The post war years hold many devoted memories for some people. It was a time of prosperity for some and optimism for many, having just come out of one of the most shocking ears to have affected the World and that was now offering something bright for the future.
It was also an ear that possibly saw some of the most interesting developments in fashion. The Atlantic seemed much narrower than ever before due to the increased contact that the War had forced upon us with Americans, and all the boldness that they brought to hour little island during the early forties, things such as rock and roll, hamburgers, nylon stockings and candy.
Just as the War is argued to have had a serious impact on accelerating the development of technology and engineering, it may be fair to say that this goes hand in hand with fashion as well, not just because of the broader cultural influences that the War brought, but also because of the advancements in fashion manufacture.
The post war years influenced by a consumer driven society and an increasingly liberal youth would see some very interesting fashions in luxury fabrics and colours never experienced before. Coloured cardigan became popular amongst young men and generally a more flexible and casual approach to fashion was adopted. Pink for the first time became a trendy colour for men and hats became increasingly famous with the influence from America of the grey flannel suite, which influenced the film, ‘The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit’.
Whilst fashion was becoming increasingly casual and following the American influence, for British men it was still very crucial for fashion to firmly cement the differing gender roles and to this end it was to be understood that men wore suits and women wore dresses.
In the new millennium we are now seeing a return to some of the early post war years of fashion. This is reflected in the choice of slim line check and pinstripe fabrics for suites that are accessorized with braces and subtle embroidery that marks styles out as a feeling of heritage. Moving further from the forties and yet still staying with the post war years we are also discovering a return of the fashionable slim fitting roll neck tops made from wool and in both greys and warm autumn colours.
There is most certainly a sense of Britishness, fine cuts and quality tailoring about the contemporary fashion lines in men’s wear and that offer a warm and strong classic look when men’s gender roles were strong and clearly defined.
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