Originally Posted by George
I think the 'soft', 'drapey' style resonates more with Americans than does the quintessential military influenced British style.
I think many Americans admire it, but find it too ostentatious.
Speaking generally of course.
The capsule history, which has been discussed ad nauseum
, inadequately, in detail, from a bird's eye view, at length, poorly, well, with clarity, and with absolute opaqueness in forum-land and is this:
1. Brooks Brothers dressed the American urban WASP class from the mid 19th century until nearly the end of the 20th. It pioneered standardized sizing for gentlemen and high quality RTW. Brooks dressed politicians, it dressed business leaders, and it dressed American military officers (and still does, although not as commandingly.) It was a locus of introducing a selection of Anglophilic, and largely country, accessories and casual wear into America. The archetype of the Brooks Brothers lounge look, the No. 1 Sack, was natural shouldered, eschewed close fit, and had within its class of wearers a democratizing effect.
2. American style, in general, since the Civil War has driven two things: in each generation, pressures to further casualize clothing and also to dismantle overt class distinctions in tailored dress. It still influences things to this day in the same way. It is the same two effects English country style had on European dress after the French Revolution. The American upper class was the among the most avaricious and most addicted to conspicuous consumption of any group in history, but income tax and the Great Depression encouraged a dour and meeker public face for which Brooks was perfect.
3. Starting in the 1920s and reaching its apex in the early 1960s, the collegiate version of the Brooks Brothers look, represented most clearly in shops founded in New Haven and for many years supplied by manufacturies in New Haven, sublimated throughout the American consciousness along with the grown-up Brooks Brothers look. For a brief time in the 1960s, it shared the limelight with other American styles and was worn by a wide variety of classes and became associated with American international ascendancy.
This history is largely kaput except in ironic or costumey recreation, but some of us are still affected by it in terms of what we prefer. This doesn't stop guys like dopey, for example, from wearing both that and also a structured look (Dege in his case.)
By and large, though, the three factors above make modern America an unfriendly place for a structured look. (Although we certainly have had our versions of it as nearly any 1940s photograph of a typical will show...but confounding today's forum stereotypes, our 20th century structured looks also involved a degree of drape that would swallow an A&S like the whale did Jonah.)
Most Americans today do not admire tailored clothes as every day dress. Of any type. Period.