The WORST Men's Fashion Fails of the 20th Century!

The WORST Men's Fashion Fails of the 20th Century!

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Welcome back to the Gentleman's Gazette. In today's video, we'll discuss the weirdest,   wildest, and most outright painful  men's fashions of the 20th century. ♪ The Gentleman's Gazette theme song ♪ If you cast a critical eye back through time, you  can see that there's much evolution and change   that has occurred with menswear over the centuries.  All of these changes have meant that we can deal   with modern luxuries and conveniences and styles  of clothing that we think are appropriate.  

But, frankly, there's also just been a lot of downright  silliness. Indeed, the 20th century had many   fairly ridiculous fashions over the course of  its 100 years. And while we can't cover all of   them, we've hand-picked a few from each decade  that we think are particularly egregious. 

Now, it should be said that not all of these fashion  trends were commonplace. Certainly, it wasn't the   case that a majority of men were wearing all of  them and indeed, some were even fairly unpopular at   the time. But, with that said let's just go in for  the giggles today and look at some of these silly   fashion choices. We'll go in chronological order  today, starting of course with the 1900s and 1910s - an economic boom time, a time of mechanization, and a time of ridiculously tall shirt collars.

As menswear historians, we have to admit that  the look of a stiff detachable collar can be   quite sharp in some circumstances. But with that  said, the collars of the 1900s could be quite   tall - sometimes even reaching a whopping three and  a half inches in height. Legend has it that if men   fell asleep in these tall collars with their heads  bent forward, they could even cut off circulation   and oxygen to the brain. Some men were said to have  died from asphyxiation, giving these collars the   cheerful nickname of "vatermorder" or "father killer."  And while obviously not as severe as death, other   men experienced inconveniences like friction sores  or rashes and so, some took to using a special wax   called glattolin. With all that said, though, we don't  want to put you off of detachable collars entirely.

When worn at the right height that corresponds  well with your neck, they can be comfortable -   at least, once you get used to them - and indeed, they  can be quite stylish. Let's now turn our attention   to the 1920s and 30s with our first item here  being Oxford bags. Today, of course, classic menswear   enthusiasts fight against the modern trends of  ultra skinny trousers by wearing pants that have a   leg width that's more in the middle and flattering  to multiple body types. But, if you want to go to  

the complete opposite end of the spectrum from the  tight-fitting trousers of today, look no further   than the Oxford bags of the 1920s. These were  incredibly wide-legged trousers that had their   origins at Oxford University around about 1924.  For reference here, the leg width of modern trousers   tends to sit around an average of 18 inches, and,  indeed, these Oxford bags started out not too much   wider than average at a width of about 22 inches. But, at their widest, they reached a ridiculous 

44 inches in width. If nothing else, they might come in  handy for a particularly comfortable three-legged   race at a county fair or, alternatively, if you fell  from a plane wearing oxford bags, you wouldn't even   have to be wearing a parachute to land safely.  Now, not everyone was wearing this style of trousers   even at the time, but they persisted in one form  or another for almost 30 years and even reached   a revival of sorts in the 1970s. Let's now move  into the 30s and 40s, which we consider to be the   center of the so-called Golden Age of menswear.  Indeed, we don't really have too much to discuss  

in this period as many of the fashions were fairly  middle of the road. We might even go so far as to   say boring. Then, again, this is our preferred era of  menswear and you'll hear us talking up his virtues   all the time. So, it's perhaps not surprising that  we don't have too many nitpicks or gripes here. So, if we were to call suits from this era boring,  we'd focus mostly on the early to mid-1940s   as World War II was getting into swing and  fabric rationing stopped fashion from evolving. After all, it was seen as patriotic at this  time to save fabric for the front lines.   So, not many suits featured excessive fabric and  therefore, had narrower trouser legs than in years   prior and they also didn't feature decorative  buttons or trims, patch pockets, or even cuffed   pants. As these all used more material than was  necessary. And also, because of fabric rationing,

double-breasted jackets became less popular  around this time. Although, they did experience   a resurgence once rationing requirements eased  off. In some countries, such as Britain, there were   certain restrictions that were put in place on  details that garments had. For example, things like   cuffs or turn ups were banned and double-breasted  jackets were disallowed. If we were to single out a   fashion fail from this era, it would probably be in  the realm of men's workwear, specifically matching   work sets that were worn by servicemen, delivery  drivers, and the like, and that were styled to   military uniforms to further give the sense that  everyone was doing their part. These would usually  

consist of shirt, pants, and short jackets all  made from matching colors and fabrics, usually   in mercerized or sanforized cotton or in a rayon  cotton blend. By the way, mercerized fabric has been   treated with sodium hydroxide and sanforized  fabric has been pre-shrunk before it's made   into a garment. The idea behind these processes  was to make the garments more long-lasting and   hard-wearing, perfect for work uniforms. They were  also advertised as being tub fast, which meant they   could be washed at home with then contemporary  laundering methods and thus, didn't have to be   dry cleaned. The shirts often featured camp-style collars, which were popular at the time,   and they could be buttoned all the way up to be  worn with a tie or bow tie or left unbuttoned to   give the appearance of a small pseudo-lapel.  They also often featured a breast pocket on both sides  

