In the Trenches

By Alex Hansen

Return of the Mac! No, I’m not talking about that catchy Macklemore song, but rather thealex1 trench coat, the versatile fashion staple that lives in almost every closet. The trench coat is almost bi-polar with its versatility, it is professional and businesslike, but can also be sexy and sultry when paired with some killer stilettos. It is also apparently the go to for spies, streakers, and flashers. The allure of the trench coat is that of enticement and mystery, no one knows what the wearer has underneath! From World War I to the catwalk, the classic trench coat takes basic military clothing to a fashion staple!

The origins of the trench coat come from quite a conflicted story, as with every great invention comes a alex5debate about who exactly was the inventor. There are two houses in question as to whom is credited with the coveted title of inventor of the now beloved trench. First off is a little known design house called Aquascutum, who dates their trench coat back to 1853 when the company invented waterproof wool to be made into tough coats for officers fighting in the Crimean War. The next house that claims to have invented the trench coat is a fashion powerhouse that you may have heard of, Burberry, the fashion tycoon that is today synonymous with the classic trench and its many modern renditions of the timeless piece. Thomas Burberry created gabardine in the 1870s, a durable wool material that repelled water, was crease proof, and ultimately cool and comfortable for the wearer.  Then in 1901, the house is credited with designing an armyalex3 officer’s raincoat, said to be the predecessor to the trench we now know and love.  Even though the origins of the “true inventor” of the trench can be debated upon, both houses designed coats for military use in the First World War and two eras.

This particular garment in this water-proof fabric was ideal for soldiers because it kept alex4them warm and dry, and had pockets for them to carry essentials. This baby was hard to keep in the trenches (quite frankly I’m glad it made it out!) and soon spilled over from the military into mainstream fashion when the government handed out the overstock to civilians. The trench quickly became a favorite amongst the gentlemen of the city and fashion and film sector. It was a top choice for leading men such as Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca and Harrison Ford in Blade Runner as well as for leading ladies such as Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (who can forget the alley scene with Holly and alex2Paul at the end!). The trench coat undoubtedly became a favorite due to its versatility and just-plain awesomeness!

Today the classic trench remains a double breasted, belted coat in khaki but now many designers play with the length and color of the garment often adding a variety of hardware such as studs or grommets. Burberry has stood the test of the time and is known for its amazing craftsmanship and quality of the garment. Celebrities, royalty, and us plain folk still wear the iconic trench coat today, making it a fashion staple with such prestige as the little black dress.

 

 

References

Foreman, K. (2013, October 24). The trench: a coat for all seasons. BBC. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20131024-the-trench-coat-for-all-seasons

Pictures:

Boy and Girl Burberry Ad retrieved from: http://allhailtheblogger.blogspot.com/2011/12/christmas-wish-list.html

Celebrity Trench Coat retrieved from: http://secretsofagoodgirl.com/fashion/trench-coats/

Eighties Blue Trench retrieved from: http://www.etsy.com/listing/114764220/aquamarine-dream-vintage-80s-emerald

Holly and Paul, Breakfast at Tiffany’s retrieved from: http://cocoacouture1.blogspot.com/2012/07/breakfast-at-tiffanys-timeless-trench.html

Rosie Burberry Ad retrieved from: http://www.nikecomm.com/Burberry-Fragrance

Vintage Male Trench Coat retrieved from: http://fashionlovingstylist.com/tag/trench-coats/

Is That a Codpiece in your Pants, or Are you Just Happy to See Me?

By: Rachel Dean

Surprisingly, leather underwear didn’t start with porn Rachel1stars or people that wanted to hear their nether regions squeak. Actually, leather underwear began almost 7,000 years ago when man used it to cover himself. These loincloths were used until the Middle Ages rolled around when “braies” took their place. Braies were like loose-fitting pants made from linen that ran all the way down to the mid-calf. Unfortunately, they required a lot of unnecessary effort like tying them at the waist and shins. Bathroom trips could never be spontaneous until the “codpiece” was invented. The codpiece used buttons, snaps, and ties and was used to allow men to urinate without having to spend 30 minutes disrobing.  Wetting yourself after one too many drinks would hopefully come to an end.

Rachel2As clothing became short, decorating your crotch became a priority. Padding your codpiece wasn’t just a sign that your insecurity lied directly between your thighs, but it was also very stylish after Henry VIII started the trend.  The Victorian Era until the 1930s was all about knee-length flannel “drawers” with matching undershirts. Cute. In the 1930s there finally came a bit more diversity in men’s underwear; the introduction of boxers and briefs. Jacob Golomb, founder of Everlast boxing equipment, began the movement of developing underwear similar to men’s boxing shorts – hence the term, “boxers.” Obviously he replaced giant leather belts with an elastic band on account of…well, it’s just not practical. Since we’re on the topic of practical, some men didn’t find the support they needed from boxers, however. Who can blame them? It’s a hard transition from skin-tight flannels to your junk flailing all over the place.

As luck would have it, designer Arthur Kneibler received a postcard from France with aRachel3 man on the cover in a bikini style swimsuit.  Kneibler knew this would give the kind of support, ease, and practicality most men were in search for. The term “tighty-whities” came after they were originally dubbed “jockey shorts.”

On January 19, 1935 Kneibler’s store, Coopers, took the jockey shorts to the department store Marshall Fields in Chicago to see if the product would sell.   On the first day, all 600 pairs of jockey shorts sold out and they sold 30,000 more within the first three months.  By 1971, Coopers changed the name of their company to “Jockey” due to the overwhelming success and popularity.

Moving into the 1980s and 1990s, underwear became more than just a necessity, it was fashion. Calvin Klein made headlines, made millions, and made people pass out with his raunchy underwear ads. Now we see underwear designed after TV shows, movies, holidays, and pretty much every major comic book character. Underwear has come from a piece of leather to protect men’s disco sticks from catching on fire, to an item seen as fashionable. With respect to Kneibler’s tighty-whities, I think I’ll take the new, sleeker designs for my man.