Sea-ing Stripes

By Emily Grantnautical2

The classic Breton striped shirt, a wardrobe staple across the style spectrum.  It started in Brittany, a province found on the peninsula between the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, which produced many a French sailor (Who What Wear, 2009).  The navy blue and white striped shirt was designed to make sailors stand out from the waves if they were to fall overboard (Gout Taste, 2013).  The original boat-neck shirt had three-quarter length sleeves with 21 navy blue stripes, one for each of Napoleon’s victories (Gout Taste, 2013). 

Soon, the knit top caught on with the locals of Brittany, and soon after that, Coco Chanel (Gout Taste, 2013).  In a 1917 nautical inspired line, it was featured with flared trousers, which stood in stark contrast to the corseted dresses of the era (Gout Taste, 2013).  In the 1950s, the look graced the silver screen several times over, seen on starlets nautical3such as Audrey Hepburn, Jean Seberg, and even heartthrob James Dean (Gout Taste, 2013).  Since then, the Breton striped shirt has remained an iconic piece that is always in style.  It’s been reimagined time after time, from glittering sequins at Balmain to Prada’s primary colored version, and of course, John Paul Gaultier (In The Seams, 2011). 

The possibilities for the Breton tee are endless, as it can be dressed up or down, and is appropriate in any season.  Olivia Palermo paired hers with an a-line skirt and statement necklace, while Alexa Chung has been spotted in a Breton stripe shirt layered under overalls, for an ultra-casual look (Who What Wear, 2009).  Whether your style is preppy or bohemian, a Breton shirt is an absolute must have, and there’s really no excuse, as they can be found at virtually any price-point.   nautical1 Alexander Wang has one for the low, low price of $270 while for just $11 you can score one at Forever 21.  This fall, pair yours with a toothpick jean topped with a motorcycle jacket for an on-trend look that can’t be denied.  For our more conservative readers, a toggle coat can be substituted, a la J.Crew.  No matter how you wear it, you’re guaranteed to have that certain je ne sais quoi that French sailors have been rocking for generations (Tishgart, 2010).

Work Cited

Gout Taste (2013).  How the French got their stripes.  Retrieved from http://goutaste.com/how-the-french-got-their-stripes/

 In The Seams (2011, July 1).  The classic Breton stripe, a must for summer.  Retrieved from http://intheseams.com/2011/07/the-classic-breton-stripe-a-must-for-summer/

 P Burns. (2012, February 6). Winehouse couture. Retrieved from http://stylewhisperer.wordpress.com/tag/breton-top/

 Tishgart, S. (2010). Gotta have it: Breton striped shirts. Teen Vogue. Retrieved from http://www.teenvogue.com/fashion/summer-trends/2010-07/breton-striped-shirts/?slide=1

 Who What Wear (2009).  Breton stripes.  Retrieved from http://www.whowhatwear.com/look-we-love-breton-stripes/

