We have some fab interns with us and today Joe has written a funky piece for you lovely men out there on mens vintage fashion – we just love his style of writing!
Over the last week or so, my news feed has been besieged with people sharing articles on the sweeping trend of LADCulture, an emerging lifestyle that encourages guys to style themselves and behave in a way akin to our primate cousins. Okay, that description may be a little bit harsh (on the monkeys) but it’s great to see that people are finally looking at society and realising there’s something strange going on, particularly with males around my age. I know I’m not fashionable – far from it. I’m the type of person who latches on to a trend six months after it went out of fashion. But I am human, and I know that the way that blokes dressed in days gone by is, on average, far superior to how they dress now.
I know what you’re going to say – I shouldn’t be judging 1920s formal attire to today’s informal apparel. Yes, there are pictures of the Geordie Shore lot wearing actual suits to events (one of the two pictures I found of them covering their arms), but with the world investing all of their time telling Miley Cyrus to put clothes on, we’re forgetting that it’s everyone who’s stripping down into what will soon be pieces of string and a bit of lycra.
It’s fabulous that people are becoming comfortable with their bodies, it really is, but that doesn’t mean all of it needs to be on show to everyone all of the time. The phrase “less is more” is ridiculously tired out, I know, but only because it’s true.
While researching the world of vintage for my placement here at Britain Does Vintage, I noticed that every single vintage blog I found was the creation of a lady. I’d never given it much thought, but the vintage world seems to be a heavily female dominated place. It’s understandable, I suppose, as women have always had a wider spectrum of fashion at their disposal, while men tend to have only one or two different styles popular at a time (currently t-shirts with flowers on or t-shirts with words like “REEM” on). That’s the way it has always been – go into any clothing store, check out the three floors of women’s clothes and the half floor of men’s squished into the back. But just because guys have less choice doesn’t mean we have to stick to whatever’s popular.
In fact, it should be more of an excuse to look into the trends of our past generations to see what else there is to wear. Between the Great Depression and WWII the most noticeable aspect of mens clothing was the subdued colour palette. Suits went from rigid to more free flowing and relaxed and men looked to the likes of Cary Grant (below) for inspiration! Sadly when war came, mens fashion focused on military outfits so was somewhat forgotten about!
One piece of vintage menswear for which I have an undying love for are brogues. I only own a single pair, which are slowly falling to bits due to their overuse since my college prom, but I refuse to part with them because of their complete and utter beauty in comparison to my modern pairs of trainers and boots. It is the appearance of items like these on our high streets that make me hopeful for men’s vintage to become more popular, and potentially outshine the crowd of more ‘popular’ high street stores that plague our pavements. But, when you can get into a nightclub wearing pretty much anything nowadays, it’s all becoming a bit unlikely.
Of course, the real reason behind the lack of guys opting for something out of the ordinary could be simply because vintage day-to-day clothes are less accessible for men. Whereas women can wear a 1950s dress and not look like they’re overdoing it on an afternoon shopping trip or an evening out, men who “suit up” often end up looking a bit too Barney Stinson.
While Barney/Neil Patrick Harris is a great example of someone who is fine with working hard to look good, there are still ways of dressing well without dressing too well. One constant predicament I often find myself in is whether a particular shirt is suitable for an everyday occasion, or whether it’s more night out attire. Regardless, guys who dare often look better than guys who don’t bother (something I really ought to learn from). And swapping jeans and tan chinos for something more stylish once in a while would not go amiss.
Although girls might want to go all out when it comes to applying their favourite styles of the past, guys can still achieve a less modern look while keeping things a little bit informal. Taking inspiration and elements from vintage styles and pairing them with new trends is the key to keeping the class without trying too hard. And it’s clear that vintage stores are making things more available for guys: my favourite vintage clothing shop in York, previously known as Purple Haze, has recently moved its gentleman’s section to the front of the store, along with changing its name to Bowler Vintage. The culture of the LAD may be influencing what sort of looks are dominating our high street stores, but there’s still plenty of choices out there for guys who prefer to look more like Joe DiMaggio and less like Joey Essex.
So there we have it folks … do you dare to dress up to the occasion but unsure on how to get the look? Fear not, we often have some super mens vintage fashion stalls and many stalls also have a mens rail – check out where we are next here!
We’ll be back soon with more pre-loved inspiration and humbling stories! Alex and Sam x
(and of course Gina)