The Fedora: Feeling Fine

While more commonly worn by men today, the fedora was initially worn by a woman.

History of the Fedora

The first use of the fedora (a wide, soft-brimmed hat) dates back to the late 1800s.  In the play Fédora, Sarah Bernhardt played a Russian princess named Fédora Romanoff, who wore a soft-brimmed hat with a center crease. 

Since Bernhardt was influential in the women’s movement, the hat was eventually adopted as a symbol of female resistance and a rejection of stereotypical gender roles.

The hat later became popular with men after it was spotted on Edward, Prince of Wales, in the 1920s. Its popularity continued and soon, the British and Americans created different versions of the hat. While the Americans favored a wider brim, the British kept to a smaller brim size.

What Defines a Fedora?

The fedora has a very distinctive look, with a soft brim and creased center. The brim is normally as wide as 2.5 inches and the edge can be machine-hemmed or left as is. Generally, the hat is made of wool, cashmere, rabbit, or beaver felt.  It is also not uncommon to see hats fashioned from straw, cotton, hemp, linen, or leather.

The traditional colors of the fedora are earth tones, like black, brown, or gray.  After World War II, the palette grew to include khaki, blue, and green. 

A number of famous hat manufacturers still produce fedoras today, including Bailey, Borsalino, and Stetson.

Fedora in Pop Culture

The fedora has been associated with different groups throughout the 20th and 21st centuries:

  • The Early 1900s — The fedora was strongly associated with gangsters and Prohibition.
  • Late 1900s — Indiana Jones re-popularized the fedora by sharing a notable back story on how he received his iconic hat.
  • The Early 2000s — The fedora became affiliated with hipster culture.

Regardless of the era, the fedora is sure to add a touch of style to any outfit.

Motorbike Wear: From Fashion to Safety

Motorcycle fashion wasn’t always inspired by James Dean or Marlon Brando.

However, their iconic looks come to mind when people think of motorbike wear. So, does every motorbike rider own a black leather jacket or Harley Davidson gloves? Regardless, motorbike fashion has certainly evolved over the years.

Early Motorbike Fashion

When motorcycles first became popular in the early 1900s, men were still socially required to look presentable, even while riding a motorbike. This meant that the tweed suit was the go-to outfit of choice. Men accessorized with a flat cap to keep their hair neat and wore full-length riding boots. 

A Time of Transition

As motorcycles became faster and more advanced, motorbike wear became more sophisticated in nature. Soon, gear with new protective attributes was created, such as equestrian-inspired gauntlet gloves that helped protect the skin. Motorcycle police and military personnel commonly wore these. 

After Harley Davidson was founded in 1903, tight-fitted competition sweaters made of bright wool and embroidered with the Harley brand name came onto the scene. By 1910, riding trousers, leather skull caps, and aircraft-spec goggles were added to keep riders further protected. The WWI era premiered the popularity of thick horsehide overcoats. However, in 1928, the first leather jacket was designed by Irving Schott of New York City, which he named Perfecto after his favorite cigar. 

Time to Take Safety Seriously

The year 1935 brought about some serious changes to motorbike gear. After Lawrence of Arabia (T.E. Lawrence) died in a motorcycle accident, the question of head protection arose. At the time, British WW2 dispatch riders were required to wear cork or tin crash helmets.

The debate about head protection led to the first full-face, cork-lined helmets in the 1960s. These eventually morphed into the advanced helmets you see today.

Motorbike Fashion Then and Now

The nostalgic ‘Moto’ jacket will always be part and parcel of motorcycle fashion. In fact, jeans, boots, and the black leather jacket will always be classic motorbike wear. That said, modern riders also don face masks, high-tech uniforms, and fluorescent-colored clothing today. In fact, savvy riders focus not only on looking stylish but also on staying safe on the road.

Meet The Beret: Versatile and Revolutionary

The beret may have a reputation for being the favorite headgear of French mimes and Cuban revolutionaries.

However, this versatile hat has a more colorful history than you may realize. Made of felt fabric produced from shrinking wool fibers, the beret has been the common hat of choice for social revolutionaries for thousands of years.

The Humble Origins of the Beret

The oldest predecessors of today’s beret were discovered in Bronze Age tombs in Denmark and Italy. Archaeological records, sculptures, and paintings show that variations of the floppy wool hat were commonly worn across Western Europe through the Middle Ages. Because wool was in steady supply and felt was easy to produce, the beret was a wardrobe staple among the common populace.

Artists like Johannes Vermeer depicted peasant life on canvas during the Renaissance. Unsurprisingly, the beret figured largely in many of his works. The beret’s disc shape and waterproof nature made it attractive as both warm and cool weather headgear. In fact, the hat was favored among the peasantry for working outside in all weather conditions. 

Wartime Gear and French Fashion

During WWI, British forces donned black berets, and in the 1950s, the famous Green Berets emerged as part of the American Special Forces.

