Archives for posts with tag: mens style

ImageThe cotton oxford button-down is one of the most versatile items in your closet and consequently one of the most replicated items in the marketplace. Named after the Oxford weave (which was named after the university), these shirts traditionally are made of 100% cotton. Cotton is perfect for this item because the fiber properties coupled with the weave allows for breathability. This was especially important in the athletic origin of this clothing item. Since it is cotton it is also easily laundered, a necessity for anyone that is lazy like myself. 

ImageIn the 1800’s the cotton oxford button-down could only be found on polo players in England as a portion of their uniform. Lucky for us, in 1896 Brooks Brothers launched the first line of cotton oxford button-downs catapulting this popular item into the American marketplace. By the middle of the 20th century button downs were a staple for both men and women. What started as a uniform for athletes soon turned into the “WASPY” uniform of east coast Ivy leaguers.

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1930’s film star Marlene Dietrich is credited with “androgynous style” of oxford button downs and suites. She was once the highest paid actress in Hollywood and by many considered one of the sexiest. She shows a different way to wear the ever versatile oxford button-down. It was once considered a male only item, but through women like Marlene Dietrich it soon became a staple for men and women alike.

ImageIn the 1960’s JFK brought the Ivy-league style of oxford button-downs to center stage. As America’s president and a style icon through the years, he forever preserved the relaxed preppy style of a white oxford. I would like to take a second to thank Brooks Brothers for making all the handsome oxford clad pictures of JFK possible.

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In the 1980’s Tom Cruise placed the oxford button-down on the silver screen in a very big way. His dance scene in Risky Business, wearing only oxford button-down, underwear, and tall white socks forever immortalized this shirt. During the mid-80’s the “preppy” look was in and that meant oxford button-downs and boat shoes. This look has staying power, as we still see it across college campuses 30 years later.

ImageToday we see oxford button-downs every day. The item has been transformed, restored, and transformed again. Children and adults of both genders wear oxfords daily. This item seems to never go out of style even if it goes through styling changes. Today you can find college girls wearing oversize or “boyfriend” oxfords with leggings or shorts. J-crew inspired families’ wear them paired with kakis and sweaters for family portraits.  Women of all ages wear oxfords with skirts and pants of all silhouettes and shapes. Men wear them at the beach and to the office in traditional and non-traditional fabric patterns. No other item can be worn so many ways and by so many people; it has become a ”uniform” of sorts for Americans across the country.

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Jim Stark, played by James Dean in the 1955 film “Rebel without a Cause”, is an angst filled teen that became a “role model” of sorts for generations.  He was cool, mysterious, and handsome. The film was nominated for academy awards but didn’t win, this is ironic because it later went on to be inducted into the U.S. National Film Registry and listed as one of the 100 Greatest American Movies by the American Film Institute.  The movie has stood the test of time because most of us can relate to the rebellious spirit held by James Dean, even if the most rebellious thing we have ever done is stay out 30 minutes past curfew.  The movie sadly features several deaths of young adults, and gained publicity for this fact when James Dean died in a car accident a month before the movie’s release.

The movie starts out in a police station where the three main characters cross paths, and it ends with a police standoff where one of those same characters dies. Jim is the new kid in town and has a way of getting into trouble without trying. He angers some sketchy characters that challenge him to a knife fight, stolen car chicken race, and a chain wielding altercation. 

ImageJim decides to stand up for himself and face the gang in a dangerous challenge. This is where we see his iconic wardrobe change; he changes from slacks and button downs to Lee rider 101 blue jeans, a plain white t-shirt, boots, and a red nylon windbreaker (the windbreaker is often confused for a leather jacket). This is the look he is famous for and often related to the rebel image he portrays in the movie. In the movie it signified a choice to rebel and outside the movie it signified the rebellious spirit of a generation. The film is iconic for many reasons, but one of the main reasons is because of James Dean’s style. It was mimicked and became the uniform for cool teenagers. His windbreaker was created by Moss Mabry, and it is said that he made three of these jackets for the film. For years after the film Bob Dylan, John Belushi, and other celebrities decided they needed a jacket just like the one worn by Dean.

ImageImage“Rebel without a Cause” continues to be an inspiration through the decades. Michael Jackson’s famous red leather jacket in Thriller music video is said to be inspired by James Dean’s from the film. Joseph Abbound, at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for Spring/Summer 2013, showed a collection of menswear that was inspired by Jim Stark and Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive. During spring 2012 collection Michael Bastian honored James Dean’s style by created a collection of menswear that was inspired by how James would dress now. This film also inspired art, an exhibit at MOCA in LA curated by James Franco and sponsored by Gucci and Seven went on display in May 2012. These show the generational transcendence of this film’s style.

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