1940s style

The decline and fall of hat wearing

The English historian Edward Gibbon attributed the decline and fall of the once ubiquitous Roman Empire to the gradual, enervating loss of martial dedication and civic discipline among its citizenry. In a way, the Romans did not keep up the appearances required of an enduring civilization. Put simply, the slipping of standards led to the …

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Revisiting Cary Grant: An interview with Richard Torregrossa

Although it’s been a few years since the publication of Cary Grant: A Celebration of Style by Richard Torregrossa, I thought it timely to revisit CG’s legacy. In particular, I had recently finished reading two memoirs of CG, one by his wife Dyan Cannon and another by his only child, Jennifer Grant. As I was …

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Style icon: Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915-2011)

As far as I know, Mr. Fermor has never been nominated as a “style icon” although he has been described as “a cross between Indiana Jones, James Bond and Graham Greene.” But Fermor’s passing away makes clear, to me at any rate, why this superb, idiosyncratic writer of travels and journeys should rank highly in …

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Style as evolution v. static equilibrium

Despite the efforts of provocative designers such as Thom Browne and Kris van Assche, the contemporary Western male is largely conservative regarding color, pattern and cut. We are perhaps the logical culmination of the Great Austerity in men’s clothing that began with Beau Brummell’s simplification of gentlemanly dress in the early 1800s. Of course there …

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Japanese repro-authenticity: The push and pull of vintage clothing

As a follow-up to my previous entry on heritage brands, I thought it would be especially relevant to mention the pivotal role of the Japanese in the resurrection of “authentic” vintage styles, makes and brands. The Japanese are masters of finding, exhuming and preserving vintage clothing and the original brands associated with them, often in …

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The rise and fall of hats: Stetson Whippet advertisement

In 2009 I wrote about hatwearing and four reasons why men wear hats today. I decided to write about hats because it seemed to me that hatwearing (brimmed hats) among men has picked up in the past five years. So when did hatwearing supposedly die off before making this recent comeback? Some say after World …

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Two style icons: Fred Astaire & Rita Hayworth

Of course, the more well-known pairing is Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers but things were never lovelier, richer or more sublime than Astaire and Hayworth. They were an impossibly superb dance couple. And Astaire’s dancing clothes were phenomenal in an unobtrusive way. One is reminded of the dictum that form follows function. On Astaire, everything …

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