Join us on a rapid journey through 12 interesting facts about men in fashion and style. From shoes and suits, to designers and magazines, how many of these made you have an “aha” moment?
#1: Men Made Heels Popular
In the 1670s, King Louis XIV of France popularised high heels for men. He favoured shoes with red heels as a mark of his wealth due to red dye being expensive at the time.
#2: Christian Louboutin’s Trademark was Inspired by an Employee
Today, red heels are just as exclusive, with designer Christian Louboutin trademarking red soles. He says the inspiration came from an employee’s nail polish which involved painting the underside of the fingernail tip red, and the top of the nail black.
#3: Keds Made the First Soundless Shoes aka Sneakers
From heels to sneakers… the first were made by Keds in 1917 with a new take on the rubber sole which were almost soundless, hence sneakers. Jumping several decades later, Steve Jobs’ go-to trainer was the New Balance 991 (of course matched with an iconic black roll neck and jeans).
#4: Holes in Brogues were Practical in the 1920’s
Still with the priority to “look smart” in the 1920’s, the perforations on brogues were intended to let water escape when men were trudging through wet outdoor grounds.
#5: Buttons on Suit Sleeves Were Designed for Surgeons
What were they wearing with the brogues? A suit of course. The buttons on the sleeve of a suit were first developed so that wartime surgeons could roll up their sleeves and get to work on the battlefield. Now the “working cuffs” are a sign of a high quality made-to-measure or bespoke suit.
#6: A Grabologist Knows that Size Does Matter
To compliment that suit, we need a tie. The length and width of ties have changed from the time they came to be. After World War II, most were made 5 inches wide, but that trend soon faded away and the tie margin dropped to 2.5 inches in width. Today, the tie is commonly 3.5 inches wide, though it’s likely a “grabologist” (the correct name for a tie collector!) will have all.
#7: Ralph Lauren Began by Designing Neckties
Turns out Ralph Lauren might have been a “grabologist”. His fashion designer roots began when he was working as a sales clerk in retail and started designing neckties with a wider cut which he sold at varying department stores. These neckties were branded under the name “Polo.”
#8: Michael Kors Redesigned his Mother’s Wedding Dress
Michael Kors on the other hand began designing at the age of 5, when he redesigned his mother’s wedding dress for her second wedding. He told her to “cut the bows off”! Quite the journey to becoming the billionaire designer he is today.
#9: The Lacoste Logo was one of the First Ever Male Designer Logos
Before those two iconic designers came to be, there was the French superstar tennis player, René Lacoste (also known as “The Crocodile”). He first introduced us to the white tennis polo and embroidered crocodile in 1926, then as a fashion product to buy in 1933, making Lacoste’s crock one of the first ever male designer logos.
#10: Men’s and Women’s Clothes have Buttons on Opposite Sides
Next time you’re buttoning up your Lacoste, take a look at which side the buttons are on the placket. Men’s and women’s clothes have buttons on opposite sides. Why? When buttons were invented as a new technology, they were very expensive which meant they were saved for the wealthy. Given wealthy women had a maid (and most were right-handed), the buttons were placed on the opposite side.
#11: The First Fashion Magazine was Aimed at Men
So where was everyone getting their fashion news from? The first fashion magazine was published in 1672, in France. It was called Le Mercure Galant and aimed at male readers, disseminating the current news, fashion, luxury goods, etiquette and court life of the time. It progressed into reporting on who was wearing what, where and how, sparking fashion trends and the concept of seasonal dressing.
#12: Edward Enninful is the First Man to be Appointed Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue
Finishing our journey back into the current day, Edward Enninful is the first man to be appointed Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue. No surprises given at the age of just 18, he was the youngest fashion director of an international magazine (i-D in 1991).
Inspired to learn more about styling with men’s fashion? Study with us at Australian Style Institute and our courses will teach you the craft, from denim to suits and in between.