A few weeks ago, I was contacted by the British men’s clothing company T.M. Lewin. While I never have personally purchased clothing from them, I was very aware of the name and longevity. Established in 1898, they have spent the past one hundred years providing high quality men’s clothing and are well-known for the introduction of the button down shirt. So what, may you ask, is a men’s clothing store doing reaching out to me, a women’s historical clothing blog? Well, the company wished to celebrate 300 years of British influence on men’s fashion and wondered if I would be interested in participating. At first, I wasn’t sure what I could do. I mean, I enjoy men’s clothing, but enough to write about it? I just wasn’t sure. So I thought and spent some time studying the fabulous timeline graphic they sent me, and realized the large connection between men and women’s clothing. I thoroughly enjoyed my time researching and loved finding examples of women’s fashion that directly corresponded with men’s.
So, with all that said, I decided to participate in their celebration…but with my own twist. Below you will find sections of their timeline along with examples of women’s fashion which bears influence and connection….although with a bit more grace and femininity!
I choose to highlight the floral impact on fashion for this particular century. While today, most individuals equate floral prints exclusively as women’s clothing, that was not always the case. Notice the embroidery on the men’s suit, along with the influence on the floral print of the women’s gown below! Both are absolutely stunning!
1770’s Floral Gown from the Digitalt Museum
I have a slight obsession with anything Regency. I just do. So clearly, out of this century, I had to pick something from the 1810’s. And what better choice than showing examples of the riding coat!
1815 Men’s and Women’s Riding Outfits, Kyoto Costume Institute
My second choice to highlight from this century is the Sack Coat from the years 1850-1860. A loose fitting outwear garment that was worn by both men and women. Similar in shape, color and decorations were the two only real ways that this coat differed.
From this century, the first item that stood out to me is the trench coat. A item that is just as popular today as it was a hundred years ago. Similar in color and shape, women tweaked this item to create a coat known as a duster. A handy little item used to protect one’s gown from those dusty automobile rides!
Of course, post on 20th century fashion would not be complete without a little 1940’s love. With the suit a well established staple for men, women, especially during the second world war, followed suit…no pun intended! 🙂 Similar in pattern and shape, both genders embraced the structured look the suit of the 1940’s offered.
This reciprocal exchange of fashion influence will continue to shape fashion for decades, and I daresay, centuries to come. But with tweaks here and there, each gender can appreciate and enjoy something unique!
Many thanks to T.M. Lewin for inspiring this post!!