The Influence of 1940’s Fashion on Today’s Fashion

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Personal style is a big part of being a well-groomed gentleman. A freshly-shaven face and smart outfit go hand in hand in making a stylish first impression. And fashion always takes cues from the past.

That’s why we’re excited to hand it over to Marie Miguel, a fashion journalist, to give us a fun history lesson about men’s and women’s’ fashion in the 1940s, and how that era still has influence over what we wear today.

Enjoy!

Fashion in the 1940s focused more on comfort than aesthetics. The start of the World War II significantly increased the popularity of utilitarian style. Practical styles were hugely advocated since it was an era of strict rationing and patriotism. With less extravagant pieces of jewelry, embroideries, and heavy fabrics, men and women were able to do their day jobs with ease.

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Katherine Hepburn in wide-legged slacks.

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Typical 1940s day dresses were uniform in nature.

What women wore during wartime 1940s

Unlike women’s fashion in the previous decades, clothing in the 1940s was uniform in nature. Dresses, blouses, and skirts had standard lengths, shapes, and patterns. Squared shoulders, below-the-knee skirts, and narrow hip suits became very popular.

As the female workface increased, women began wearing wide-legged slacks because pants were much easier to work in than a dress or skirt. While initially only worn while working, these slacks transitioned into everyday wear and even became integrated into pants suits. At the height of the war, women were also encouraged to create their own dresses to conserve materials and reduce their clothing expenses.

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What men wore during wartime 1940s

The movie The Aviator starring Leonardo Di Caprio accurately depicts the state of men’s fashion during World War II.

Men wore plain suits in muted colors like black, navy, and tan. Vests, trouser cuffs, and pocket flaps declined in popularity as the need for sturdy clothing such as trousers and shirts made with cotton twill or gabardine started to rise. Additionally, the government mandated specific rules for tailoring: no double-breasted jackets, no slits or buttons on the cuff, and three pockets or less.

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Christian Dior’s “New Look”, circa 1947.

Fashion after the war

When the war ended in the late 1940s, rationing was lifted and men and women gained access to expensive clothing and accessories. Designers could choose from an array of laces, fancy fabrics, and textiles. Hence, the fashion industry regained its glamour and boomed once again. A prime example of post-WWII glamour is Christian Dior’s “New Look” – a long, full circle skirt nipped in the waist, featuring tons of fabric.

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WWII fashion vs. today

Women

Today, women still wear clothes with squared shoulders (without the pads), sports jackets, and knee-length skirts, styles which were quite popular in the 1940s. Utilitarian dresses and skirts are worn to achieve a vintage look. Moreover, the modified version of the wide leg slacks introduced in the same era has become quite popular among celebrities. Often, the slacks are paired with cotton or silk blouses and worn at formal events.

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Men

Suits are still considered de rigueur for formal events and business meetings. But suits have also carried over into street style in recent years. It’s not uncommon to see men wearing blazers and slacks in the streets to achieve a high fashion look. Sans the tie and bow, suits are worn casually and paired with sporty polo shirts and plain t-shirts.

Also important to note: many of the trendy styles both men and women wear today – bomber jackets, trench coats, chinos, and aviator glasses – have their origin in WWII military clothing.

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Inspired Style: Robert Downey Jr.

Robert Downey Jr. has starred in over 83 movies and T.V. shows and has 2 Oscar nominations and 2 Golden Globe wins under his belt.  Starting in the 1970s at the early age of 5 and continuing to this day with his latest hit, Captain America: Civil War, Robert Downey Jr., who is the world’s highest-paid actor, can only be described as prolific.  

c5c11ebc-954e-4d9c-abf9-d4f47d88fea4Whether he’s saving the world as Iron Man or solving mysteries in Victorian era England as Sherlock Holmes, pioneering the beginning of motion pictures as Charlie Chaplin or dressed to the nines for the Monaco Grand Prix, Robert Downey Jr.’s sense of style has always stayed impeccable, evolving and growing with the times regardless of the role he is playing.  

