British menswear heritage

english gentleman style on catwalk photo  source

My blog is about women's clothes and accessories. But now and then I do like to write about men's clothing too, usually it is something unusual - like unique headdresses of the men of India or intricately embroidered costumes of the Guatemala men - that attracts my attention and inspires me to write an article. And after quite some time today is a post dedicated to men again. The post was inspired by a heritage graphic of a 300-year history of British menswear that was sent to me recently by T.M.Lewin. The graphic features main man clothing inventions that originated in Britain and have influenced the world. As it turns out there are plenty of them. Look, there are so many familiar things on the graphic: the bowler hat and the fedora, the brogue and the trench coat, lounge suits and the button-up shirts .

So, how did it all start? Until the mid-eighteenth century the main influence on clothing styles came from the court of France. Men wore silks and satins, lace ruffles, silk stockings and powdered wigs. In the mid-18th century, however, leadership in men's fashion shifted from France to England and a definable British style began to emerge. In Britain the nobility liked to spend a good part of the year on their country estates rather then at court. Life in the countryside with hunting, shooting and other outdoor activities required practicality, movability, durability and warmth in clothes and this is where many British innovations came from: the frock coat, the riding coat and Wellington boots, for example .

George "Beau" Brummell, watercolor by Richard Dighton (1805) source

The one who established the basics of what was to become "the English gentleman's style" was Beau Brummel, the trendiest trendsetter in the history of trendsetting. His influence on men's fashion was immense and his ideas were novel for the time in which he lived. He dramatically changed the minds of men in regard to the rules of how men should dress. He is credited with introducing and bringing to fashion the ensemble of jacket, trousers, waistcoat, shirt and tie that is still popular and worn throughout the world for business and formal occasions.
For over 300 years, British menswear has been a source of style and innovation and its influence can be seen today on the streets and catwalks throughout the world.

*this was not a sponsored post


  1. Wow!!! That was interesting to read!I didn't know all this about menswear. I like the traditional British way of dressing, I especially like the first photo in the post. Thank you for sharing !!! :) :) :)

  2. Fabulous post. My hubby Philip enjoyed reading it
    Lynn x

  3. Very interesting to read it! Yes, the British nobility always loved their sports and hunting...Fascinating how their habit of spending time outdoors inspired so many clothing items we love and know today.