You Little Sneak

By Magali Castaneda

sneakers3You can wear them casually, you can wear them to work out, and everyone has at least one pair in their closet. No, not underwear, and I honestly hope you own more than one pair. I’m talking about sneakers! It’s probably safe to assume that thieves that enjoy breaking and entering all own a pair of sneakers. After all, they’re called sneakers because of the hushed rubber soles. But before the nickname, came the shoes. They were shoes with rubber soles called Plimsols, catchy name aye? Also, there was no distinction between left or right feet, making it easy for 4 year olds all over the world to be free of judgment. Then in sneakers1892 the Rubber shoe company and the US Rubber Company collaborated on creating a sneaker. You’ve probably heard of them, Keds? When they were deciding on the name, they were stuck between Ved’s and Keds… Yeah, good choice. The next innovation in sneakers came in the early 1900’s and it’s probably safe to say that everyone has owned a pair of these canvas beauties. Converse. Marquis Converse created this high top canvas sneaker and it became popularized in the sport of basketball by Chuck Taylor, who endorsed them. If you wore them now to play a pick up game, you’d probably break your ankles. At this point in the sneaker game, sneakers were very basic and mostly used for sneakers2sports activities. In 1924 a man called Adi Dassler made the first pair of Tennis Shoes for the number one tennis player in the world, Stan Smith. Adidas became one of the most popular sneakers in the world and a couple decades later they became even more popular. A rap group called Run DMC made a song called My Adidas and made arrangements to have Adidas execs come to a show. While they were performing the song, they asked the crowed to show their Adidas and some 3,000 people were wearing the sneakers. Run DMC signed a 1.6 million dollar deal with Adidas and created a line of sneakers. Although Run DMC can be given credit for the popularization of Adidas, only one man can be given credit for wearing sneakers as a fashion statement. Our Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean. He wore them in the movie and kick started the shift from wearing sneakers for sport to wearing sneakers as a statement. Even with sneakers becoming a sneakers4fashion statement, sneaker companies were still using athletes to make their shoes known. Nike, then got their hands on a legendary Rookie. His name, Michael Jackson. Just kidding, Michael Jordan, just wanted to make sure you were paying attention. Michael endorsed Air Jordan’s and if there is an iconic sneaker, this is it. His sneakers have really become a phenomenon, I know guys with no cars that own about every pair. It’s safe to say the sneaker industry isn’t going anywhere, considering all the shoe companies I mentioned are still alive and thriving.

Reference

http://www.beyondretro.com/en/blog/2013/05/23/the-iconic-chuck-taylors/ 

http://www.geoclan.com/style/articles/08/images/rundmc.jpg

Fact Monster. (2013). The history of sneakers. Retrieved from  http://www.factmonster.com/ipka/A0932723.html

 McCafferty, H. (2013). The evolution of the sneaker. Swide. Retrieved from  http://www.swide.com/sport-man/apparel/sneaker-history-evolution/2013/9/4

 http://images.sneakernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/air-jordan-retrospective-aj1-

 http://www.swide.com/sport-man/apparel/sneaker-history-evolution/2013/9/4 

Taralyn, P. (2011). History of sneakers. TimeToast. Retrieved from http://www.timetoast.com/timelines/history-of-sneakers–2

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

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.

 necktie5

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.

Prep Culture

By Emily Grant

Like many style tribes, to be a “prep” isn’t simply classified by the clothing you wear, but rather the life you lead.  It’s a lifestyle, not a mall trend.  This culture was borne of east-prep1coast elites who attended private college preparatory schools (hence “prep”) that often fed into the Ivy League.  The uniforms worn at school, paired with the attire of your typical extra-curriculars such as polo, sailing, and equestrian pursuits all influence the wardrobes of WASPs old and new.  These factors, mixed with conservative protestant values, an emphasis on social climbing, and a strong sense of entitlement come together to form what it means to be a true prep (Off the Cuff, 2010).  

In 1980, Lisa Birnbach’s Official Preppy Handbook hit the shelves, and suddenly everyone wanted a piece of prep (Off the Cuff, 2010).  Layered polos with popped collars anyone?  Pictures of my dad from college are pure gold.  The tongue-in-cheek “handbook” was meant to be a satire of the privileged East Coast collegiates, but was seen as preppy gospel by the general public (Preppy, n.d.).  The style that had been the norm forprep2 generations of Blue Bloods was now moving into the mass market (Off the Cuff, 2010).  These were the people doing Ralph Lauren before Ralph Lifshitz had even left the Bronx.  Now, a spiky haired kid with poor manners and an Abercrombie polo might be considered a prep, but don’t be fooled!

