Retro Leather Jackets – Recreating Automotive Fashion History

Spending the better part of 40+ years with a variety of major fashion retailers, I have learned some certain truths. Along with the inevitability of death and taxes is the truth that , in fashion, what had gone around comes around again. The cycle is usually generational. For some reason, every 40 years the essence of the hot fashion of the time is revived and given the title “Retro”. It was only natural, that with the upsurge in Vintage Automobile collecting and racing, some of the hot fashion associated with with the era of the 1960’s / 1970’s would start showing up about now – and also inevitable that there would be a large appeal to a younger, non automotive related audience.

First comes the fabric. Leather jackets have always been cool, but when worn by Marlon Brando and his motorcycle gang, Jimmy Dean in his Porsche 550, Steve McQueen “The King of Cool” in the Great Escape – “cool” had a new meaning. Leather in jackets relating to automobiles, modern and vintage, is back with a vengeance. Next comes the style. When I was buying jackets back in the late 60’s / early 70’s there was one style designed for “cool ” drivers and its generic name was the descriptive name of the company – “Style Auto”. Literally thousands of dozens of this style in a variety of fabric were made. It’s baaaack.

Tony “a2z racer” Adamowicz, working from his original 1970 collection of jackets has produced and is marketing an improved retro Top Grain Leather Jacket that captures the essence of the original. Perfect for both the new and old Porsche, Corvette, BMW, Shelby Mustang GT500, etc. Tony, who just had a podium finish at Infineon Raceway in his 40 year old 1969 F5000 Championship car, said that he will also be designing this Satin Lined, Leather Jacket in other fabrics including Corduroy and Nylon Cire. Tony plans to be styling in his vintage Datsun 240Z. I plan to follow suit in my 65 Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce. Niche market to mainstream continues to be the mantra for retro design.

A Skinny Black Tie – Its Fashion History and Place in the Modern Fashion World

Some of the fashion trends are so popular and classic that they remain in fashion forever. These fashion trends, for instance include black satin dress and black leather bags for women, while for men they may include accessories such as ties and black belts. One most important fashion trend which has been immensely popular from 50’s through to the 80’s and has made a comeback now in recent years in that of a skinny black tie. This tie has made a comeback with Hollywood stars preferring to wear them at award functions, and as these stars are looked up for fashion and style, many fashionable men around have started following them for this trend.

In the era of 20’s, these ties varied in width from 1 to 3 inches. During this time, both pointed and square end ties were popular. Most people during that era referred to the ties ranging from 1 to 1 1/2 inches as string ties.

During the 50’s that is after the cold war and the Korean War men’s fashion became conservative with tapered pants and smaller lapels. To match these, slimmer ties came into fashion. Ties in black and other dark colors were most preferred by men during this time.

During the age of rock music, teenagers and young boys looked up for fashion to stars like Elvis Presley. Elvis wore skinny ties, so once again the trend reached to its peak. College students and young boys started wearing as skinny ties as just 1 inch in width. Again in the 80’s skinny neckties became popular especially due to the musicians and songsters, who would prefer wearing them.

Today, skinny neckties have stepped into fashion again and so there are many Hollywood stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt and others, who are seen wearing them to award shows and for TV interviews. No matter what, but there is always something special about these skinny neckties which make the men look more classic and decent. Nowadays about 3 inches wide skinny ties are enough while I personally think that you should go for the width according to your stature.

Fashion History – Clothing of the Middle Ages in Western Europe

The Middle Ages encompasses the time from the Fall of the Roman Empire in 400 CE until the beginning of the Renaissance, around 1500 CE.

Clothing of the Early Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, was basically a tunic and under tunic, both sewn from a cross shaped piece of fabric that was folded and hand stitched. Later, the tunic was cut in two pieces, then four piece for a better fit.

Peasants and serfs made their clothes at home of wool and hemp. The shearing, and cleaning of the wool; the spinning, and weaving was a long drawn out chore before the invention of the spinning wheel and the horizontal loom. But the garment were durable and long lasting. One garment could last a life time.

While the upper classes and aristocracy wore basically the same type of clothing, their under tunics were made of linen which was made for them by workers. Upper class women sewed tunics at home and some were made by professional tailors.

Due to the loss of trade that followed the end of the Roman Empire, trade was minimal, so the importation of fine fabrics was expensive and rare. But finer weaves, borders, and embellishments made for better clothing for the elite.

After the invention of the horizontal loom and spinning wheel, the manufacture of clothing became easier. These technological improvements made finer clothing more available and affordable. The Crusades introduced silk, damask, and other luxurious fabrics and designs into Europe. And when Marco Polo’s adventures heralded a new interest in the Far East, trade increased, creating greater availability of textiles, design ideas, and new patterned fabric to Europe.

Clothing worn by the nobility and merchants began to change, introducing the concept of fashion. While the Church dictated certain aspects of dress for modesty, such as veils for women, alterations in the in the types of fabrics used varied the styles that became popular. Women wore veils made of sheer muslin, interwoven with golden threads. Gowns became more ornate with variations in the neckline, sleeves, and hem lengths.

The establishment of guilds and improvements in the manufacture of clothing created an upwardly mobile middle class able to emulate the clothing styles of the upper class. New styles emerged including the elaborate head dresses of the later Middle Ages. The head dresses that looked like horns were wildly popular for a generation, as was the classic fairy tale princess style of hat called a hennin. A hennin was a tall, conical hat worn with a veil, a style much identified with the Middle Ages.

The later Middle Ages saw women’s gowns grow trains, and sleeves elongated so that long flaps reached the ground.

The changing of style and middle class interest in emulating the clothing styles of the elite created what we think of today as fashion.