A Penny Loafer for Your Thoughts

By Whitney Hall    

            Dads and frat guys love it; it has the ability to add comfort to any social situation; and it can make anyone look better. It’s not beer. It’s a loafer.

              In 1936, G.H. Bass released the Weejun—loafera loafer that entered the heart of every man who had ever hoped his wife would deem a slip-on shoe acceptable to wear outside of the home. Demand for this men’s footwear paradise soared, but the company soon noticed that women were purchasing the shoes to wear themselves, so two years later, Bass released a women’s Weejun (MacDonell, 2012). Though the name itself sounds like a last-minute idea by a Bass employee, it is actually a spin off of “Norwegian” since the make of the shoe was first spotted on Norwegian fishermen by young male American travelers (MacDonell, 2012). What started as a staple for the Norwegian fishermen’s uniforms grew to become a staple for college life (MacDonell, 2012). Originally worn with socks, men on college campuses through the early 60s were seen wearing them without socks as if they had woken up late, threw on some clothes, and slid on their Weejuns.

             loafer3  Its nickname, “penny loafer,” is rooted in the rumor that women would place a penny or dime in the cutout on the instep of the shoe in case she found herself out with a less-than-desirable date (MacDonell, 2012). Ladies, I think we should all take a moment and thank God for cell phones.

              The first major company to slip into the loafer trend after Bass was Gucci in 1953 (MacDonell, 2012). Noticing that the Weejuns were popular on college campuses but did not transition well into the workplace, Gucci released a loafer in black with cleaner and more elegant lines (MacDonell, 2012). The men’s loafer was now appropriate to wear with suits on Wall Street or to the office.

            loafer4Though the shoe’s popularity waned after the 60s, it never disappeared from fashion, making it a classic trend (MacDonell, 2012). Since Bass and Gucci, just about every company who sells shoes has carried loafers. The company who has most famously advertised their own brand of loafer is Tod’s (MacDonell, 2012). Who could forget their famous ads where they simply portrayed a picture of Audrey Hepburn or JFK above a single signature loafer?

            For the laid back “Ivy League look,” guys should simply throw on a button up shirt and blazer with a pair of chinos and brown loafers. For those men who either have a bank account to support celebrity style or at least want to fake that they do, try a slim-fit gray suit, white shirt, no tie, and a pair of black Gucci’s. Ladies, too, can reach Ivy League status with chino crops; a crisp, white shirt; and their brown penny loafers. For a preppier and elevated socioeconomic twist, trade the classic brown for a colorful pair of Tod’s. To channel your beatnik style, think of Audrey Hepburn in funny face and wear skinny black pants, black boatneck t-shirt, and black loafers. Any way you spin it, loafers are an instant way to add a touch of class to your outfit.

loafer2 

Resources

MacDonell, N. (2013, November 23). [Web log message]. Retrieved from http://tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/23/loafing-around-a-brief-history-of-fashions-favorite-flat/?_r=0

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Alber Elbaz’s Favorite Accessory

By Ashley Frost  

            necktie4Maybe it’s because I’m single, but I’ve recently become obsessed with men’s fashion. With Paris Fashion Week currently going on it is not women’s fashion I am fawning over, but men’s. I’ve always loved a well-dressed man, and neckties are the pieces that, literally, tie an outfit together. Neckties are an iconic part of menswear with a rich and fascinating history, can you think of any other fashion item which does not serve a functional purpose that has been around for centuries?

            In the mid-1600s Croatian officers were presented to the French royal court, these officers wore scarfs around their necks as part of their uniforms. This look was immediately adopted by French high society who called it “la cravate”. In 1784 Beau Brummel created the three piece suit, including the necktie as the focal point. Brummel is said to be the first person to start using neckties for expression of individuality. In the mid-1800s the word tie replaced cravat and ties started being mass produced.

            necktie2The first designer tie was created in the 1920s by French designers; they started making ties from nicer fabrics such as silk with various designs on them. Throughout the rest of the 20th century neckties went through various trend cycles. In the 1940s they started growing thicker, and then the trend switched to thinner ties in the 1950s. Due to men’s trousers moving lower on the hips and vests becoming less popular, ties have become much longer.

            In the late 1800s and start of the 1900s bowties were primarily worn by intellectuals. Men who were architects, professors or attorneys were frequent wearers of the chic bowtie. Bowtie wearers began to be thought of as snobby. Today the bowtie is worn mainly at formal events. Clowns and comedians such as Pee-wee Herman have helped the bowtie loose its snobby stigma. Historians are unclear whether the bowtie led to the necktie or vice versa, but as long as handsome men are still wearing both I could care less which one came first.

            necktie3Neckties are not a fashion item that can be only worn by men. Thanks to fabulous trendsetters like Diane Keaton ties are a trendy part of today’s women’s fashion. In fact during New York Fashion Week several female collections included ascots and bows. If you want to use a necktie in a little less chic way, try wearing it loose over a white button down or V-neck. Think Avril Lavigne, early Brittany Spears and Jennifer Aniston… but with clothes on.