Brands like Brooks Brothers, Ralph Lauren, Gant by Michael Bastian, and L.L. Bean are absolute emporiums of all things preppy and can be a one-stop shop for someone looking to emulate the lifestyle, as the essentials of a preppy wardrobe are many.  Historically, a prep3preppy male could be found in his school blazer, a rumpled white button down topped with a repp-stripe tie, chinos, and Weejun penny loafers worn without socks (Chemsvold, 2013).  This look still exists among the true prep devotees, but can be easily translated into any wardrobe (Off the Cuff, 2010).  Why not try for a classic fit polo, club shorts secured with a needlepoint belt, and Sperry top-siders?  For the ladies, try a nautical inspired dress, your grandmother’s pearls and some Jack Rogers sandals.  Need more inspiration?  Check out the various and sundry preppy blogs that have sprung up in recent years like Ivy Style, or Unabashedly Prep.  Though this style tribe might seem inherently exclusive (because it is), it’s easy to blend in, and even you can have a taste of the prep culture. 

Work Cited

C. Chemsvold. (2013, January 7). The rise and fall of the Ivy League look. Retrieved from http://www.ivy-style.com/the-rise-and-fall-of-the-ivy-league-look.html

 Off the Cuff. (2010, September 9). The roots of American preppy – redux. Retrieved from http://offthecuffdc.com/roots-american-preppy-redux

 F.E. Castleberry. (2013, July 29).  Back to school giveaway.  Retrieved from http://www.unabashedlyprep.com/site/topic/category/Style/

 Preppy. (n.d.). Retrieved September 22, 2013 from the Preppy Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preppy

 S. Vickers.  (2013, August 19).  Some girls have all the sun.  Retrieved from http://www.classygirlswearpearls.com/2013/08/some-girls-have-all-sun.html

 Vanity Fair.  (2011, September 23).  Photos: from J.F.K. to Ralph Lauren models, the hallmarks of preppy style.  Retrieved from http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2011/10/preppy-slideshow-201110

Bronycon

By Abbey McNeill

Imagine a place without judgment, a happy place embracing ponies and rainbows: a place where friendship is cultured and a place where wearing wings and a unicorn spike is acceptable and normal. This is BronyCon: a society of adults who frequently gather to discuss all matters pertaining to My Little Pony.

brony1Some would consider it a fan club; others consider it a cult. You may be thinking how this club came to be; so a little background. Hasbro is a world famous toy producing company who produced My Little Pony in the 1980’s, targeted at girls ages 2-7. Hasbro’s first hit was Mr. Potato Head; following were many well known toy lines such as: GI Joe, Transformers, Easy-bake oven, Cabbage patch kids, Furby, Lincoln logs, Pokémon, Tinkertoys, and last but not least, My Little Pony. You get the idea: this company has had tremendous effect on the toy industry. They launched a My Little Pony TV show in October of 2010 in hopes to reach children and promote a new line of pony toys. They were successful in reaching the children and parents, but the show also attracted a much unexpected audience of people as well.brony4

Three-day conferences are held annually and are comprised of men, woman, little boys and girls who are My Little Pony enthusiasts. There’s a twelve hour concert for entertainment, and plenty of vendors selling pony-phernalia. So come one, come all, with brightly colored hair, body glitter, face paint and a pony costume, you’ll fit right in.

The anything-but-ordinary movement has been labeled “men’s version of feminism”.  Founded in the metropolitan area of New York in 2011, the fans consist primarily of male teenagers and adults.  The term “brony” was adopted by the group, which is a married expression of the brony2words “bro” and “pony”.  Some critics say that these men, who are sometimes upwards of age 25, have perverted motivations, to which a brony answered; “they just don’t understand. Ponies bring happiness to my usually stressful life” Another said; “The show is about friendship and happiness and life lessons. There aren’t many positive shows on these days, this is a show that families can sit down and enjoy together”. 

