It is entirely likely that prehistoric footwear consisted primarily of tree bark, plant leaves, or animal hides tied around the bottom of the foot simply to provide protection against rocks and rough terrain. In fact, many relief paintings from Egyptian times depict fine-looking sandals of interlacing palms and papyrus leaves worn by royalty along the order of Tutankhamen. Eventually leather, which is pliable, durable, and was easy for man to obtain, became the dominant material used in footwear. As it is a living substance and therefore breathes, it allows air to circulate freely about the feet, adding appreciably to the comfort of the wearer.
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It is entirely likely that prehistoric footwear consisted primarily of tree bark, plant leaves, or animal hides tied around the bottom of the foot simply to provide protection against rocks and rough terrain. In fact, many relief paintings from Egyptian times depict fine-looking sandals of interlacing palms and papyrus leaves worn by royalty along the order of Tutankhamen. Eventually leather, which is pliable, durable, and was easy for man to obtain, became the dominant material used in footwear.
As it is a living substance and therefore breathes, it allows air to circulate freely about the feet, adding appreciably to the comfort of the wearer. Historically, the lower classes continued to wear sandals while those of higher position and rank chose to wear intricately designed slippers. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, however, the pendulum had begun to swing the other way, as shoes took on a more functional look. Styles became rigid, almost clumsy; colors vanished; and footwear was, for the most part, to be found only in black and brown leathers.
In this country, Massachusetts quickly established itself as the shoemaking center of the Colonies. Thomas Beard, who settled in Salem soon after arriving on the Mayflower in , is widely considered the pioneer of the American shoe industry.
Following his lead, other craftsmen set up shop in many of the small towns surrounding Salem. The industry grew, and by , nearly thirteen thousand pairs of shoes were being exported each year by Massachusetts shoemakers to the other Colonies. Up until the middle of the nineteenth century, shoes were slowly and painstakingly produced by hand.
In the meantime, footwear fashions ran the gamut from slippers to boots, which became popular in the early part of the nineteenth century. There were boots with spring heels, developed in , and there were boots with no heels at all, popular in the middle part of the century.
Boots began to fade from the scene somewhat just before the turn of the century, at about the same time that the rubber heel was first introduced. During the first twenty-five years of this century, shoes were rather dull and lackluster. But by the time the s rolled around footwear with more style and imagination began to make a long-awaited comeback. American manufacturers copied styles of English custom shoemakers, who were turning out new models every few months.
Brogues became popular and once again color was added to footwear, with black-and-white "co-respondent" shoes that is, shoes with contrasting colors. From the s to the s a wide variety of shoes existed, yet styles did not change much from year to year and one simply wore shoes until they were no longer in good enough condition to be worn any longer. The choices were mind-boggling: platform shoes; sleek, pointed English mod shoes of wild, iridescent colors; boots, from cowboy to hiking to frontier styles; and sneakers.
Italian shoes - sleek and lightweight styles produced to go with the European cut suits - flooded the market and immediately became a favorite of the American man. Today the choice remains wide as to the kind of shoe a man can wear. There are men who wear practically nothing but sneakers or running shoes, while others enjoy the opportunity to change styles with each business and social engagement. Hosiery, stockings, or leggings began simply as a binding or wrapping of the legs in order to provide protection.
In Europe during the Middle Ages, people tied coarse cloth or skins around their legs, holding them up at the knees by the use of garters. By the eleventh century, when breeches were shortened to the knee, the lower leg was covered by a fitted cloth known as "chausses" or "hose" probably derived from the Old English hosa. At the time America was first colonized, early settlers were wearing heavy homespun woolen stockings in russets, blues, browns, and gray-greens.
For the most part, styles in hosiery closely mirrored the styles being worn back in Europe, with the wealthier Colonial dressers able to afford hosiery of fine silk. By this time, trousers had made their descent to just above the tops of the shoes, and as a result, hose was shortened accordingly. Over the next few decades, due to a need for extra warmth and comfort, hose length extended up, over the calf of the leg, and became known as the "sock" probably from the Latin soccus, which was a light covering for the foot.