            Public figures such as Winston Churchill, Carey Grant, Frank Sinatra and many other dashing men have helped neckties withstand the test of time.  Alber Elbaz, Gucci, Brooks Brothers, and Karl Lagerfeld are just a few designers continuing the legacy of the necktie. These designers emphasize ties with quality and functionality while remaining stylish. The necktie is my favorite part of men’s wear and I sincerely hope it never goes out of style.

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References

Beau Brummel – Famous Tie Wearer. (n.d.). Tie-a-Tie.net. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://www.tie-a-tie.net/blog/third-most-famous-tie-wearer-beau-brummel/

Top left picture.

Get Spot!. (n.d.). Coolspotters. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://coolspotters.com/clothing/jason-wu-pre-fall-2011-cream-pin-tuck-blouse-with-bow-tie

Bottom middle picture.

History of the Neck Tie . (n.d.). Mens Fashion Blog and Consulting. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://gentlemans-closet.com/mens-fashion-blog/history-of-the-neck-tie/

Men’s Neckties . (n.d.). Mens Fashion Blog and Consulting. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://gentlemans-closet.com/mens-fashion-blog/mens-neckties/

First picture on the bottom.

Most Famous Tie Wearers – Celebrity Tie Aficionados. (n.d.). Tie-a-Tie.net . Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://www.tie-a-tie.net/blog/the-10-most-famous-tie-wearers-of-all-time/

Mr. Darcy . (n.d.). MBTI in Fiction. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://mbti-in-fiction.tumblr.com/post/32460673648/mr-darcy

Top right picture.

sexy bowties : theBERRY. (n.d.). theBERRY. Retrieved October 2, 2013, from http://theberry.com/2012/01/24/berry-hot-men-bow-ties-24-photos/sexy-bowties-17-2/

Bottom left picture.

A Leaf for your Brief

By Preston Blackburn

Picture4Billions of dollars are spent every year in order to keep our most prized possessions protected. It’s not enough to just rely on the decency of man, for we have created highly effective security systems, intelligent enough to outsmart any common citizen in an effort to protect what matters most. However, sparkling diamonds, ancient artifacts, and century old documents are not the only things that need protection. One can argue that the most precious jewels that need airtight security is attached right onto the human body, more specifically, the human male body. Men’s undergarments have taken many forms throughout the years; an industry creating the boxer, the brief, and God’s greatest gift to man, the boxer brief, has catapulted into a money making juggernaut, making the protection of men’s…eer…most sensitive area their top priority.

Picture1From the days of Adam and Eve, coverage became a very important part of attempting to remain decent. At the time, the fig leaf did the job however, that didn’t provide any support and I can’t imagine accidentally getting into some poison ivy. We then fast forward to the loincloth which was just a small piece of leather that hung loosely from the waist. The codpiece was the next to emerge, completely surrounding the body with closures down the front that made it easier for men to relieve themselves without taking off all their clothes. Around the 1920s, men were wearing long, flannel drawers that stopped at the knee. They gave protection from their outer garments as well as much needed support. Eventually as fashion changed, the desire for more breathing room became apparent mainly in sports. Jacob Golomb, founder of the boxing equipment company Everlast, decided to create underwear that mimicked the loose fit of the shorts that the boxers wore. Not surprisingly, boxers were not an instant hit. And it wasn’t until after WWII that they began to compete with the classic brief (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth).Picture3

Concurrently, men’s underwear was about to change forever due to the innovative ideas of Arthur Kniebler (Knee-bler). In 1934, Kniebler received a postcard with a man on the front dressed in a white, one piece bikini style bathing suit. After a lot of experimentation, Arthur created the snug, legless brief that offered a high level of support. This brief became known as the jockey or “tighty whitey” (Boxer, Brief, or Loincloth). In the 1970’s and ‘80s, underwear began to become more fashionable with brands like Calvin Klein giving a fresh take on the classic piece. And eventually, the boxer brief hit the shelves giving the wearer the best of both worlds.

Picture2It’s safe to assume that underwear has become a staple in most men’s everyday attire. Whether you’re looking for support or looking to just hang free, briefs and boxers have evolved to a place where “packaging the package” is no longer uncharted territory. Protection is ultimately what every man wants and with all the new options available, how could he resist the need to make his own…err…jewels sparkle.

Reference

Trex, E. Boxers, briefs or loincloth? a brief history of men’s underwear. August 5, 2013. http://mentalfloss.com/article/22897/boxers-briefs-or-loincloth-brief-history-mens-underwear