While the beret became part of the uniform for militaries across the globe, others viewed the hat as a highly fashionable accessory. The chic French beret was adopted by men and women alike in North America and Europe beginning in the 1920s. Some of the most famous beret-wearers of this period included Ernest Hemingway, Edith Piaf, and Jean Harlow.  

A Revolutionary Staple of the Modern Era

When the cultural and political upheaval of the 1960s emerged, the beret was there to make a bold statement. Che Guevara and Fidel Castro both sported black berets during the Cuban Revolution. In the 1970s, the Black Panthers and other groups adopted the beret to enhance their tough, militaristic social reputations.

Today’s beret wearers often view the cap as a throwback to the revolutionaries of yesteryear. Some sport the beret in reference to artists like Pablo Picasso or starlets like Marlene Dietrich. Meanwhile, Beyoncé wore the beret as a homage to the Black Panthers at the 2016 Super Bowl 50 halftime show.

Flatter than a cloche and more weather-ready than a straw fedora, the humble beret has proved one thing in its storied history: it is as rugged as it is resilient. In short, the beret is here to stay!

Bow Tie: Function and Style Over the Ages

Stylish dressers often rely on the iconic bow tie to complete their look.

However, did you know that the bow time actually came from humble beginnings? In fact, it was initially worn among Croatian mercenaries in the 17th century. 

From Humble Beginnings to Modern Fashion Accessory

During the Thirty Years’ War, Croatian mercenaries tied scarves around their necks to keep the opening of their shirts closed.  This purely functional habit was soon adopted by the upper classes in France, who thought it very stylish to wear scarves in such fashion.  The article of clothing was called a cravat, which literally means “Croat” in French.  The cravat later evolved into what many know as the modern bow tie. 

Formal and Fixed Versus Casual and Adjustable

A traditional bow tie is generally of a fixed nature and between 14 and 19 inches in length.  It is most appropriate for formal attire.

Adjustable bow ties are a later invention. They also cost less to produce and are suitable for everyone.  A wing-collar, however, may expose the buckle or clasp of an adjustable bow tie.  So, an adjustable bow tie is better suited to conventional collared shirts that can hide the buckle or clasp.

For complete ease of use, clip-on bow ties are also available.

Bow Ties Here and Now

Historically, bow ties were associated with stuffy professions and the political class.  There is certainly no shortage of images showing bow ties on the likes of Abraham Lincoln and Winston Churchill. 

However, over the last several years, bow ties have gone through a makeover.  They can now be found in a variety of patterns, styles, and colors — and they are no longer limited to being part of formal attire.  Don’t be surprised if you see someone sporting a bow tie with a pair of jeans or even an untied version of a bow tie around his neck. Today, it’s not surprising to see female celebrities such as Kim Kardashian sporting a bow tie, as well.

The Poncho

The poncho has a rich and regal heritage in South American culture. It was worn in intricately decorative form by the ancient Peruvians and the Mapuche people. According to conventional belief, the poncho came to Mexico and the rest of the Western world from trade routes along the Andes mountain range.

Poncho Particulars

A poncho is a large piece of rectangular-shaped fabric with a slit in the center for the wearer’s head to fit through. The entire garment hangs loosely over the shoulders like a blanket. Ponchos don’t have sleeves or side seams, and the edges are often decorated with fringe. Generally, it is worn in the cooler seasons as a means of staying warm and dry.

Fashion and Function

Modern versions of the poncho are made from a variety of fabrics. Some are made from woven alpaca or wool fabrics, such as the classic Mexican poncho, while others are made of more waterproof material for rainy days. The American military has utilized ponchos to keep soldiers warm and dry ever since the Civil War.

The women’s fashion industry has taken advantage of the poncho’s versatility to create trendy fall and winter outfits. That said, the fashionable poncho is certainly not limited to female attire!

Clint Eastwood has rocked a poncho on several occasions in his popular westerns. George W. Bush even wore a traditional Peruvian poncho to the APEC summit in Lima. Meanwhile, many celebrities such as Jimi Hendrix and Ringo Starr have been spotted wearing the comfortable and stylish garment.

Anyone Can Wear the Poncho

You can wear the poncho, no matter your shape, height, or weight. The loose hanging fabric is flattering on nearly every type of form. For a more fitted look, be sure to wear a belt. Today, the poncho is still a choice garment guaranteed to keep you warm and stylish!

Loungewear: Love It or Leave It, This Trend Is Here to Stay

After a long workday, we appreciate changing into more comfortable clothing when we get home.

We call this type of clothing loungewear. That said, loungewear has come a long way from the usual pajama styles of yesteryear. Today, this popular item of clothing can be seen at grocery stores, school events, and even fashion shows. 

An Unexpected History

Loungewear originated from the quintessential pajamas, which has a history of its own. People have been wearing pajamas for centuries. However, the standard two-piece pajamas we know of today started as men’s attire.