It was also during this period that sports hose in knitted wool, mixtures of wool and silk, and wool and cotton gained in popularity. This interest in patterns continued until the s, at which time synthetic yarn for hosiery was introduced, permitting the manufacture of stretch hosiery, one-size-fits-all.
Combined with the newfound interest in patterned trousers, solid hose regained popularity and fancy hose faded from the fashion scene. The industry has yet to recover. While today more patterns and colors are available for sports hosiery, a man looking for stylish dress hosiery has his work cut out for him.
As George Frazier often remarked, "Wanna know if a guy is well-dressed? Look down. No variety, just something I could wear with everything Whatever it is you wear, I think shoes are terribly important. They reveal a good deal about the person wearing them. A man who buys fine leather shoes today shows that he respects quality, that he has confidence in his taste and in his future.
Like other items of quality apparel, a well-made pair of shoes will give years of fine service if they are properly cared for.
They must be of a design, however, that remains stylish through the years. Eric Lobb, the great-grandson of the legendary English bootmaker John Lobb, discusses the criteria that go into the construction of a well-made shoe in his book the Last Must Come First.
The last is the wooden form around which a shoe is made; hence it also determines the shape of the shoe itself. Examine first the last, or the shape of the shoe. The foot is not a particularly attractive feature of the anatomy, and a well-styled shoe will work to diminish its ungainliness by making it appear sleek and smaller. Think of the way a glove fits the hand: there are no excess bulges or gaps. A shoe should be cut similarly: no bulbous toes or crevices in front, a smooth line of leather following closely along the instep down to the edge of the toe.
A custom-made shoe is designed to follow the shape of the foot so closely that the outside line and sole are curved like the foot , while the inside, instead of being symmetrical, follows an almost straight line. A last of this sort in a ready-made shoe is a sign of elegance and knowledge on the part of the manufacturer. The sole must also work to lighten the effect of the shoe. A heavy weighted sole or double soles on a shoe make the foot appear thick and inelegant. The double-soled shoes that many businessmen wear today, either in a heavy-grain leather or with wing-tip perforations, were marketed after World War II by manufacturers who based their design on army issue.
These shoes really seem more appropriate for storming an enemy camp than for strolling along a city street. Look for a shoe with a sole no thicker than one-quarter inch. The heels should be low and follow the line of the shoe; they should not be designed as lifts. Most important, both sole and heel should be clipped close to the edge of the shoe with no obvious welt around the outside.
Used chiefly for fine-quality wing-tips, cap-toes, and brogues, the welt is that narrow strip of leather stitched to the shoe upper and insole. The sole of the shoe is stitched to the welt, which gives the shoe a sturdiness and allows it to be resoled. In less expensive shoes, the sole is cemented to the upper. The vamp is what one sees most on a shoe. It is the piece of leather that covers the top of the foot.
By keeping this piece of leather low on the instep a short vamp , the front of the shoe will appear shorter, making the entire foot seem smaller. This deaccentuation of length gives the foot a sleeker look.
Naturally, the vamp should not be cut so low that the shoe can easily fall off. In sum, a man should look to purchase only those shoes that have a small, well-shaped toe; thin, closely clipped soles and heels; and a vamp that is short enough to maintain a refined look. The finest makers of shoes today are the English and the Italians, but for the updated American style of dress, only the English-style shoes though they may be made in either Italy or America should be worn.
This is so for two good reasons. First, the shape of the updated American-style clothing is on the fuller side, and thus the shoe ought to be on the fuller side as well, if for no other reason than that of balance. Also, the updated American-style clothing uses fabric of greater weight and texture, and it is therefore necessary that the shoe correspond to these elements. Italian shoes are trim-lined and lightweight, made to go with the European-cut suit, and as a result are totally inappropriate to the American style of dress.
The fine calfskin uppers are glued to the leather soles with no welts and no inner soles to encumber the sleek look. They are made almost completely by hand with a craftsmanship and finesse that is unequaled elsewhere. The qualities of strength and durability that had made their boots legendary during the war were now build into shoes for the consumer. Unlike people in Italy, where the climate is generally dry and warm, the English have always had to contend with the worst elements of rain and cold.