Being a brony is about adopting a lifestyle. The people that are really involved in BronyCon often dress up like ponies regularly to attend meetings and congregate all around the city to socialize about the show and their favorite ponies. This is what qualifies them as a style tribe: they dress in a distinctive manner to portray their membership. It is definitely nothing less than distinctive and memorable.BronyCon1

This groupie fan club is actually getting quite popular in the northeast. The very first BronyCon conference had around 100 attendees and has grown immensely. Don’t believe me? The most recent event in August of this year had over 8,000 attendants. Certain aspects of their culture seemed to have made it to mainstream style, such as their brightly colored hair: which many celebrities and others have adapted. The bronies have inspired several independent styles, perhaps even your next Halloween costume

Works Cited

 Amy, L. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://nymag.com/thecut/2013/08/style-tribe-the-grown-up-kids-of-bronycon.html

 BronyCon. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved August 10, 2004, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BronyCon

Chavs

By Ashley Frost

chavs1Ah Burberry, the iconic look of elegant trench coats, warm scarfs and of course plaid. A little over a decade ago a group of working class youths in England became obsessed with the classic Burberry plaid print. Now I don’t mean obsessed as in ‘ask for Burberry for every birthday and Christmas’ way, but these people started wearing mass quantities of fake Burberry. I’m talking Burberry hats, strollers, jackets, pants and even cars and houses were starting to be painted plaid. Soon Burberry had a total PR crisis on their hands.

Chav is a stereotypical name for young people in Britain who are not well educated, typically violent and wear fake designer clothing. When Burberry was experiencing a huge revival in popularity in the early 2000s a group of young and rowdy citizens began wearing massive amounts of beige plaid in an attempt to look cool. And thus Chav “culture” was born.  chavs2Soon after this cult-like obsession with the print began, Burberry responded. In 2002 the beige plaid was visible on one fifth of Burberry’s products, three years later in 2005 the classic check was only visible on around 5% of products.

It didn’t help Burberry’s problem that pubs started banning people wearing the pattern, in fear that they might be violent offenders. As a response Burberry stopped selling the plaid baseball caps that had become a Chav favorite. When a Welsh band tried to auction off a plaid car, Burberry took legal action and demanded that the car be destroyed. One man even had his house painted plaid, and no I am not kidding. He really thought that was a good idea.  It isn’t just knockoff plaid that makes these thugs so recognizable, they have a pension for large gold jewelry, and are almost alwayschavs4 wearing some kind of sportswear. Track suits, sweat pants, wife beaters, fake Nike tennis shoes, they basically look likeAmerican rappers but with fake Rolexes.

In the Unites States, Chavs could easily be compared to the Guidos of Jersey Shore.  Both groups love a good track suit, designer goods (either real or fake), have a tendency to look a little trashy and have anger management problems. Chavs are currently much more disrespected in the UK than Guidos are in the US, several books have been written and movies created about the rise of these designer-loving thugs. All his does make me wonder; if the cast of Jersey Shore were a tad more violent or a little trashier would Americans still love them? Or would our government learn from Britain and try to find ways to keep them off the streets?

In every society, in every country and in every era there is going to be a group of working class citizens whom the rest of the social sphere looks down upon. I cannot think of a group more fascinating and with so much character than Britain’s Chavs and I am eagerly looking forward to seeing what the future holds for this fascinating group.chavs3

References

 Bothwell, C. (n.d.). Burberry versus The Chavs. BBC News . Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4381140.stm

 Burberry fashion brand reports 40% profit rise. (n.d.). BBC . Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13557085

 Burberry perfume, burberry clothes, seen Burberry HOUSE before?. (n.d.). sianTown.net. Retrieved September 22, 2013, from http://news.asiantown.net/r/12133/burberry-perfume–burberry-clothes–seen-burberryhouse-before

 Nostalgia for Old Labour . (n.d.). The Commune. Retrieved September 22, 2013, fro http://thecommune.co.uk/2012/02/02/nostalgia-for-old-labour/

Chinese Influence on Fashion

By Lauren Dulweber

I distinctly remember getting off the plain from America to China wearing wrinkled sweatpants and a t-shirt thinking, “What a first impression I am making on this place”.  However, my unkempt appearance didn’t stop a little Chinese girl from asking to take a picture with me because of the red hair and pale skin that she had never seen before.  I quickly realized how much I had to learn about Chinese culture.

