Men’s Clothing, and How Men Used Their Fashion and Appearance to Construct Their Masculine Identity, as Well as Their Social Class

2137 Words Mar 23rd, 2012 9 Pages
Accordingly, the rhetoric of men’s fashion takes the form of a set of denials that include the following propositions: that there is no men’s fashion; that men dress for fit and comfort, rather than for style; that women dress men and buy clothes for men; that men who dress up are peculiar; that men do not notice clothes, and that most men have not been duped into the endless pursuit of seasonal fads. (Craik, 1994: 176) Finkelstein once noted: ‘In contemporary society, a frequent complaint is that men are left out of the fashion rush’ (1996: 61). However, in fact, men’s fashion changed regularly, and there were numerous types of jackets, trousers, cravats, ties, and hats that provided plenty of material for asserting or maintaining …show more content…
Despite that, to middle or lower classes, as they could not afford the expensive fabric, they have their own way to immitate the dress code: calicos and cottons were treated to look like silk in order to produce the aristocratic style clothing (Williams, 1982). During the mid-eighteenth century, whilst it is believed that the aristocrat fashions (i.e. breeches, pantaloons, stockings) had become the mainstream dress norms, however, surprisingly, the basis of men’s wardrobes became the suit although the jackets were still very full with coat skirts, and the rousers were knee-length breeches; moreover, the suits became plainer but still elaborate (Craik, 1994). To some extent, this was perhaps due to the previous aristocratic style had lost its appeals in the process of popularization, therefore people turned to adopt a newer style. Steele (1985, 98-99) described this trend as a trickle-up phenomenon, since the plainness was based on the clothing of working-class men but gradually became the standard dress for men of all classes. After that, Steele (1985) argued there was a battle between men’s fashions that accompanied the growth of civil society and the gradual erosion of aristocratic power and prestige in Europe. The aristocrats tried to reinforce the social hierarchies and to differentiate themselves from the bourgeoisies by wearing their Macaronis’ shoes with buckles or bows, light silk stockings, accessories, nosegays, neck chiefs tied in a bow,

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