The Condensed Complete History of the Suit

The suit has become a hallmark of classic men’s style. They’re worn the world over, and for as many occasions as you could think of.
However, this ‘timeless’ cut of clothing hasn’t been around forever. Let’s wind back the clocks to understand where the suit came from, how it’s changed over time, and how we can reinterpret each suiting style into casualwear today. Suit wearers have looked dapper for centuries!

Velvet and Silk – the Flamboyance of the Royal Court
If you break it down, a suit is a set of garments made out of matching cloth. This means we can look as far back as the ​Royal Court Dress​ of the seventeenth century to find the first suits.
Court style looked very different from what we might wear today. They wore white wigs for a start, as well as knee breeches which were short trousers covering only the top half of the leg. However, their long jackets, breeches, and waistcoats tended to be made from the same, brilliantly colourful materials. They were often very fine, silks or velvets for example, and lavishly embroidered. Already, there was a penchant for smart-looking, matching pieces of cloth.

By the eighteenth century, court dress changed a little. Many European courts created uniforms which members of the royal family and their intimate circle should wear. They were militaristic in style, abandoning some of the pomposity of the former versions of the dress. The outfits were made of more practical materials and individual expression was surrendered for the sake of uniformity.

So, what can we wear today to reference back to this time of pomp and flamboyance? Brightly coloured suits are still popular, especially in the summer months. This ​single-breasted wool Sandro piece​, for example, combines a simple silhouette with a stand-out hue. It’s a great suit jacket for if you want to make a statement, whoever you’re entertaining!

Neckties, Dandyism, and Regency Dress
The first significant step towards suits we’re familiar with today occurred in the early nineteenth century thanks to ​British dandy Beau Brummell​.

Brummell was known as a man about town, close friend to future King of England George IV, and general arbiter of fashion. He was a trendsetter within the upper echelons of society and had new ideas about how men should dress.

Instead of the extravagant garments that had come before, Brummell introduced a more simplistic, well-cut look around the turn of the nineteenth century. Rejecting frills and unnecessary decoration, his attire comprised of a darkly-coloured tailcoat, pale trousers and waistcoat, and a cravat. The overall look was muted, subtle, and smart. Thanks to his undeniable influence, the style caught on.

There is a debate about whether Brummell should be the sole receiver of this praise. Some argue that his look was in fact inspired by post-revolutionary French suits which also comprised of tailcoats, double-breasted waistcoats, and full-length trousers. The jury is out on this one! But, we know we owe a lot to this period for the subtle sophistication of suits today.

Since Brummell (or French post-revolutionaries) introduced the muted suit all that time ago, it’s never gone out of style. Just take a look at ​HANSEN Garment’s Christoffer two-button blazer​ as an example. The piece is beautifully tailored with high lapels, a slit in the back, and flap pockets on the front. Made from an Italian linen and viscose blend, the blazer is comfortable and light to wear too. You can either sport the blazer on its own or pair it with matching trousers and waistcoat. It’s effortlessly sharp.

The Industrial Revolution and Standard Daily Dress

A few decades later, at the beginning of the Victorian era, these changes to gentleman’s attire became widespread. The ​morning coat​, a single-breasted coat whose hem sloped into tails at the back, had been considered informal. Its name gives us a clue as to why. This attire had been worn by nineteenth-century gentleman riding out on their horses in the morning – the definition of ‘informal’ has no doubt changed over the years! However, from the late nineteenth century, morning dress became acceptable attire for gentlemen. This was just in time too. A growing middle class of men who had benefited from the industrial revolution wanted something to wear. The morning coat was perfect.

The lounge suit is another type of clothing that links back to this period and is most closely associated with the suits we see today. Previously, this garment had been worn for sports, in the country, or at the seaside. By the Edwardian era, however, the lounge suit was city attire too.

Instead of simply signifying class, the suit instead became a representation of who you were and what your occupation was. Pinstripes, for example, were closely associated with ​the banking sector​. Banks’ uniforms consisted of suits with varying pinstripe patterns on them. Since this time, the pinstripe suit holds associations with money and being well to do. This sort of suiting is still very popular today, such as this ​checkered piece from Corneliani​. The suit’s subtle checkered pattern references the pinstripe in a smooth, modest way. It’s made from 100% virgin wool so is perfect for comfort and to be taken seriously in.

The Interwar Period and Beyond
Our final era of suit development comes between the two world wars and the years that followed.

After the first world war, almost all aspects of daily life shifted, including what people wore. Finally, the impractical and slightly pompous morning coat with tails faded out of fashion. In its place, men wore shorter jackets, much like those in style today. The exact fit of the suits changed over the decades, varying between wider cut trousers and waistcoats which were no longer tight-fitting. The general ensemble kept very much the same and people’s social class was reflected in the finery of the material they wore, rather than the style itself.