Today let’s learn from the best by taking a look at some of our favorite looks from Robert Downey Jr.’s more recent offerings.  It’s important to note that with some of these looks, the clothing that is worn during filming is a custom rendition made exclusively for the film by costume designers, so in those cases we’ve gone ahead and selected nearly identical, just-as-stylish offerings that are available in stores.

Enjoy!

Outfit 1: The Three-Piece Dinner Suit

As Seen in: Captain America: Civil War

robert_downey_jr_98017Let’s start with the movie Captain America: Civil War. RDJ’s look was already causing some buzz before the movie’s launch when it was seen in pre-launch trailers. The look consists of three major pieces: a timeless black three-piece dinner suit, a red paisley print silk tie, and awesome two-tone sunglasses with custom red-tinted lenses.  The three-piece dinner suit is a classic that has recently seen a resurgence in popularity over the past few seasons.  This suit, in comparison to traditional dinner suits, is quite toned down, as this type of suit is traditionally worn with a bow and features silk striping, as well as more prominent pocket and lapel designs.   

Robert-Downey-Jr-Captain-America-1050x700The suit features a blazer with peak lapels, the traditional option for dinner suits, along with a single rear central vent, and side slit pockets.  This is tied together with a sleeveless waist coat featuring a v-neck and slightly more casual trousers with a straight-legged design.  This formal, somewhat rigid look is extremely fitting for RDJ’s role in the movie, who sides with the government, and we can only speculate that the custom red-tinting of his glasses along with the red tie are subtle nods to his alter ego, Iron Man.  

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Tie   The Glasses

Outfit 2: The Classic Suit & Tie

As Seen in: The Judge

Our next pick is from The Judge. RDJ’s outfit offers up something a little more casual yet without a doubt still sophisticated.   Wearing a classic pinstriped wool twill suit and a colorful two-tone blue and white dress shirt, tied together with a dark blue woven silk tie, this look seems extremely fitting for RDJ’s role as a lawyer.  

the-judge-official-trailer-2014-robert-downey-jr-robert-duvall-movie-hd_7586711-3590_1280x720The blazer features a simple design with narrow lapels and front slit pockets, as well as dual rear vents and a two-button closure.  The trousers are also simple, with a standard straight-legged design. The two-toned dress shirt with white collar and a blue shirt alongside the dark blue silk/cashmere woven tie add a twist to what would regularly be just another businessman’s outfit by offering a touch of Robert Downey Jr.’s trademark playfulness.

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Shirt   The Tie

Outfit 3: The Custom David Augustin Suit

As Seen in: Iron Man 2

Our final pick is from the movie Iron Man 2 – specifically the bar scene in Monaco right before the Monaco Grand Prix.  The actual suit being worn in this scene is a custom-order David Augustin suit, that was actually sold at auction following the filming of the movie.  

Iron Man 2 movie imageThe suit itself is a gray pinstripe design with metallic blue lining inside. The blazer is accented with a narrow lapel, alongside a rear double vent and a two-button closure. The trousers are standard fare, featuring a straight-legged design.  RDJ ties the look together with a blue spread-collar dress shirt and an ornate blue and white silk tie adorned with a floral print.

The result is a formal yet unstuffy look – it demands respect but is still very approachable, and almost playful.  We can also speculate that the lighter blue hue of the suit reflects Tony Stark’s state of mind in the early scenes of the film.

BUY SAME: Custom Order from David Augustin

SHOP SIMILAR: The Suit   The Shirt

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Top 5 Instagrams for all things Wet Shaving

Although many may consider wet shaving to be particularly niche, social media platforms have helped grow appreciation for the art. Instagram, YouTube, and even blogs such as this one allow wet shaving enthusiasts to gather, learn, and most of all, discover the latest and greatest in the world of wet shaving.

