The Turbulent Times of Men’s Fashion

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turbulent times of men's fashion
When it comes to dressing for the outdoors, men have historically had the advantage. I mean, right from day dot, men were the ones sent out from the cave to hunt down unsuspecting wildebeest, and to then magically manifest fire out of seemingly lifeless stones, woods and bracken. Women were apparently content at this time to huddle up with children in various stages of infancy, sometimes peering out of the cave into the gloom or heading out to gather the prehistoric version of muesli, perhaps warding off the occasional bear or passing lion.

As such, men had to be prepared, as the Scouts motto goes. So, they donned their finest animal skins and leather boots (yes, they did apparently fashion such boots from animal hides – clever them!) and wrap up warm in what I can only imagine were the icy, icy depths of cavernous winters, poised to swallow any witless hunters alive. Even in hot countries men would have had to balance dressing practically with working the whole tribe vibe. Which beads go with these feathers? Are three stripes of war paint on each arm just too much before the ritual mating begins? They had it hard right from the start.
turbulent times of men's fashion
Fast forward many millennium and men have constantly had to think on their feet. Are you a six foot five strapping Viking with a passion for rampaging and a desire to become one of Norway’s ultimate boat burners? If so, step up to the challenge of a year long mission around the (known) world in a long boat. You’ll only require basic equipment, namely your body and a spear, and don’t worry about whether you’ll make friends on the boat – you’ll either kill them and eat them, or huddle next to them for the next eight months when you get stranded off the coast of Iceland. Food? Well, if you like whale skin, you’ll do just fine, Erik.

In such a situation, men have had to dress for any weather and ensure that they keep the cold and damp out, along with the occasional sword. Those soldiers at Agincourt didn't wear their weight in steel for fun, you know. Farmers and peasants had to make do with the likes of woolen tunics and sheep skin tunics, and as a result must have frequently been soaked to the skin. If you were a noble man, you learnt pretty quickly the importance of elaborate and sometimes ridiculous clothing, as well as the necessary doublet and hose for those unfortunates who lived in Tudor times.

So, all along men have had to adapt and make their fashions work, a fact which I feel sometimes goes unnoticed. In modern days, men have much more guidance on what is good and practical to wear, as do women. Work wear is pretty much sorted, the only problem being that guys have the unfortunate task of still pulling off the shirt and tie look in sweltering weather, whilst girls can get away with skirts and blouses. Casual wear is a field day for anyone with money and an interest in fashion.

When it comes to outer wear, however, you will soon realise that men certainly have an easy ride. With the Barbour jacket, a man can look stylish, classic and sophisticated. Whether you’re wearing the Bedale, an equestrian jacket cut in a short style, the Beaufort in a medium length which is cut long enough to cover a suit jacket, or the Border, the longest of the three which, thanks to its longer length, offers the best protection from the outdoors.
It’s good to know that in at least one area of fashion men have an easy time of it!
David writes about the changing world of how classic brands continue to offer the same range of successful products decade after decade and survive the ever changing storm in one of the world's most competitive and fad-focused consumer markets.

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4 comments:

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