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We Got Everything We Wanted from the Menswear Industry

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Caustic Man, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. Caustic Man

    Caustic Man Stylish Dinosaur

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    When I first started lurking and, finally, participating in StyFo I sensed a distinct disconnect between what the Old Gods of StyleForum advocated and what the menswear fashion industry produced. Bespoke customers like Michael Anton and Vox(whoever) wore moderate, to wide, lapel jackets made with real canvas, patch pockets, really nice buttons. If you couldn't afford bespoke clothes, or wanted to find menswear on a budget, you were pretty much relegated to the slim fitting, skinny lapeled, stuff that always seemed too short and made of some weird shiny cloth.

    Not that all the OTR offerings were that bad from a construction and materials point of view. They were just hopelessly fashion forward and obviously would be relegated to the scrap heap of bad fashion in very short order. Then something happened, and I'm still not sure what it was. Maybe it was the rise of Pitti as a social media phenomenon. Maybe it was that long running television show Mad Men. Maybe it was a spontaneous awakening among men searching for something that harkened back to a time when manhood was better understood, and more valued. Whatever it was, the term "timeless" came to be used frequently by menswear manufacturers. This timelessness couldn't help but be nostalgic because timelessness always looks back rather than forward.

    But perhaps more than a term, timeless became a value in menswear. The notion of timelessness in clothing has been convincingly criticized by people claiming that it doesn't really exist. Classic menswear may change more slowly than, say, womenswear but it does change. Nevertheless, the idea of timelessness as a more or less practical notion persists. Why is it a practical notion? Because even if menswear isn't timeless it can still be styled in such a way that a man can wear clothes he bought 20 years ago and still feel contemporary today. This is the middle way. The Zen of Menswear. Clothing styled moderately and with restraint.

    Somewhere along the line, probably starting with Suit Supply, that's what we started getting. We started getting moderately styled clothing made of good cloths and relatively nice construction. Indeed, SuSu was described by more than one person I knew as a "breath of fresh air." And it went forward from there. Soon even SuSu seemed a little too fashion forward as makers like @spiermackay challenged the menswear consumer landscape by offering good quality menswear made of shockingly nice cloths at affordable prices. Brooks Brothers' quality and styling stabilized to the point that they now offer good quality and classic styling. J. Press made a comeback with an emphasis on classic styling and old-school cockiness. And Rowing Blazers took the streetwear scene by storm with a jacket that is, essentially, a copy of a pattern that is more than 100 years old.

    From those early days, which aren't so far away, to today we have been privy to monumental shifts in the ways that people buy, wear, market, and make clothing. Let us pause for a moment to appreciate those changes. The global transformations that prefigured this phenomenon are wide reaching and complex. We likely won't know the full consequences of them for some time. But what we can know is that we got everything we wanted from the menswear industry.
     

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