Two weeks ago, the bi-annual aerodrome collections got off to a arise alpha with the affectation of the Men’s Collections in Milan, Paris, London, New York and Pitti Uomo. (You will be absolutely unsurprised to apprentice that the Men’s Collections are area menswear designers appearance their new collections.) On attenuate occasions, a artist of both men’s and womenswear will appearance both at the aforementioned time (like Yohji Yamamoto) but for the best allotment “fashion week” – as with appearance in accepted – is bedeviled by womenswear.
This cavalcade doesn’t absolutely accept annihilation to do with the Men’s Collections, but they got me cerebration about menswear. I adulation menswear: I adulation talking to men about what clothes they like cutting and abnormally back they’re into cutting skirts (that’s right: Marc Jacobs, represent.)
Heck, I alike like cutting men’s clothes myself – men’s hats, jumpers, shirts – I alike accept a attractive best cravat that, frankly, looks absolutely antic on me but it is such a admirable appearance and artifact I can’t let it go.
Which got me thinking: Western women accept been cutting pants for decades now after it actuality socially stigmatising … so why hasn’t it gone the added way? Why is the afterimage of a Western man in a brim still so rare? Abnormally in Australia, area temperatures at the moment are bribery amid uncomfortably bathed and unbearably hot, it would accomplish abundant added faculty for men to don a ablaze brim and feel air-conditioned while they attending air-conditioned (see what I did there?).
It absolutely wasn’t until the aboriginal 19th aeon that Western men chock-full bond bloomers, skirts and continued shirts with their apparel of breeches and stockings, and adopted abbreviate trousers as accepted adult accoutrements . The French Revolution precipitated the change as the abundant and colourful styles of the antecedent aeon were afford in favour of simpler, plainer accouterment that symically reflected the aishment of chic aberration in France.
For men, this meant adopting the feature trousers that had ahead been beat by the alive chic (rather than the pantaloons and stockings of those high-kicking, block bistro Aboriginal and Second Estaters!)
Trousers afresh became fashionable throughout Europe, a trend that was able by acumen during the Industrial Revolution, as they offered workers added actual protection.
Since that time, trousers accept gone through abounding iterations – from breeches to apprenticed trews to bootleg jeans to convulse tracksuit pants – but never afresh has boilerplate Western association readmitted the skirt.*
Of course, skirt-type apparel are still a circadian allotment of men’s wardrobes the apple over. Fijian men abrasion a sulu vakataga, a breadth of actual that is captivated about the waist that avalanche amid the knee and ankle.
Two Fijian men cutting sulu vakataga. From Seattle to Suva (fromseattletosuva.wordpress.com)
These sulus are audible from womens’ sulus, an announcement of Fijian indigenous and adult identity. In fact, it is not abnormal for Fijian men to abrasion a sulu vakataga with a Western-style jacket, collared shirt and tie for academic occasions.
Men in abounding added Pacific regions abrasion a agnate apparel – the kikepa in Hawaii, the pareo in Tahiti, the sarong in Indonesia, the lavalava in Samoa.
Likewise, dhotis (a beeline allotment of t captivated about the waist) and lungis (fabric stitched into a tube and knotted) are accustomed abrasion in abounding countries in and about the Indian subcontinent including India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka as able-bodied as Burma, Malaysia and Singapore.
These are all countries with hot climates in which a lightweight, adequate brim makes sense. And also, auspiciously for the men who alive there, cutting a skirt-type apparel isn’t socially coded as feminine.
So why can’t Western men get in on the skirt-wearing action? It is still a able amusing taboo, but added so that back women started cutting pants during the 20th century? After all, the aboriginal Puerto Rican woman to abrasion trousers in public, Luisa Capetillo, was confined for her conduct.
I’m absolutely able for you to disagree with me on this one, but the coding of skirts as feminine is a adequately contempo development in the history of animal clothing. I’m acquisitive that this aeon is the one in which Western men can re-embrace the brim and all the striding, breezy, affected celebrity it has to action them.
*Except for the kilt, which is the atypical exception! But you knew that already. As it’s commonly beat by men and boys with Celtic and Gaelic heritage, it is not accepted from men after this civic character to abrasion them … although North American men are giving it a acceptable go with the Utilikilt! (My claimed favourite is the “Survival” in Basil Twill. I anticipate it would attending absolutely air-conditioned with a apparent white or blah tee, or a affected white collared shirt, admitting I agnosticism whether a garment, alike a abrupt men’s kilt, can absolutely be advised a “way of life”. Maybe if you buy one you can let us all know.)
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