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The Look goes on...

Discussion in 'Streetwear and Denim' started by Mr Knightley, Mar 13, 2014.

  1. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Well-Known Member

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    Guys, let's get back to the real stuff now having said enough about our differences. We need to focus on the things that bring us all together - a love of the Look and keeping it alive.

    The military discussion is interesting and reminds me that most things in our wardrobes today started life either as military kit, sportswear or work wear.
     
    3 people like this.
  2. Thin White Duke

    Thin White Duke Well-Known Member

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    Those US Army raincoats are an interesting topic. IIRC there were two versions, one was a bit shiny and lightweight - possibly more water resistant, the other was more like a matt medium weight gabardine, but still definitely a trench coat, not thick enough to qualify as a greatcoat, overcoat etc.

    Towards the end of the revival period, about 1981, when some of the lads in our set were trying to distance ourselves slightly from the 'parka and jam shoes' uniform ("we are the Mods!") my mate Stu got the gabereine version and wore it in place of a parka which looked really smart IMO.

    Fast forward ten plus years and I was living in America but didn't yet own a car. Somehow I got on the mailing list of a catalogue named 'International Male' which was aimed at flambuoyant dressers. Some stuff looked OK but there were always things like pirate shirts and velvet bell bottoms on sale too! I don't remember buying anything from them except they had some USAF trench coats and I got one. Can't remember the price but I know it was very cheap, maybe $25 to $45. Anyway this was definitely legit military issue as it had the shoulder straps removed. Blue gray gabardine. Perfect to wear over my suit whilst walking to the bus stop in the rain. I really liked this coat but once I got a car I wore it very rarely, and even less so when I got a black leather Shaft / Herr Flick style trench coat in leather! (Haven't worn that one in ages either now!) When me and my ex split up it wasn't till months later that I discovered the USAF coat was missing and wonder if she kept it to give to her brother or something. The fate remains a mystery.

    Occasionally I have a trawl on eBay to see if I can find a replacement but sometimes it's difficult to tell by the pics if it's the same style coat for sale. There isn't an army and navy anywhere near me to see one in the flesh. Since I now mostly either work from home or else fly out of town I don't know that I'd ever need one anyway. I do own a Harry Palmer style light raincoat which is easy to pack and I've worn very rarely so you can see why I don't have a pressing need, but as Clouseau suggests, sometimes we seek out items that are a postcard to things we owned in our youth.

    I hunted high and low for the right pair of black bowling shoes ... and haven't worn them once! I had a scarlet red leather blazer made (The Jam's video for 'Start') like one I owned in 1980 but that one does get worn. I bet I'm not the only one to be doing this ... hopefully within reason and in the spirit of evolving style with respect to aging, not a lame attempt to dress and look exactly like I was aged 16!
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  3. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    My intention all along.
     
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  4. Man-of-Mystery

    Man-of-Mystery Well-Known Member

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    Military: The jacket I'm wearing in this pic from 2014 is by Pakeman Catto & Carter, who started as makers of dress uniform.

    [​IMG]

    Sorry I couldn't find a better pic - I never fill clothes well.
     
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  5. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Well-Known Member

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    Picking up on @Thin White Duke 's post I have often been in a phase where I am drawn to the items I either wore or admired in my yoof but knowing all along I would rarely, if ever, wear them.

    Recent purchases have included a pair of Hush Puppies Chicago shoes in root beer suede, reckoned by Oi Polloi to have been the exact replica of the mid-60s style that was so popular with mods. Also, sand colour Clarks dessies - both pairs seem odd to me today and are very rarely out of the wardrobe.

    The much-reviled (here) safari jacket is another example of wanting something from the mid-60s, knowing I would struggle with it.

    I have also flirted off and on with bright red socks but never returned to the white ones of the 1980s Essex Man!
     
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  6. covskin

    covskin Well-Known Member

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    ...the result of inappropriate wear and make do. Not really seeing either of those driving things these days. I suppose punk would have been the last wave of inappropriate wear, with the bondage gear thing (though I never realised what that stuff really was until I was 20 or so lol). Make do, well thats with shapeless Sports Direct 'sportswear' and Go Outdoors 'outdoorswear' these days isn't it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  7. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Well-Known Member

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    Well, @covskin I am not absolutely sure I get your meaning.