Loungewear made its way into a woman’s wardrobe in the late 1920s. It was popularized by the 1934 romantic comedy It Happened One Night. In the movie, the main character wore her male counterpart’s pajamas.

Ever since then, women have been adding signature touches to masculine sleepwear. Pajamas soon featured pockets, which were used to store valuables during WW2. So, pajamas, which were once worn for comfort and warmth have evolved into something unexpected – loungewear.

Early Influences

Did you know that famous celebrities made it fashionable to sport loungewear in public places? Coco Chanel made beach pajamas famous in the early 1920s, while several actresses wore their high-end pajamas in photoshoots. Many 20th-century designers have also created fashionable evening wear pajamas.

Today’s Fashion Statement

Today, fashion legends like Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren design and market luxurious loungewear. The rise in popularity of loungewear can also be attributed to Instagram celebrities like Miley Cyrus sporting pajama-like loungewear.

Loungewear has even made its way into the boardroom. Mark Zuckerberg is famous for wearing his hoodie loungewear to work.

What Constitutes Loungewear Today

So what exactly is loungewear, aside from being a type of glorified pajamas? Simply put, loungewear is anything that’s comfy. Here are a few examples of loungewear as we know it today:

  • tracksuits
  • onesies
  • hoodies
  • oversized shirts
  • leggings
  • athletic wear
  • pajamas

The Versatility of Loungewear

The great thing about loungewear is that there aren’t any rules for how you should look. You can wear it anytime and anywhere. Loungewear has become acceptable attire at the grocery store and even at work. They are popular among anyone who works from home. There’s also an added benefit to loungewear: you can sleep in the clothes you wore during the day, saving you time and hassle (not to mention extra laundry).

The Everlasting Espadrille

Talk about a style that has withstood the test of time! Espadrille shoes have literally been worn for thousands of years and continue to be a popular choice of footwear for many.

Both high society celebrities and the average consumer appreciate the versatility of espadrilles. Below, we take a look at their fascinating history and how much they have evolved through the ages!

What Are Espadrilles?

The characteristic that sets the espadrille apart from other shoes is the plant-based braided sole that gives the shoe its classic appearance. The sole is traditionally made from esparto grass, a plant native to Spain and northern Africa.

The strands of the grass are dried, braided, and sewn in tight layers to create an attractive, lightweight, yet durable sole. A fabric upper is then attached to the sole. Individual designers may also add tying bands, buckles, and other decorative elements.

Then And Now

Espadrilles trace their origins back to France and Spain in the 13th century. Always practical, they were worn by royalty, religious leaders, soldiers, farmers, and dancers. The light materials used in their construction made them suitable for the warm climate of the Pyrenees.

Eventually, the shoes were manufactured and sold in larger French towns. From there, they spread across the globe through an intricate network of trade routes. Espadrilles became very popular in America during the 1940s. Many Hollywood celebrities and famous artists like Salvador Dali wore them with pride.

Today, the espadrille has been modernized to include an additional layer of rubber under the sole and adapted to fit various styles with higher heels. As always, they are a favorite summer choice for every branch of society, including royalty, civilians, and celebrities!

Join in the Fun of Wearing Espadrilles!

Ready to get a pair of these fascinating shoes? They come in styles to fit every budget, lifestyle, and occasion. Today, many people enjoy wearing either flat or wedge styles for both casual and formal events.

Mini Skirts: The Bold And Flirtatious

It’s been said that the length of the skirt correlates to the mood and spirit of its time. Since the 1960s, the mini skirt has persisted as a symbol of liveliness and flirtatiousness. It’s a bold, adventurous, and attractive garment that can contribute to a distinct fashion statement. 

Birth Of The Miniskirt

The true creator of the mini skirt is unknown and debated to this day. However, it’s widely understood that the mini skirt is a British invention. In 1960s London, a clothing designer named Mary Quant created the first miniskirts. She offered them on-demand at her own antique bazaar.

By the end of the decade, mini skirts were being mass-produced and sold around the world. As new ideas came into being and cultures evolved, the miniskirt made its way to the closets of young women across both sides of the Atlantic.

Wearing Your Miniskirt

The mini skirt is perfect for a night out with friends, a hot date, or any event that calls for something fun and seductive. Take note of the fact that you’ll be showing off quite a bit of your legs. A good pair of leggings, stockings, or tights that complement your skirt can make a huge impact on your overall appearance.

Of course, you can always opt for bare skin, if that’s your preference. The most important goal is to feel confident in your look.

Bringing An Outfit Together

Forging a new look takes time, patience, and attention to detail. However, when you finally find an outfit that comes together and increases your confidence level, you’ll remember the feeling. Miniskirts can add a flirty nature to any style. They match well with tank tops, elegant blouses, and even light spring or fall jackets. Be sure to keep an open mind and explore new possibilities with a fearless positivity!