The Jacket: From Necessity To Fashion

couple wearing jackets

From warmth to style, the jacket is still an important part of both women and men’s fashion. Mainly worn with a suit, a jacket can be used to compliment many styles. In fact, many men wanting to dress fashionable, wear a jacket with or without the suit. As a part of a suit, the jacket is very important attire. The jacket is made with several materials and has evolved into several style types. In fact, it’s one of the ubiquitous pieces of clothing in fashion. 

Eddie Bauer can be accredited with designing the first recorded jacket in 1936 which was called the Skyliner. After he nearly lost his life from hypothermia on a fishing trip mid-winter, Bauer created the puffer jacket from down feathers within quilted fabric. He considered his jacket creation a personal necessity in wake of the staggering temperatures. 

Early History Of The Jacket 

The jacket originated from the early Renaissance and Middle Ages as a “jerkin.” Worn by working-class men, it was a more fitted version of the short tunic. By the early 18th century, the jacket was commonly worn by people working in agriculture and servants in urban cultures. As an article of clothing worn mid-stomach with sleeves, it didn’t take long for it to become a staple in fashion. 

1830s to 20th Century 

During the 1830s, jackets were made with a more fitted look and more commonly single-breasted as lounge jackets. The single-breasted jacket was preferred over more loose fitting editions from previous centuries. In fact, single-breasted jackets were crafted with darts underneath the arms and small reveres. Jackets with wasted pockets were a must have for middle-class men. The “reefer” jacket made an appearance in 1862 and included a double-breasted look. For country sporting activities, the single-breasted Norfolk jacket, buttoned high to the neck, became a fashion statement. 

By the end of the 19th century, the lounge jacket was the most popular type. However, one with silk lapels in the front was popularly worn as the dinner jacket. Consequently, this became a part of the formal tuxedo jacket. 

By the 20th century, most of the styles from the 19th century were still being worn. Sports jacket were introduced and worn with flannels, the Norfolk continued to be a sporting favorite, and a popular dinner jacket. When people hear the term “black tie” a jacket still comes to mind as a go-to ensemble. 

The jacket has always been popular in England with many styles over the centuries. However, the most notable design came from John Barbour which included an English luxury brand with rubber and an impenetrable barrier making the finishing cloth 100% waterproof. In fact, they were responsible for popularizing jackets that were short in the front and long in the back during early century justice. 

How The Jacket Is Worn Today 

Today, both men and women wear jackets and it’s no longer considered just formal wear. Many women and women wear jackets and jeans as casual attire. There are many jacket styles that are popular including: 

  • sports jackets
  • Harrington’s
  • leather jackets 
  • blazers
  • Anoraks 
  • bomber jackets 
  • biker jackets
  • puffer jacket 

In fact, jackets are made from many materials in retrospect of early cotton or silk including wool, tweed, hemp, nylon, and suede. 

Many celebrities have made jackets popular including the Olsen twins and Kate Moss. The jacket continues to evolve in America and among the British culture. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see women today wearing jacket with skirts and dresses. The jacket remains a part of formal and semi-informal fashion. 

As jackets continue to be a part of fashion, it’s interesting to see how the style continues to grow. 

Mini Skirts: The Bold And Flirtatious

Mini Skirt

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! 

Armor: A Heroic History

Ancient Greek armor

Between Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Hunger Games, and Game of Thrones, America and the rest of the world seems to have a continued love affair with the Middle Ages. King Arthur, his court, and that time in history have long been an allure in literature, movies, and television. It’s something fans never seem to tire of. Such is the intrigue that we flock to Renaissance Faires every year, and not only do we dress the part when we go, but we add it to our fashion in daily wear.

Armor in History

History reveals armor dating back to the Celtic period, before Christ, as well as ancient Rome during the same time. Armor and the maille, or mail, that went with it was a necessity of the 12th century. Knights went to battle for their kings with swords, and other pointed and shear-edged weapons. To protect their vital organs, the armor was worn surrounding the torso. Mesh textiles, or mail, was worn as a shirt and covering other places which armored metal didn’t cover.

By the 13th century different individual armor designers were required to create each mail, plates (or armored suits) and textiles such as leggings, although armor was beginning to extend down to cover the legs, as well. More fashionable armor was also designed for knights and their horses involved in jousting tournaments.

