New uniform taken over in mens fashions

Styles in men’s attire seem to come and go. However there is a trend underway that appears to be semi-permanent, and worldwide too. Men’s dark suits have become an almost universal outfit and copied over most of the globe, to places where capitalism is non-existent. That is in sharp contrast to previous eras, and to even the clothing worn a couple of decades previously.

There is an old saying that clothes make the man. Still, it should be noted that the times are reflected in outfits. During the Regency period in England, flamboyance in men’s costumes was very much in fashion, and showed up as well in ornate buildings and furniture. Monarchs had imposed laws against shows of opulence in order for ordinary people to realize where power resided. That period ended.

The two world wars were the pacemakers for military tailoring; close fitting attire that was useful when standing at attention or in parades. All kinds of other changes ensued. Winston Churchill popularized the one-piece jump suit, something easy to slip on during an air raid. Then “austerity Britain” followed, with men dressed in simple, “old” clothes, evidence of war-imposed poverty.

Men’s suits gradually evolved, now resembling clothes at the present time.

Nevertheless, during the wild 1960s, the era of youth rebellion, many dressed in a very sloppy manner. Offices had “dress down” Fridays, that many can recall.

Even teachers decided that they would cater to that trend, wearing informal sports shirts, and slacks. In restaurants, even when on dates, men appeared very casually. Previously, many restaurants refused to seat patrons unless they had on a shirt, necktie, and jacket. Some restaurants had a spare coat and tie at the door for men who appeared without those “essentials.” Soon men’s jeans were advertised that they had the look of being worn previously, but that changed.

Following the Chinese communist revolution, the Mao jacket became fashionable, and dungarees-jeans were accepted by many. Jeans used to be worn only by labourers, road crews, and construction workers. However, jeans now have become the outfit worn by most men. On weekends, jeans have become omnipresent, regardless of social status. It must be acknowledged that jeans have become fancier, but still they are really denims.

Nowadays, for business-politics, the dark suit has become almost a uniform in business and government. Nearly all men wear that kind of suit, and on commuter trains it appears almost like an army.  The style has been virtually unchanged for a couple of decades, with perhaps the jacket, cut wider. What is surprising is that that uniform of Western capitalism is worn by leaders in Africa and Asia, every – where except in the Middle East.

Clearly, this era has imposed a new uniform on most men, and taken over their wardrobes.


Bruce Whitestone