for holding work tools. The trousers were  high-waisted and could come in flat-fronted   or pleated varieties and were often worn with  belts that again came in fabric of the same color, though some men opted to wear regular leather  belts instead. The matching jacket was also, of   course, in the same fabric and emulated the shirt,  often also having pockets on both sides of the   chest and stopping right around the waistband. The difference here being that the jacket was fastened   with a zipper and was often thicker than the shirt.  Because the colors often merged together and gave   an overall stale and dull appearance, these  really weren't fashionably-inspired ensembles, but then again, they were work uniforms so the  men wearing them didn't have much of a choice,   and after all, they did have more important things  to worry about at that time. Let's turn now to the   1950s, where especially in Britain we saw the  advent of the "Teddy Boy." The Teddies or Teds  

were a subculture of young British men who wore  pseudo-Edwardian or Edwardian-inspired ensembles. This came about in the post-war era when several  row tailors attempted to re-insert things like   long jackets and fancy waistcoats to servicemen  who had returned from the war. However, these looks   didn't really go over well. So, the tailors had  to cut their losses and sell them cheaply to   the general public. They were mostly picked up  by young working-class men and were originally  

associated with delinquents called "cosh boys,"  but by 1952, the style was spreading throughout   the UK and was associated with the emerging rock  and roll subculture. The style was given the name   "Teddy Boy" in 1953 when a reporter for the Daily  Express newspaper shortened Edwardian to Teddy.   As you can see, the style featured things like long  jackets with velvet trims, sometimes in bright   colors and with fantastically fancy waistcoats,  as well as Western-style bow ties or bolo ties,   and even creepers as footwear. Of course,  all of this is hardly anything like genuine   styles of the Edwardian period, but these clothes  certainly did turn heads. Although, perhaps the most   eye-catching aspect of the overall aesthetic was  the hairstyles. These styles were reminiscent of   bird beaks, croissants, and even tongues drooping  down from the heads of the wearers. Of course, you  

needed a lot of hair and a lot of product  to pull these styles off and hairstyles got   bigger and bigger over time. The Teddy Boy style  even had a brief comeback in the 1970s and, indeed,   there are probably still a few Englishmen rocking  the style today. Alright. Now, as we get into the   latter half of the 20th century, we can feel the  classic menswear enthusiasts out there cringing   right along with us because, of course, the 60s,  70s, and 80s are all known for their particularly   terrible fashion choices. But, bear with us as we  soldier on here and get into the 1960s with the   body shirt. These shirts, which were cut similarly  to body coats, with seams that made the shirt fit   as close to the body as possible might seem bad  enough. But, once you combine them further with  

wildly patterned trousers, velvet suits, a mix and  match of over-the-top bright colors, huge bow ties, an obsession with colorful tartan, and ruffled  shirts, you've got yourself a pretty eccentric and   overall, a pretty ugly era. And, of course, we can't  talk about the 1960s without mentioning hippies, a   subculture of the time that were decried by many  as a bunch of lazy, do-nothing, beatnik young kids. Traditional norms were out the window and, indeed,  that didn't stop at their clothing choices or perhaps, lack thereof. either. Of course, the  hippie movement has its defenders even today.

But, we can probably agree that with their colorful,  crazy, psychedelic, and mismatched ensembles, you can   see where some of the other fashion fails of the  1960s came from. We're not going to hit the entire   decade with the fashion fail stamp of silliness as  there were still more traditional ensembles worn   by some men. But, once we get into the 1970s, all  bets are off. We'll start here with the so-called   "dog-ear shirt." Now, today, men's collar leaves on  dress shirts are getting smaller and smaller, leaving the traditionally-minded among menswear  enthusiasts hoping that collar leaves will start   to get longer again. But, we should be careful  not to go too far in the opposite direction   or we might end up with these dog-ear collars.  These shirts featured collars with ridiculously  

long and rounded leaves, leading some to even  call them "man boob collars" or "saggy boob collars." We apologize in advance. It's no secret that, at the  Gentleman's Gazette, we're interested in helping   men to find clothing that fits them well and  complements their frame. So, with that in mind, we ask, "Why would anyone wear a jacket  with lapels so wide you could land an   airplane on them?" 1970s lapels were ridiculously  wide and colorful. It was a look that didn't look   good on many men. But, indeed, a trend is a trend  so most followed suit. If you'll pardon the pun.

[Cricket noises] Of course, lapel widths have fluctuated over time,  seeing periods of wideness in the 1870s and again,   in the 1940s. But, by the time we see the wide  lapels of the 70s, one major gust of wind and   you might as well fly away. Moving on to our  next item, we move down under to Australia. Indeed, summers there can get quite hot.  So, naturally, men are always looking for ways to   cool down. But, if you ask us we'd probably rather  boil to death in wool trousers in the summer   than be caught wearing Stubbies.  These were a style of shorts or, indeed,   short shorts that were invented as casual wear, but  also became a staple of workwear for a time.