After the world wars, suiting styles were even further democratised. Fabric rationing meant that more elaborate styles, such as the double-breasted suit jacket, fell out of favour. Suits became as practical as ever, cutting down on the detailing to create a garment which, perhaps for the first time, looked timeless.
In the intervening years, there have been many more adaptations of the suit such as the Mod suit of the sixties and Disco suit of the seventies. Detailing from workwear, the clothing worn by various labourers and craftsmen, has also merged into the popular suiting styles of today. The HANSEN Garments Nicolai four-button blazer​ in the colour north sea is a brilliant example. With a growing interest in the sustainability of our clothes, durable, practical, and versatile pieces are seeing a resurgence. Suits don’t have to be showy or indicate status. They can be beautifully-made, long-lasting pieces of clothing too.

There’s your roundup of how we’ve arrived at the suiting pieces we wear today. It’s fascinating to learn more about where each of these styles come from and the environments in which they were developed. Take a look at the modern interpretations of each era to feel that bit more connected to suiting history. And, if you need a bit of advice on how to put your suit together, look at our ​Gentleman’s Guide to Wearing a Suit​. We hope you enjoy it!

Put a Spring-field in your step – Simpsons X Vans

An American icon in its own right, Vans uses its collaborations to pay tribute to American culture. Surprise my, it’s only now this project has come to fruition. For over 30 years, The Simpsons television show, the longest-running primetime scripted show in television history has been a part of pop culture, providing hilarious insight into suburban family life. Currently airing its record-annihilating 31st season and in production on season 32, THE SIMPSONS has won 34 Emmy Awards (including its 11th in 2019 for Outstanding Animated Program), 34 Annie Awards, 9 Environmental Media Awards, 7 People’s Choice Awards and 13 Writers Guild of America Awards including the 2019 and 2020 Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program Award.  THE SIMPSONS was the first animated series to win a Peabody Award, and in 2019 received the Institutional Peabody Award.  It was nominated for an Academy Award in 2012 for the theatrical short “The Longest Daycare.” The Simpsons Movie was a hit feature film, their mega-attraction The Simpsons Ride at Universal Studios has received historic expansion updates with the addition of ‘Springfield’—winning a Thea Award in both 2009 and 2017. The show was honored with a Star on The Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2000. The Simpsons ongoing Tapped Out mobile game which launched in 2012 was a recipient of a Webby Award in 2018.   It has been named the “Best Show of the 20th Century” by Time Magazine, called the “Greatest American Sitcom” by Entertainment Weekly in 2013, and declared “The Best TV Show Ever” in 2016 by vulture.com.

This season, Vans honors The Simpsons with a vibrant collection of footwear, apparel and accessories that celebrate iconic moments from the historic series.

The Vans x Simpsons collection pays tribute to this all American phenomena, the Simpsons family (Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie) with depictions and references that diehard fans will appreciate. Key pieces from the collection include the Sk8-Hi and Men’s Chukka Pro. The entire Simpsons family makes an appearance on the outside of the Sk8-Hi, with the iconic checkerboard print on the medial in signature shades of blue and yellow.

The Men’s Chukka Pro pays homage to Bart Simpson, the ever youthful 10-year-old prankster.  A Bart-shaped skull and crossbones silhouette appear on the lateral side of the shoe. The Bart Chukka Pro is reinforced with Vans’ Duracap for added durability for skating around town. Bart’s pranks carry over to the pack’s Sk8-Low style which showcases a red brick medial tagged in Bart’s “El Barto” signature plus a graffitied self-portrait.

The footwear assortment is rounded out with eight more styles that pay homage to beloved Simpsons characters. Moe and the Bouviers occupy Old Skool colorways while Scratchy gets a toon-filled Era style. Lisa is featured on a lavender Sk8-Hi, while Mr. Plow rightfully resides on a Sk8-Hi MTE style. Rounding out the footwear collection is a skate-approved color block Slip-On Pro along with a Slide-On sandal inspired by the famous pink Homer Simpson donuts.

With the collection’s apparel line, fans of the show will find a variety of women’s and men’s styles.  The Lisa Fleece features a purple color block fleece crew with raglan sleeves and bright “Lisa Simpson for President” on the back and front chest. The accompanying Simpsons Check Backpack features Vans’ iconic checkerboard print in Simpsons-inspired yellow, featuring close-ups of Lisa’s face and a rubberized logo patch on the front zip pocket. The Lisa look is complete with a “Lisa 4 Prez” short-sleeved tee paired with a matching hat and fanny pack.

For the men’s apparel, The Simpsons short-sleeve tee features a logo on the chest and a family scene on the back, a tribute to the show’s famous couch gag intro.

The collection offers a white and black hoodie, both featuring the entire Simpson family and is accompanied by logos on the sleeves. Standing out is the blue Bart-inspired hoodie with a Bart skull design on the back and chest. The Simpsons long-sleeve tee features “El Barto” fleeing with graffiti can in hand, and the knit short-sleeve tee (a Pro Skate exclusive) is covered in Bart Simpson skull and crossbones.

SCENTS MAKE THE MAN – Jean Paul Gaultier’s “Le Male”

From 1984, with his first Men’s Collection with its fetishised naked-backed men, Jean Paul Gaultier has been, in the eyes of the world, season after season, event after event, the ‘enfant terrible’ and, as many called him, the father, of men’s fashion.

