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Manliness, Modernity and Male Clothing

Nowadays we understand the word tailoring as cutting and sewing of cloth, which was developed gradually in Europe between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

At that time cloth was the important feature of any garment. Men’s fashion has certainly evolved through the centuries. While much has always been made of women’s fashion, men’s styles are no less noteworthy. Until I starting researching about men’s cloth history I didn’t know how much men cloth have changed during the time.

Throughout history, men have placed a great degree of importance on their attire, much of it dependent on their standing in the community. Some areas of the world haven’t experienced as dramatic a change in men’s fashion as others, but if you take a look at a fashion timeline from a European and North American perspective you will see how much has changed over the centuries.






“Whether they are politicians, bankers or trade-union leaders, men nearly always meet other men in suits. The uniform of capitalism has conquered more of the globe than capitalism itself. It has become a symbol of conformity. “Suit” was the chosen insult of hippies to describe a dull establishment man. The garment has been ostentatiously rejected by Silicon Valley titans like Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sergey Brin of Google. Yet the business suit has an exciting and mysterious history that should give wearers a tingle of pleasure every time they put one on. It is a garment born out of revolution, warfare and pestilence. The suit still bears the marks of this turbulent past as well as the influence of Enlightenment thinking, sporting pursuits and a Regency dandy. In the year that may well mark the 150th anniversary of the suit it seems a shame that no celebrations were held in its honour.”  (Suitably dressed,

It has been tremendous innovations in these past hundred years in fashion and the art of tailoring: sewing machines now do the work on straight seams better than could be done by hand; new fabric technology has history produced more comfortable cloths; fashions have adapted to more leisurely, climate-controlled lifestyles. “…but tailoring is still, and likely to remain so, an art. It has not been brought down to the level of a science. The tailor still believes in making personalized clothing, statements of fashion for the individual, as he always has done.Even since the invention of ready-made, cheaply-produced clothes in the middle of the last century, the demise of the tailor has been predicted.” (History men cloth, 12)


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