On this day in history….15th October 1666

On this day in history : 15th October 1666 – Samuel Pepys records in his diary that King Charles II intends to make the waistcoat part of the correct formal attire of English noblemen….

Pepys wrote…. “the King hath yesterday in council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes which he will never alter. It will be a vest”….

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English man’s waistcoat, circa 1760 – Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Public domain

King Charles had recently been restored to the English throne and wanted to distance his Court from the 17th Century French style…. Travellers returning from Persia brought back with them the idea of the ‘vest’…. The warmer Eastern climate did not require a full jacket – a similar kind of vest called a ‘Bandi’ was worn in India…. The fashion for men in Britain at the time was for long coats but was to become influenced by Eastern styles with stiff collars, vests and doublets….

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Coat and waistcoat circa 1750 – Los Angeles County Museum of Art – Public domain

The term ‘waistcoat’ most probably came about as the new style was quite literally cut to the waist…. The Americans still refer to the garment as a ‘vest’….

Men’s clothing was very elaborate during the Renaissance period – silk, satin, lace and trimmings…. Colour was vibrant; dye being incredibly expensive meant the richer the hues the wealthier the wearer…. Waistcoats were often the centre of the outfit – brightly coloured and highly decorated…. This trend continued throughout the 18th and 19th centuries – but towards the end of the 1800s it began to evolve into becoming part of the business suit – rarely would a businessman be seen without one…. From the mid 20th century it essentially became an optional part of the business suit and so to some extent its popularity declined….

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Man’s court coat and waistcoat, circa 1800 – David Jackson CC BY-SA 2.0

Nowadays, although still worn when dressing to impress, or at formal occasions such as weddings, the waistcoat is often worn with more casual clothing – such as jeans and a t-shirt….

It is also customary to wear a waistcoat with the bottom button left undone…. Another King can be attributed for this particular trend…. Edward VII was so chubby that he was unable to do the button up – thus setting a fashion that is still with us today….

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Image via Pinterest : Source Gentleman’s Gazette

On this day in history….19th March 1965

On this day in history : 19th March 1965 – An article is published in the Tailor and Cutter magazine asking the Rolling Stones to start wearing ties – to save the tie makers from financial ruin….

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The Rolling Stones at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol – 1964

“With position comes responsibility. It is a thought we recommend to the Rolling Stones…. We would urge pop stars everywhere to give at least passing consideration to the financial straits in which the manufacturers are likely to find themselves if the next generation goes eternally open-necked”…. ~ Tailor and Cutter magazine….

Mick Jagger responded with the quip ~ “The trouble with the tie is that it could dangle in the soup”….

Taylor and Cutter was a dedicated magazine for the tailoring world and had been started by a passionate, wild haired and bearded Scotsman named John Williamson in 1866…. The first edition of the publication demanded better working conditions for the craftsman of the industry….

Williamson moved to London later that same year and saw there was an opportunity for a regular publication….communicating current trends and technical information to the tailoring community and its associated trades…. Two publications were launched ~ ‘The Tailor’ and ‘The Cutter’ ~ covering news from the world of tailoring, pictures of the latest fashions and creations, articles and advertisements – from tailor’s chalk to cloth merchants…. Williamson launched his magazines in September 1866 with the financial backing of wealthy benefactor Angelica Patience Fraser…. Soon the two publications merged into one….

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Via Wikimedia – A file donated by Nordiska Museet as part of the Europeana Fashion Collaboration – Public domain

With the belief that tailors should strive to better themselves Williamson wrote in 1869…. “Our mission is to put a superior class of literature dealing with the science and art of the trade into the hands of every tailor”…. From 1884 a separate journal for women’s tailoring was published….

By the 1960s men’s attire had become far more casual….suits, collars and ties tending to be kept for the office and formal occasions…. An even bigger threat to the tie being the popularity of the polo neck and the leisure shirt…. Ready to wear, off the peg tailoring meant there became a large drop in readership of Tailor and Cutter…. So it was in 1972 that the final edition was printed…. Meanwhile the tie still has its place in nearly every man’s wardrobe….

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1960s Neckties – Made of silk or Dacron polyester…. Image credit: CG Hughes via Flickr