World cultures

Traditional Chinese dress was usually an oversized tunic made out of vibrantly woven cotton or animal skin.  The vibrant colors used in those garments inspired the intricately embroidered Opera costumes that remain the same even today.  While the Chinese economy has struggled to remain afloat in earlier decades, there was always money in their treasured Opera.  The costumes featured in these operas are world renowned for their distinct cut, detailed head dresses, and flamboyant makeup.

Today there is a huge Western influence on Chinese clothing.  If you stop by a news stand and flip open a magazine, you will find mostly Western celebrities.  I met a boy who could hardly say a sentence in English, but he could sing Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” at the top of his lungs, word-for-word.  Of course there are Chinese celebrities that are admired, but the government has such a strict hold on censorship and funds that all of their media is very low budget; therefore, they look to the West for fashion icons.  Another factor that affects the Chinese street wear is transportation.  The most popular means of transportation is the bike or the subway, so the majority of people have to wear very functional clothing.  In big cities, Chinese women will only been seen in heels and a modest dress, and the men will be wearing slacks and a nice shirt.

World cultures1

These women are tough: they can ride a bike, climb up to the Great Wall, and run to catch a bus, while sporting five inch heels.  They are also unbelievably on trend to fashion in the states.  The two unfortunate fads of China are knock-offs and graphic shirts.  The knock-off industry is outrageous in China, to the point where there are six-story buildings dedicated to everything from OPI nail polish and Ray Bans, to Beats headphones anWorld cultures4d Louboutins.  These knock-offs are smuggled around the world for their cheap imitation of quality goods.  The graphic tee fad includes bright colors and adorably incorrect English phrases.  I’m sure they think the same thing when they see Americans sporting a back tatt that says something incorrect in Chinese, so we’re even.

Recently Chinese influence has been found in the obvious Qi Pao, a dress that is form fitting, has a mandarin collar, and uses the traditional red or black patterned silk.  These have taken a modern look by current designers, especially in the 90’s.  Other than that, we have seen great sewing techniques come from China, like the Hong Kong technique of sewing a hem.

Fascinator Fever

By Crystal Harman

I do not know about you, but I am completely captivated with the millinery fashion of England.  It is pretty much my dream to own a fascinator from England.  To give you an idea of how much I love this accessory, I have even had thoughts about requiring hats or fascinators to be worn by all my guests at my wedding one day!  When the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William occurred the public was waiting in anticipation of all the different elaborate fascinators that would be chosen by the guests.  I know I was!  Hats are functional, protecting the head, while fascinators are decorative.  Fascinators give an outfit personality and it shows to the world your personal style.  Fascinators are supposed to be worn on one side of the head and tilted towards the front.  Clearly Princess Beatrice and Eugenie did not catch the memo as they wore their fascinators at the royal wedding in the center of their heads.  Not to mention the styles of their fascinators which were too distracting to be considered classy and elegant.  Fascinators have even become popular for the bride to wear in exchange for a traditional veil. 

Hats have long been used by British Royalty.  But when did the hat evolve into the fascinator? Fascinators began to make an appearance as a substitute for hats in the 18th Century.  This was due to altering attitudes of societal women based upon two major historical events, the Independence of American colonies from Britain, 1775 to 1782 and the French Revolution, 1789 to 1799.  It took a long time, before the hat began to be out of style.  With the death of Christian Dior, in 1957, hats started to be on the way out.  Before that time, there were specific regulations on when and how hats could be worn.  Hats made allusions to class, upbringing, and marital status.  Hats since 1957, have been seen as middle aged to elderly style and are typically only worn by the youth at horse racing events, weddings, and funerals. 

In recent decades, the popularity of fascinators decreased.  But in 2005, there was a resurgence of popularity, as the Duchess of Cornwall wore a fascinator at her wedding to Prince Charles.  The Queen chose a fascinator for Peter Phillips’ wedding, her grandson.  But once Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, began sporting fascinators the fascinator style has surged upwards.

