20 April 2010

Getting Comfortable

'Soul of Chet'
Vogue Hommes (China)
Photography by Matthew Brookes

I found this jazz inspired editorial fascinating because of the styling of the suits. They had a wonderfully casual and comfortable feel about them, which I suppose is that hip cool they sought to embody. However it also got me thinking about suits and having that comfortable sense of confidence.

There was a time when a man wore suit and thought nothing of it. It was not for special occasions, it was not for the office, it was not to impress, it simply was what he wore. It may have been one of only two or three outfits that he owned, passed down from father to son, being altered as it went, and having a richer life than we could now imagine or hope for the majority of our clothing to ever have.

Fashion only ever emerges in a society once there is the potential for social mobility. With social mobility and that Victorian belief in the potential of better standing, the demarcation of status through clothing and its related sumptuary laws becomes somewhat irrelevant. Rather fashion comes into its own, ostensibly accessible to all, yet in practice perhaps not as democratic as it posits itself to be.

I often find myself looking towards the past, and in particular to a time before fashion as we understand it today, in order to better understand style. Style is perhaps the most elusive of all concepts and yet something intrinsic to fashion. Without style, a person risks becoming nothing but a doll for clothing, inviting that most feared of terms - the fashion victim. I always find it interesting that those who are seen as fashion victims, blindly following a trend, lose any sense of personality and identity. In the eyes of others they are no longer an individual, but rather belong to that nameless mass.

I thought I would share these images from just before World War One, because although the sitters may not be fashionable, they do have a powerful individual style. I find them absolutely magical to look at. It is not simply the clothes, or how they wear it, it is the people themselves, those nameless individuals that must have had such stories to tell.

These are not about fashion, they are about life.


  1. I think style is what inspires fashion. Thanks for sharing this editorial, I quite like it.

  2. My fiance has been dressing more stylishly because of his new job, and I must say that I love it! You can't go wrong with a sharp-dressed man (sorry, zz top).


  3. I sometimes wish that suits were still day-to-day wear. It's that dream of living in a Cary Grant/Jimmy Stewart movie...

  4. A man in a good outfit = yummy!

    I think we need more of this kind of style to go out and stuff it's been lost for a while now.