Frankly, they're pretty unflattering, and to add insult to injury, they were also often worn still with high socks. And as our final item from  the 70s, we'll be taking a look at bodysu... [Preston retching]  Body...

Nope! I can't do it. I can't do it. Let's move on. Now, the1980s weren't so innocent either with their focus on huge hair, the mullet, and  whatever these styles are. But, as we alluded to   previously, the worst crime of this era has to  be the 1980s power suit. Overall, 80s suits were   guilty of overlypadded shoulders, wide-cut  bodies and unflatteringly-low button stances   that threw off the proportions of the suit  informed originally by the golden ratio.   And, although the trousers were usually higher-waisted than modern trousers today, the extremely   low buttoning point of the squared-off jackets  made the torso look larger, the legs look smaller, and indeed, the head of the wearer looked tinier  as well. Also because of the low button stance,

double-breasted jackets tended to cross much lower  on the body and could sometimes gape and gap at   the top, again leading to an unflattering square  silhouette. These double-breasted suits would make   their counterparts from the 20s and 40s fall apart  in disappointment. But, then again, the shoulder pads   could suit Frankenstein's monster. So, if you look  anything like Boris Karloff after 4 hours of movie   makeup, then they might be a good choice for you.  Now, to the final decade of today's video: the 1990s.

[Scene from the music video of As Long As You Love Me by The Backstreet Boys plays] While the fashion crimes here aren't as  severe as some of the previous decades, they are still numerous. If we had to pick  one area though, we'd say that the worst   fashion crime of the 90s had to be the decade's  obsession with denim. Denim trousers also called   "jeans" were invented in 1873 by Levi Strauss and  Jacob Davis as workwear. And indeed, you can learn   more in our history section of the "Is It Worth It"  video we've done on Levi's here. Over the course  

of the 20th century, denim worked its way into  casual wear ensembles. But, by the 1990s, things   had definitely gone overboard. As one example, we  can turn to the oversized, low-hanging baggy jeans   made by companies like JNCO, which were originally  made for young boys but came to be worn by adults   as well. And we could also bring up this photo  from 2001 featuring Justin Timberlake in jeans   and a matching denim jacket as well as a denim  hat while Britney Spears is wearing a denim dress   with a matching denim bag. Despite what they may  have heard at the time, a Canadian tuxedo really   shouldn't be worn on the red carpet or elsewhere.  Luckily for us, this trend would eventually die  

out and "double denim" became a phrase associated  with poor fashion taste. And by the 90s, we were   starting to see the beginnings of what we're  still experiencing today, where traditional   casual menswear is being supplanted overall  by streetwear and other casual fashions.  Now, we're not going to decry this entirely as there  certainly is a place for more casual dressing. Indeed, you can even work things like jeans into  more classically-inspired menswear ensembles.

Just make sure that they're dark wash, free of  too much detailing or distressing, and work well   with your body type. In conclusion then, with  all these weird and wild fashion trends over   the course of the 20th century, it should be  no secret why we at the Gentleman's Gazette   prioritize a wardrobe that is not only classic,  but also timeless. In other words, if you make   an effort to follow the fundamental principles of  aesthetics that we outline in several other videos, you can be confident that you won't have to look  back at photos from a certain period and cringe. If there's a lesson to be learned from today's  video other than, of course, not wearing any of   the styles that we've directly profiled here, it  should be that following trends is a surefire way   to have future generations laugh at you. I've tried  to get into the spirit of things a bit in today's   video by wearing a suit from my own wardrobe  that does have some frankly 80s-inspired power   shoulders to it that are perhaps just a bit wide  for my build. The overall fit of the suit though  

does complement my frame fairly well and isn't  overly boxy. And I like the dark brown color and   faint stripe in light blue and tan, which is more  classically-inspired. I've paired the suit with a   simple, light blue dress shirt that has French  cuffs into which I've inserted our gold-plated   sterling silver eagle claw cufflinks with  tiger's eye as the stone that harmonize with   the brown of the suit. These cufflinks are from  Fort Belvedere as are my other accessories today, including my grenadine tie, which is in a cashmere  wool silk blend and features orange and gray tones,   as well as a thin white stripe, our orange exotic  Caribbean boutonniere, and the pocket square in   silk, which features a large paisley pattern of  orange, blue, green, red, and white. Also from   Fort Belvedere are my two-toned, shadow-striped socks  in navy blue and royal blue to harmonize with   the shirt, but also to pick up on the striped  motif of the suit. Rounding out the outfit   today are a simple pair of dark brown Oxfords  from Allen Edmonds and, of course, you can find   all of the Fort Belvedere accessories I'm wearing  in today's video in the Fort Belvedere shop here.

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2021-07-07 12:54

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