Just as he created from the corseted woman the emblem and the bottle for his female fragrance, Jean Paul Gaultier transforms the man with the sailor’s top into a symbol and a bottle for Le Male, this year celebrating its milestone Silver anniversary.

The legendary French fashion designer, unleashed a fragrance upon us which was to go on and be as recognisable and synonymous as his trademark breton tops, a fondness for wearing kilts and suicide blond hair. “Le Male” irreversibly shook up the world of scents by introducing an unprecedented masculine archetype: the sensual sailor with a soft heart, to accompany this launch came an Ad campaign which equally shook up the world and is still remembered with fondness today.  Reinventing the classic, enrichening it with a new purpose and a double entendre – Jean Paul Gaultier loves nothing more!

For Le Male, to make something other than another EDT for men, he wanted to revisit the traditional lavender of masculine fragrance – with the help of perfumer Francis Kurkdjian.

A strange idea when one thinks that Jean Paul Gaultier’s original idea, a fragrance which evoked the sensuality of a sun-drenched naked body on the beach, a little lick-able, a little louche, to be oneself, to dare.

It starts off fresh. Like an outraged diabolo-menthe that made friends with mugwort, bergamot and cardamom, in order to state things clearly, and tease for what’s to come…

Then there’s lavender, married to orange flower and cinnamon and cumin, a reinvented lavender, led astray somewhat into a heart that echoes the heart of Jean Paul Gaultier Parfum for women.

Wood, musk, amber, vanilla and tonka beans, the base is fleshy, carnal, skin-loving and stroke-able.

From the head to the heart, from the heart to the base, the pulsating beat of the fragrance, its successive rhythms are each unlike anything else. You start off with a feeling of knowing and then realise that there is everything to learn. It’s like a life, made up of many lives… or a man who is all men.

The perfect outfit for a day out at the beach

We are experiencing what many meteorologists are calling the best Sustained hot weather Summer we have had in over a generation. We all know we have to play our part in what in going on currently with the pandemic and all of us flocking to beaching is a definite NO NO.

However, there are plenty of quite beaches, lidos, lakes etc that we can take advantage of and still social distance. Take a look at this cracking look below, with ensure it can easily fit into a small bag and look tip top trendy, guaranteeing your top of the style stakes.

Tommy Hilfiger x AAPE Cotton-Jersey T-shirt White (SS20) 

Why not mix the old with the new. On this collaboration, Tommy Hilfiger has brought us a very clean classic look tee, incorporated with BAPE’s classic Ape face. This could be thrown on for a nice smart/casual look, keeping true to the Tommy Hilfiger colours, this could fit easily with a pair of blue denim jeans and the fit is yours to finish.

Fear of God ESSENTIALS Sweatpants Dark Slate/Stretch Limo/Black (SS20)

With a whole new collection dropping, Fear of God isn’t slowing down as the ESSENTIALS (SS20) range was a hit all around. Coming in a stealthy Dark Slate/Stretch Limo Black the ESSENTIALS Sweatpants are comfortable and only one part to the full set.

Stussy x Nike Water Short Habanero Red (SS20) 

You can never go wrong with a pair of shorts, especially from a collaboration with Stussy and Nike. Habanero red shorts are made for you to show off your skills in the pool or sea while in style. Going to any beaches? Going to the local pool? or just going out on a casual day?

Top Tips on travelling safely with kids in a heat wave

As temperatures soar across the country this week, here are some important tips to keep in mind when travelling with children.

A child should never be left unattended in the car, even if it is for a brief stop to do some shopping or get an ice cream.  Temperatures can rise by approximately 3°C within 10 minutes and by more than 10°C within 30 minutes.  Children are especially vulnerable to heat-related illnesses; therefore, it is extremely dangerous to leave your child (as well as any pet!) unattended in the car on a warm day.

 
Planning ahead can help keep car seats cool and provide a more comfortable ride.  If you are parking the car in the sun whilst out on day trip to the beach, use a light coloured blanket and drape it over the car seat.  This will help prevent the seats from heating up and will provide a more pleasant journey once you have returned to the car.
Scandinavian brands BeSafe and Voksi are dedicated to creating the safest travel solutions for children around the world.   They are passionate about encouraging families to go on adventures, and want to enable them to travel with ease, with the knowledge their children are safely secure in the car.

10 top tips on how to keep kids comfortable in the car on a hot day

  1. Put your children in light weight clothes for travelling.
  2. Make sure each child has a drink for the journey.
  3. Check on your children regularly and take them out of the car as often as you can – remember babies should only be in a car seat for a maximum of two hours at a time.
  4. Choose a baby car seat with a low reaching sun canopy and high SPF.
  5. Use click-on sun canopies for toddler seats to protect them from sun exposure.
  6. Cover the side windows with sunshades to prevent the strong glare from the sun.
  7. Before putting your child in the car double check the buckles and straps are not too hot, as these can heat up quickly.
  8. Point rear air conditioning vents towards your child.
  9. Pick a light colour when choosing a child’s car seat or use a light coloured car seat cover. 
  10. Use a liner in your car seat that will promote airflow – like the VOKSI Airflow liner below.