What would the most beautifully made and worn ensemble be without the fitting occasion? Are we not always thinking about where we wear what we want as much as what we actually want? How much are we influenced by the romantic melancholies of past fashions?
Either consciously or subconsciously, people will categorize clothing according to their knowledge & their interest in the matter of menswear. Some details matter more to a tailor, some more to the businessman. Some will appreciate a hand- or machinestitch along the edges, some will dislike the aesthetics. A paisley tie might remind some of the worst disco era days, while others are thinking of European tailoring in the 1920s, -30s and -40s. Never before was there so much variety and choice for men, even on a budget, the current market has everything and media is overflowing with inspiration. This goes for drinking culture as well, the popularity of classic cocktails like Old Fashioned variations, or anything that is 100 percent spirits and served in a shorter format, comes to mind. (Sidenote No.1 : Older is not always better, the entire reasoning for cocktails was making undrinkable alcohol somewhat drinkable by adding water, sugar and spices) (Sidenote No.2 : The classic Trying-to-look-like-007-while-realising-that-a-Martini-is-actually-just-a-lot-of-Gin-and-even-more-tough-liquor-that-you’d-never-try-otherwise face is the best part about watching other people in bars).
As another fashion example: Back when I was selling suits and the customer wished for something with a ‘vintage twist’, I immediately thought of the early 20th century, of rougher fabrics, more buttons, a larger lapel or waistcoats for example. However for the customer (in his mid-twenties, working in business or finance or digital technology, usually wears smart sneakers) ‘vintage’ meant not the cut, but a bold checked pattern and adding a pair of clip-on suspenders. Details such as buttons, pockets or cuffs were a blind spot, what mattered was the overall impression and whatever his cultural influences portrayed as stylishly vintage. This is not necessarily a bad phenomenon, rarely is it a good idea to put yourself in a preachy position and force every man into what would be costume. What it does is remind us of the different perspectives we have when talking and thinking about clothing.
Tracing those elements and having an understanding for details is one of the most fun and exciting parts of menswear, to me there is something to find in every era that is both iconic and expressive (Even the despised 1980s gave us great pinstripes and terminology like the ‘power suit’ which is not only a popular idea in menswear, but, as Suitsupply Suistudio shows, a contemporary way of empowerment in womenswear). I would argue that the two most important decades influencing today’s sartorial sphere and the tailoring insiders are the 1920s and the 1970s, so I put together two little sketches playing with it.
I am curious about your impression,what do you see, 1925 or 1975 ?