fashionable men such as Oscar Wilde, Edward VII or Charlie Chaplin.

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Brogues: Initially worn mainly in the rural area due to their practicality, brogues, which are fashioned out of durable leather which is then stitched and perforated along the edges, soon became popular amongst the fashionable male population, once the Duke of Windsor was seen during multiple occasions wearing them during his golfing trips in Scotland.

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Dandy: Initiated at the beginning of the 19th century in the UK by George Brummel, the dandy movement involves an aristocratic approach over fashion, eventually adopted by fashionable personalities such as Oscar Wilde or Robert de Montesquiou.

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The trench coat: Created in 1901 by Burberry for the officers of the British army, the trench coat soon became an iconic piece, as well as a staple of the brand.

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Wellington boots: Originating from the Hessian style, popular during the18th century, Wellington boots get their name from Arthur Wellesley’s title – the Duke of Wellington – who asked that the original boot style be modified so that it would be suitable both for hunting, as well as for more formal affairs.


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The floral shirt and tie: Although up until the 20th century, prints and textures hadn’t been yet used in male fashion, designer John Stephen dared to open his own stylish boutique on Carnaby Street (now an iconic address), making floral-patterned shirts and ties a symbol of fashionable style for men.

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Tweed: Traditionally used to make hunting clothing, due to its durability, tweed has now become so popular, that it’s presently used in women’s fashion as well.

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Tartan: Originating in Scotland, the tartan pattern used to be exclusively printed onto wool, but has since gained such popularity, that it’s now decorating a plethora of fabrics.

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Bondage trousers: Decorated with various detailing inducing a rough allure – multiple zippers, studs, spikes, chains, buckles – bondage trousers have become a symbol of the punk movement, which exploded in popularity during the Seventies.

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Photos courtesy of: thimothybarber.net, milkmade.com, scopekenya.blogspot.com, jumpingpolarbear.com, bloomingdales.com, esquire.com, xposuremodeling.com, fashionbeans.com, trendhunter.com, attitudeclothing.co.uk