    In making my broad sweeping statement I was perhaps thinking along the following lines – these are just some random examples of how things evolved from military / sports / work wear:

    Morning dress – a direct descendent of the equestrian togs gentlemen would have worn in the days of the Regency, for example (sportswear)

    The polo shirt – we all know that one

    The Blucher / Gibson / Derby – named after the 18th century Prussian general Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher. General von Blücher commissioned a boot with side pieces lapped over the front in an effort to provide his troops with improved footwear. This design was adopted by armies across Europe (military)

    The bowler hat (loved by 1960s Mods in my area) - It was designed by London hatmakers Thomas and William Bowlers for hatters Lock & Co of St James's. The brief was to create a piece of headgear that could be worn by gamekeepers when they were out riding to protect their heads from low-hanging branches and stuff (sportswear / workwear)

    The button down shirt - Introduced by Brooks Brothers in 1896, they were patterned after the shirts of polo players and were used almost exclusively on sports shirts until the 1950s (sportswear)

    The tie (necktie) - Most I think agree that the tie originated in the 17th century, during the 30 year war in France. King Louis XIII hired Croatian mercenaries who wore a piece of cloth around their neck as part of their uniform (military).

    Etc, etc…
     
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  8. covskin

    covskin Well-Known Member

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    ^ just thinking about the underlying process, all of those things you mention were taken into their new context at some point. Deliberately inappropriate - something bought for that purpose - or the casual inappropriateness of make do - I've got it so I'll wear it. I don't see those processes operating in this environment. To have entropy you first need order.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
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  9. Thin White Duke

    Thin White Duke Well-Known Member

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    I bet there's loads of incidents within clothing history where someone has tried repurposing an item out fun, need, or any other reason. Sometimes the result will have been met with derision, and other times with applause and thus a new trend was born.

    The original Mods who visited Carnaby Street when there was just a couple of boutiques there went round the corner to the Lonsdale shop and saw all manner of sportswear - polo shirts, boxing boots, cycling gear - and before long these items were accepted staples of casual Mod gear. Parkas were never very stylish but clearly functional in the British climate. Trench coats were a more stylish option for crappy weather. Desert boots are versatile in a number of outfits etc etc. Remember the original Mods were constantly trying to 'one up' each other, trying new ideas and seeing which had traction then they could claim to have been the originator of a trend. I think it was Jonny Moke who tells of leaving his shitty plimsoles at the bowling alley and walking out with bowling shoes to wear at RSG. A couple of weeks later everyone in the studio was wearing the same.
     
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  10. cerneabbas

    cerneabbas Well-Known Member

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    MrK,I have bought items that I used to covet in the past and very often they go unworn ,a pair of Bass Weejuns being an example.
    I think that nostalgia is great but we have to accept that some items are to archaic or perhaps more importantly dont suit us now as we are no longer teenagers.

    I think that your Safari jacket is a good idea,however most military kit is made untailored,Officers traditionally had their own uniforms made up,other ranks often have issued kit tailored or altered ( or in more recent times bought their own alternative to issued,known as 'Gucci kit' ).

    White socks are still a no for me,someone i know was walking past a school a few years ago and he was wearing white socks,he said all the little kids were laughing at him and calling him Michael Jackson...
    Which brings up another point about what we used to wear,some items have become a bit cliched ?sheepskin coats-John Motson/second hand car dealers for instance.
    Someone mentioned wearing their raincoat and a cap and being called Victor Meldrew,ok we can all say "I will wear what I like",but nobody wants to go out dressed so they know that they are going to get the p1ss taken out of them?
     
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  11. AngryYoungPoor

    AngryYoungPoor Well-Known Member

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    double post
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
  12. cerneabbas

    cerneabbas Well-Known Member

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    Add Wellingtons,Cardigan and Raglan to the military inspired list.

    Some early 80s Casuals wore tennis clothing,Ellesse or Fila track tops,Sergio Tacchini polos,Head bags, loads of different trainers all from tennis.