Here we have picked our top 5 wet shaving Instagram accounts, from YouTube reviewers and wet shave instructors to world-renowned barbershops and men’s grooming companies. Hopefully this will help you in picking out your next shaving creme, finding a beautiful custom brush, or even just finding like-minded shaving aficionados.

Nick Shaves (@nickshaves)

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@nickshaves

Nick Shaves is a true shaving aficionado and self-described wet shaving instructor, not to mention a YouTube reviewer of all things shaving related. His instructional videos are some of the best we’ve seen, and a great starting point for those looking to get into the complex art of shaving.

Nick also runs one of the best wet shaving Instagram accounts around, with great pictures of all the latest and greatest pucks, cremes, brushes, and razors. Not to mention that all of his pictures include his own in-depth insights into the products being used. We believe his Instagram is a great resource for anyone who is interested in the world of wet shaving.

Brushcraft (@brushcraft)

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@brushcraft

A relatively small Instagram handle, but nonetheless one of our personal favorites. Chris Trimble creates his own absolutely beautiful brushes and safety razors, regularly showcasing them on his Instagram page. That isn’t all he does, though. Chris also regularly posts reviews on wet shaving items that catch his interest and will even answer questions relating to them in the comments. Chris’ Instagram page is another place we would recommend to anyone who shaves using a brush and puck.

Tony Shaves (@tonyshaves)

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@tonyshaves

Another relatively small but great Instagram page for those into a good shave. Tony regularly posts great compositions of what he’s been shaving with, along with generally in-depth reviews containing his personal insights into the products. Tony runs this alongside his wet shaving review site bartonio.com, but his Instagram posts tend to give a quicker, bite-sized overview of the products he’s reviewing.

Bullfrog Barbershop (@bullfrog_barbershop)

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@bullfrog_barbershop

Founded by Romana Brida, Bullfrog is a traditional style barber shop located in both Milan and Zurich. Brida’s Instagram isn’t strictly shaving related, but more of an overall look into the world of men’s grooming. That being said, a lot of his pictures have to do with wet shaving. His photos are great and offer insight into the latest trends in both men’s fashion and men’s grooming – two things that should definitely go hand in hand.

Brooklyn Grooming (@brooklyngrooming)

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@brooklyngrooming

Based out of New York and founded by Mckenzie and Alfredo, this Instagram is one of the best in men’s grooming and wet shaving. The page features a wide array of beautiful photos, all pertaining to men’s grooming and sometimes men’s fashion, with the occasional post on architecture around the city of New York. This Instagram also has many great pictures of the latest in the world of shaving. Brooklyn Grooming is a handle we would recommend to anyone who is into men’s grooming or fashion.

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The Grooming Artist News Roundup: January 2016

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The first week back from the holidays can be rough, but we guarantee these stories will give you a nice little distraction. We start off the New Year with controversy in the shaving industry, with Gillette suing Dollar Shave Club over infringing on a patent. There’s also a bit of sadness in the industry as well, as we’ve lost one of modern wet shaving’s pioneers.

If you’re looking to clean up your facial hair for 2016, we’ve got two guides that’ll keep your face and neck looking revitalized. And in case your New Year’s resolution is to hit the gym more, we’ve got advice on that, too.

Enjoy!

Watch 100 years of male vs. female fashion in a little over 2 minutes. (Details)

Trouble in the shaving industry: Gillette is suing Dollar Shave Club, alleging the startup infringed on a Gilette razor patent. (The Washington Post)

Every winter, beards hit their stride as men seek in them that hybrid of warmth and style. But no need to give in to the trend if you’re clean-shaven – in fact, it may be better for your skin when it’s nippy outside. Here’s why. (GQ)

Different ways of shaving your face for the business world. (Sharpologist)

The first part of our guide to shaving your neck, one of the most troublesome spots for wet shavers. (The Grooming Artist)

If your New Year’s resolution involves losing weight, here’s how to actually stick to a gym routine. (GQ)

R.I.P. Charles Roberts, one of the pioneers of modern wet shaving. (Sharpologist)

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