Their shoes were thus constructed of heavier skin that was not glued to the sole but sewn with a leather welt. British manufacturers, moreover, inserted a second leather sole - a middle sole between the outer sole and the inner - to make the shoes even more durable. All this interest in protection and durability gives the British shoe and its American offspring a fuller, more solid and substantial, look - the perfect balance for the updated American style of clothing.
This is not to advocate heavy, cloddy shoes, however. To the contrary: shoes should look neither too heavy nor too light. Nor should the style and color make them look too contrived. As for shoe styles, there are approximately seven that tradition and good taste dictate as appropriate for business wear, and a man concerned with taste and style would do well to choose from among them.
This lace-up shoe comes in black and various shades of brown. It is to be worn only with business suits of worsteds or flannels. In Boston it is considered perfectly proper to wear a highly polished brown version of this shoe with a navy suit, whereas in London it would be construed to be in poor taste to wear this combination.
The Wing-Tip Shoe The traditional wing-tip or brogue shoe is a fine alternative to either the plain or the medallion cap-toe. It should be worn only in black, brown, or cordovan, and because of its heavy broguing, its wear can be expanded to include suits made with more textured fabrics, such as tweeds, cheviots, and flannels.
The Slip-On Shoe or Dress Loafer Slip-ons or Loafers have practically taken over the shoe industry because young men appreciate the convenience they offer. Yet much of what is worn today is of Italian style derivation and is much too sleek and lightweight for American-style suits. The simple slip-on, designed with understatement and using the shape and a version of the toe detail of the cap-toe or wing-tip style, should in no way be confused with the Gucci-style Loafer, for instance.
This style shoe, with its identifiable gold or silver buckle, is far too casual and is thus inappropriate to be worn with the dressy business suit. The Monk-Strap Shoe The monk-strap is a plain-toed, side-buckled shoe whose design was originally European. It is available in black or brown calf or chocolate-brown suede. Its plain front balances the sportiness of its design, thus giving it a wide range of sartorial applications.
First popularized in the s by European custom shoemakers, it is for the man who appreciates a little extra panache. The suede version made by Church is an enduring classic. The Suede Shoe Unlike the Duke of Windsor, suede shoes were considered proper only for country attire.
Style and the Man by Alan Flusser - PDF free download eBook
In this newly abridged and updated edition of Style and the Man, Flusser shares his vast knowledge of mens clothes and provides essential information for anyone interested in savvy attire. This elegantly written treatise will arm any man with a connoisseurs knowledge of the dos and donts of buying and wearing quality clothes and how much they should cost, from dinnerwear to casual sportswear. This book is also a veritable encyclopedia on individualizing questions about fabric, quality, and fit, as well as the appreciable and qualitative distinctions between clothes of different prices and makes. All a man has to do is tuck this book into a corner of his suitcase or back pocket, and hell be armed with an insiders knowledge of how to guide the tailor or salesperson in fitting or choosing those clothes that will become long-term players in his maturing wardrobe and personal style. This time is necessary for searching and sorting links. One button - 15 links for downloading the book "Style and the Man" in all e-book formats!
THE FINER POINTS
Even though the author may write better books, that first one just sits better with you as you know it was made when the author was hungry and he had less of a budget. You can tell he had to use creativity instead of money — and he results are unique and refreshing. Despite being three decades old it is still a standard-setter for anyone who wants to talk about menswear. It is an excellent resource for the specific measurements that men need to understand to get a good fit. The drawings are particularly helpful for taking complicated explanations and turning them into obvious examples of good and bad fit or style.
Clothes and the Man | The Principles of Fine Men’s Dress | Video Book Review
Even our presidents were not immune, as a sartorially splendid George Washington appeared at his first Inaugural wearing a brocade jacket, lace shirt, silver appointments, and high-heeled shoes with diamond buckles. However, as the country changed, so did clothing styles. With the emphasis on democracy and the glorification of the common man, clothing became less ornate, less ostentatious. By the time Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated, he followed the fashion of his time by taking the oath wearing a plain blue coat, drab colored waistcoat, green velveteen breeches with pearl buttons, yarn stockings, and slippers. At the turn of this century, menswear was still heavily influenced by the Victorian era, as reflected in suits which at times resembled an extension of the upholstered look of the Victorian furniture popular in American homes in the period.
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