Ladies and dames wore little armor although chastity belts were something being dictated by noble-class fathers to protect their young daughters, and husbands to limit their sexual activity. Women had no say in the matter and the keys were managed by their men.

Of course, it wasn’t just European soldiers who were protected in armor. The men of the Rashidun army in the Middle East of the 7th century wore their own style of armor, mostly made of mail mesh. Chinese soldiers from the late BC era wore lamellar armor, made of iron, leather, and bronze squares laced together.

Armor was cumbersome, not to mention heavy. Full armored suits weighed up to 110 pounds, just the body plate weighed between 33 – 55 pounds. A modern-day study of men posing as knights in full garb used 2.1 to 2.3 more energy walking around than without the protection.

Armor was also expensive. Leaders began increasing the numbers in their armies, and decreasing their protection in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. For many, only helmets and, perhaps, some mail, remained.

Armor as Fashion Rather Than a Wartime Necessity

“Armor was a development of dress,” wrote Stephen V. Granscay, former curator of Arms and Armor at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “Armor and costume were always worn together, and it was inevitable that their forms and ornamentation should influence each other.”

And certainly, men higher in the ranks had more style to their armor, than the rank-and-file soldier.

Granscay further pointed out that it was men during these early times who were the fashion trendsetters, not women.

The cuirass bodice worn by women in the late 19th century had a look of armor. The definition of cuirass is a piece of armor made up of one or multiple pieces to cover the torso. Rather than for protection from weapons, the look as a bodice was to show off a woman’s figure as dictated by a corset.

As written in Nineteenth-Century Fashion by Penelope Byrde, “Its tight fit was achieved by cutting it with five seams at the back, from the top of the shoulder and slanting towards the waist, while the darts in front were short and close together.”

Today’s Armor Fashion

Heavy Metal bands and Harley Davidson riders in the ’60s and ’70s are partly responsible for modern-day armor popularity. At the least, they reintroduced leather and metal into fashion. And while the leather jacket wasn’t particularly reminiscent of armor, the thick leather, silver-studded bracelets and chokers, certainly were.

Today, armor is a fashion statement mostly worn by women. In the simplest of terms, the choker, which makes a resurgence every few decades, is back, including the human-dog collar, which leans toward dark Gothic and Punk. And, that cuirass bodice has returned, too.

In Donna Dickens Buzzfeed article, she shares what she feels are 12 “compelling reasons” for the comeback of armor fashion. Number 4 reads, “Because we are queens and should dress accordingly.” And Number 12, “Basically, faux armor can be used to accessorize anything and needs to become a staple much like black slacks and a white button-down shirt.”

Celebs in Armor and Armor-Fashion Designers

Okay, we know that J-Lo looks magnificent in anything she wears. So, when she and five other female celebs took to this year’s Red Carpet at the Academy Awards in armor-inspired gowns, we took notice. Lisa Bonnet, Brie Larson, Molly Sims, Amy Adams, and Emma Stone each nailed it in their own unique dress. J-Lo’s mirrored gown was designed by Tom Ford. It took Louis Viton 712 hours to make Stone’s burgundy gown layered with pearls, sequins, and beads. Brie Larson’s high neck, silver mesh halter gown was created by the designers at Céline Vipiana.

But, perhaps the most recent warrior-like look prize winner is Zendaya, who last year appeared on the Met Gala Red Carpet, “wearing a suit of armor and literally dripping in silver chains.” The American model and actress, now 22, dabbles in fashion design herself. But, her show-stopping silver armor gown was designed by Law Roach to channel the “bad-ass” Joan-of-Arch.

And while Gareth Pugh takes it a bit further on the runway than translates to ordinary people fashion, some armor-look designers and stores are more in step with the affordability needed by the everyday women for any day and special occasions. Look for Lorica, Tory Burch, the Shield Maiden collection by Armstreet, and Dark Knight Armoury to name a few.

While fashion armor will likely continue to come in and go out of style, it is sure to remain, at least on the fringe, for decades if not centuries to come. As long as Medieval Times remains popular, and the film industry continues to portray the fantasy works of JRR Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Pat Rothfuss, and JK Rowling, as well as forward thinkers such as George Lucas and Eugene Roddenberry, the public will demand their costume designers’ work to translate into everyday fashion.