Redditor daou0782 explains the difference between a $450 black t-shirt from Rick Owens and a $5 black t-shirt from Hanes. He then talks about the importance of details, and how there are two ways to appreciate clothing: clothes as means-to-an-end, and clothes as an end in itself. I don’t wear long, drapey, black tees, and wouldn’t pay $450 for one, but daou0782’s post is pretty interesting and sensible.
“[Someone who] dresses well but not remarkably.”— Coco Chanel, when asked how she would define a fashionable person. (This post was inspired by The Prophet Pizza)
Yesterday’s post on fashion cycles reminded me that I have these photos sitting on my computer. These are “oxford bags” - a style of ridiculously baggy trousers that was popular in the early 20th century. They were often made of flannel wool, and originated with undergraduate students at Oxford University (hence the name). At the peak of their popularity in 1925, the bottom hem of men’s pant legs was almost always under 20 inches in circumference. (For reference, most “fashionable” trousers today have a circumference of 16 to 18 inches for suits, and maybe 15 to 17 inches for odd trousers). Oxford bags, in contrast, sometimes measured 40 inches or more.
You would not be wrong to think of them as the gentleman’s version of Jncos.
Above: The relationship between the frequencies of men’s beards and the width of women’s skirts, charted over time from 1823 to 1970. The graph is taken from a paper published in The American Journal of Sociology. According to The Atlantic:
Robinson’s theory as to why fashion—both sartorial and hirsute—seems to come in waves is this: Young people tend to eschew the tastes of their elders, but old trends seem new again after a sufficient amount of time has passed. So while long skirts may fall out of favor for one generation, their grandchildren will think they’re the cat’s pajamas.
“I know I look like a wanker. I enjoy looking like a wanker. Looking like a wanker is a basic human right and a huge part of having a signature style. I have always looked like a wanker. I looked like a wanker when I wore plaid bondage outfits in 1978. I looked like a wanker when I dressed like a pirate during the early-’80s New Romantic era. I am sure I will die looking like a wanker. I never subscribed to the idea of good taste: It’s a subjective concept promoted by fashion scribes to oppress the rest of us. Dressing age-inappropriately is, so they say, in poor taste, and it’s vulgar. This is exactly why I celebrate it.”— Simon Doonan wrote an enjoyable counterpoint to articles (and, um, websites) that advise people to dress tastefully and age appropriately.
“Manhattanites in plaid flannel shirts and crepe-soled leather boots are hiking down Fifth Avenue. Students in goose-down vests and baggy sweatpants are trekking through Harvard Square. Dudes in lumber jackets are hanging out in Beverly Hills. Few of these folks have a clue how to swing a fly rod or an ax. But they do know that outdoor gear designed for the backwoods has come in from the cold for wear everywhere.”— Written in 2010 or 1976? Answer is here.
Put This On: Consolidation (Milan)
Milan is one of the world’s great fashion capitals… but these days, it’s dominated by one megaconglomerate: Prada. How does this consolidation affect craftsmen? What about consumers? We went to Milan to ask those questions.
This is just one segment from our latest episode; you can (and should!) watch the whole thing right here.
Put This On Season 2, Episode 6: Consolidation
Gucci Gucci Louis Louis Fendi Fendi Prada… what happens when a hundred artisans’ shops become a few global megacompanies? We went to Milan, Italy, to talk to small-scale makers who work in the shadow of fashion conglomerates like Prada. It’s one of our most ambitious episodes and the grand finale of our season.
Take Antonio Pio Mele, a cobbler who makes shoes by hand in a small shop in central Milan. He’s grateful that huge brands occasionally hire him to make samples, but he’s angry they rarely pay him on time and that their “bespoke” operations are rarely genuinely bespoke. Scholar Alex Pietrogiacomi provides some philosophical context, and photographer Simone Falcetta explains how consolidation has changed the fashion world.
We also talk to Milanese dandy Pino Pipoli, Dave Hill offers a rudiment about black suits, and the beautiful Valentina Galbiati gives us a guided tour of Milan’s most influential and beautiful boutique, 10 Corso Como.
Watch it elsewhere:
This episode was supported by our viewers.
Executive Producers: Jesse Thorn & Adam Lisagor
Director: Benjamin Ahr Harrison
Host / Writer / Producer: Jesse Thorn
Rudiments: Dave Hill
Producer: Gianluca Migliarotti
Director of Photography: Daniele Vascelli
Sound: Daniele Belli
Editor: Brendan Ferrer
Subtitle Translation: Giovanni D’Amico
“Fashion, n. A despot whom the wise ridicule and obey.”— Ambrose Bierce