Garments That Tell A Tale of History
Fashion is telling when it comes to history. Each decade there are particular trends that tend to define the look of a particular time. It has almost always been this way. The people who could manage it were in style while others watched. Many people don’t appreciate how much interesting history is found within the history of fashion and clothing in general. Each design had a purpose or inspiration behind its existence that was very much of its time. Some of these influences resonate to this day due to the clothing magnifying their influence and preserving the ideas they help to embody. It seems a shame to leave these pieces mostly forgotten apart from among specialists in history. We’ve got a glimpse into the past for you that looks into some of the iconic looks that helped to define eras in their own time for good or for ill. Not all of them are necessarily the most visually interesting things in the world, but they can still truly claim a place in history.
“The” Little Black Dress
Let’s start with a comparatively fashionable piece of clothing. Coco Chanel remains an incredibly well-known figured in the history of fashion. Her design house continues on in her name even to this day. She had to make her spot in history somehow though. In many ways, the initial little black dress is what came to make black into the staple of fashion that it is today. The color tended to be reserved strictly for mourning before it became the darling of the fashion industry. Chanel’s innovative use of the color and cut on the infamous and famous little black dress are what helped to truly cement her into the public consciousness. It was liberation and beauty all in one delightful package that allowed women to own their looks in an entirely new way. These days “little black dress” is more of a class of dresses than anything. Most of us have at least one and they all look different, but once, in the 1920s, it meant a single style of dress that helped to change the way the world looked at fashion.
Sunglasses have an almost unspoken role in film and fashion culture. There is something untouchable and beyond about them when done correctly. This is why we so often see people wearing them to stand out or otherwise appear to be more than they are. It works well as a visual coding. There are only a handful of truly iconic sunglasses though. Ray-Ban Wayfarers are one of them. The design of these sunglasses has slowly shifted over the years and morphed in accordance with the times, but they’ve been around for decades without every truly dropping out of sight. They have, however, endured periodic times when they weren’t terribly popular. These days the more modern version of these sunglasses is fairly popular, but finding a true vintage set of the original and slightly chunkier 50s and 60s style of Wayfarer remains a popular addition to any vintage wardrobe. Their presence has set the standard for many generations and seems set to go on doing so.
There are very few pieces of clothing as timeless as this trenchcoat. It began its life as an attempt to create a comfortable and weather resistant overcoat. What the creator, Thomas Burberry, didn’t know is that the coat would go on to be the iconic coat of British Officers during World War I. The hardy yet functional coat managed to remain on the minds of the officers after the end of the war and this is what would ultimately be the seed of its enduring popularity. Retired officers would continue to maintain old habits and wear their coat. This in turn drew the eye of people who hadn’t served and Burberry ended up making further coats to meet the demand. It became a fashion sensation that continues to this day. You still see them on runways relatively routinely even if the design is tweaked a little to match the sensibilities of another designers. The Burberry brand keeps making them the way they’ve always made them with just a few modifications over the years and continue to tell the story of endurance in trying times and weather.
Fashion is more of a part of history than most people ever realize. We see the designs that turn up and don’t realize many of them have a history. Some of them sparked innovation in how people viewed things like the appropriate colors or women’s sexuality. Others maintain a staunch legacy touched by war yet unbroken. A few of them are simply iconic designs that have been used again and again as their reputation and style endured. Each is a piece of history regardless of which category they fall into and they all deserve respect.