    From a 'the Look goes on' point,I wonder what is worn now by sportsmen or the military that would fit into 'the Look' I would say not a lot,outdoorwear is better from a practical point of view than ever,waterproof,windproof,quick drying,lightweight etc etc,but that practicality has come at the expense of any style.
    I do a fair bit of walking / hiking in the Brecon beacons here and in many parts of Continental Europe, I have my battered old Snugpak Sleeka,its about 15 years old now, I have worn it in some pretty nasty weather and its great,used it as a pillow,dressing gown a towel even,always at the top of my bag and on it goes over everything when it gets cold or wet or windy,very light....but it has no shape or style,just to wear it in the city would look like I was sleeping rough.
    Similarly sportswear,new Technical fabrics are quick drying,they take sweat away from your body and are easy to wash (just as well as they tend to smell) so they are great for their intended use but again not stylish at all.
     
  13. AngryYoungPoor

    AngryYoungPoor Well-Known Member

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    Funnily enough, I've been unintentionally going this route lately with positive reviews from the Mrs (the boss haha). Clean yet shabby? My link to this "look" to The Look was inspired by the dressed down era of The Casuals in the mid-late 80s.
    We'll see how long it lasts or if it progresses..
     
  14. covskin

    covskin Well-Known Member

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    When old dress like young, rich dress like poor and the fat dress like sportsmen then where is there to go for inspiration?

    I think we see it on the other 'streetwear' threads, some invented archetype such as the 'goth ninja' or 'spaceman' to transfer a look from.

    Isn't 'hipster' a sign of that too - a jumble of past authenticities, now at six degrees of separation, never anything current.

    I wonder what that erstwhile Lonsdale shop is selling now?

    Feels like the only worthwhile route open to me is to try and perfect what I have, to fall back on detail.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2016
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  15. cerneabbas

    cerneabbas Well-Known Member

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    One of the saddest things was when my local football club advertised 'Replica shirts now available in XXXL '.
    I remember buying a T shirt in that Lonsdale shop,the style of print became very popular for a while on various T shirts and sweatshirts.

    Your last point is I feel one of the key factors in 'the Look goes on' where does it go ?
    I dont really want to be just replacing like for like when it wears out,probably with the quality going down each time as manufacturers cut costs.
    I want to keep things 'fresh' but with the same ancestery ?
     
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  16. Fruitbat

    Fruitbat Well-Known Member

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    I can remember going in the Lonsdale shop with a boxer friend of mine, and being introduced to a young Frank Bruno who was seated on a 3 legged stool.
    Re quality- the biggest depreciation in quality I've noticed over the decades is in knitwear.
    I don't recall water thin merino in the 80's- it was comparatively thick lambswool.
    They might have succombed to shrinkage if anything other than handwashed, but they didn't fall apart in a hurry.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2016
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  17. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Well-Known Member

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    In the 1960s M&S was the place to go for knitwear for mods and later for skinheads.

    The knitwear was laid out on low shelves just folded once so that punters could freely check out the goods. There were three weights: botany wool, lambswool and Shetland wool. I recall v necks, crew necks, slipovers and cardis. Some wonderful colours too.

    Today you need to spend large amounts of money to achieve those levels of quality and interest. Is it, I wonder, that among the general population proper knitwear along with many other things that we hold dear is just not on their radar? Hoodies and sweatshirts rule...
     
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  18. cerneabbas

    cerneabbas Well-Known Member

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    Totally agree about M&S MrK,used to be great quality knitwear,quite flimsy now.
    Lyle and Scott have reduced in thickness / weight too.
    I have noticed that it is more difficult to find handwash powder in the shops these days,I used to buy Dreft but I cant find it now,maybe a sign that people are not wearing woollen knitwear ?

    I looked on the website of Berteil,a shop in Paris that Clouseau has mentioned,some really nice coloured plain knitwear,very different shades to those that you find here.
     
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  19. Mr Knightley

    Mr Knightley Well-Known Member

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    I'll check to see what handwash we use. I recall Armani always insisted on 'woolite' - haven't seen that lately.

    Thanks for the heads-up on Berteil.
     
  20. cerneabbas

    cerneabbas Well-Known Member

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    Waitrose non-biological laundry powder is what I use now...I just hope they dont stop selling it...

    Clouseau will be able to tell us about the quality of Berteil knitwear.
     

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