Kate Middleton is a style icon.  She is a designers dream because everything she wears is instantly popular.  She carries herself with grace and elegance and often wears fascinators when she is out in the public.  Celebrities, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, have bought into the style of fascinators, inspired by Kate as well as the rest of British Royalty.  Although the mainstream consumer has no real need for an oversized fascinator, they still want to be like Kate and so they buy much smaller versions, usually a clip or a headband decorated with feathers, beads, and flowers. 

 For More Fascinating Facts:

BellaSugar. (April 29, 2011). “See Royal Wedding Hats and Fascinators.” Retrieved from http://www.bellasugar.com/Royal-Wedding-Hats-Fascinators-16113795

Catherine. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.oohlalaplume.com/history-of-fascinators.html

 “Definition and History of Fascinators.” (August 11, 2008). Retrieved from http://www.designerfascinators.com/

Shea, C. (April 25, 2011). “How to Wear a Fascinator (those fetching British hairpieces).” Retrieved from http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/how-to-wear-a-fascinator-those-fetching-british-headpieces/article1995772/

Baggin’ the Brits

By Ashley Mullen

The trendsetters? Romans, Brittish school boys, and Indian Jones. Although, a misfit bunch this fruit salad of fashion BLANK relate to each other through one important stylish commonality. The satchel. Obviously anyone with even acute observance would notice this terrific trend plaguing the streets. Certainly someone with even modest business aims would invest and hit this profitable market before it evaporates into the trend trashcan. And yet, it was not a world-class CEO to embark on this ingenious endeavor but a British mother with humble, admirable aims.

            The company? The Cambridge Satchel Company. The marvelous mastermind behind this uber successful company is none other than Julia Deane. With zero design experience this marvelous mum had a deep desire to obtain vintage school bag for children. Believing that this stylish installation for her kids would put an end to the pestering, school bullies. After manufacturing troubles, sheer hard work, and a lot of begging, she is currently the owner of The Cambridge Satchel company that provides ultra fashionable satchel bags of all sizes and colors. Although the original shop still resides in London, carriers can be discovered all over the world and even in convenient stores like Urban Outfitters.

            Back to my precedent of the conglomerated group of fashion innovators, the satchel bag of quintessential British style has existed for centuries. As all roads lead to Rome, the satchel was first carried as a utility bag by Roman Legionaries. Then, filtered into fashion in the 17th century, the satchel was an iconic accessory for British schoolboys. By the mid 20th century, any British school child would be an anomaly without this BLANK bag. And who could forget Indian Jones redefining manly standards with his impenetrable satchel. Now it has filtered its way onto fashionable streets worldwide. Regardless, the Cambridge Satchel Company remains the leader of the trendy pack.

 

        

   From celebrities to style gurus, these timeless but trendy satchels have made The Cambridge Satchel Company infamous for being “fashion’s most affordable it-bag” (Chernikof and Yotka, 2011). Although the basic design and function of the bags remain fairly stable from season to season, color modification really sets them over the top. Their recent collection with neon’s and metallic’s manifested into the must have bag of recent seasons. Deane even spoke openly about an upcoming collection of fabulously classy clutches. Through unique recollection of the past, stable class, and today’s trends these bags should make their way to the top of every fashionista’s bucket list.

It’s In the Bag – So Read About it:

Chernikoff, L. & Yotka, S. (2010). Cambridge Satchel Company: the inspiring story

behind fashion month’s most affordable it-bag. Retrieved May 15,

2012, from http://fashionista.com/2011/10/cambridge-satchel-company-the-inspiring-story-behind-fashion-months-most-affordable-it-bag/

History of the leather satchel, from Romans to leather school bags in the high streets.

Retrieved May 15, 2012, from http://www.scaramangashop.co.uk/Fashion-and-

Furniture-Blog/the-history-of-the-leather-satchel/