The history
of men's shirt II

21/03/2021

Shirt tips
for every day of the week.

You have already learned the style of an Egyptian gentleman who won the hearts of women in an elegant linen shirt. You have already heard that the Christians treated it like an unwanted gift and demoted to the role of ... underwear! Now it is time to take a closer look at the fashion for lace collars, puffed sleeves and to finally meet in person the dandy, who is standing behind the creation of the famous polo shirts with the crocodile on the chest. Are you ready?

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Further metamorphosis

 

In the fifteenth century, the cut of the shirt underwent further modifications. People began to pay particular attention to those parts of the shirt, which protruded from the upper layers of clothing, i.e. the cuffs and the collar. Initially low, at that time the latter almost reached the ears. What distinguished the true masters of elegance at the time? The decorations on the fabric. The more decorated the shirt, the more refined the gentleman was, therefore they began to embroider and decorate it with laces. The sleeves grew to enormous proportions. They were more puffed and in the narrowings, bows made of decorative ribbons were fastened. Oh yes. By these elements you could recognize not only a dandy, but a real rich man! Today, such a gentleman would undoubtedly arouse much controversy. Interestingly, the zero-waste  trend was already noticeable at the time - the richly decorated collars and cuffs were often torn off an old, ruined shirt and sewn into the new one. A clever patent, wasn’t it? This practice has led to creating shirts with detachable elements.

 

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To the higher level

 

The seventeenth and eighteenth century was the period of time when fashion gained the rank of almost the most important element of social etiquette and reached the highest level of sophistication. The stylings from the seventeenth-century French parlors outshined with their abstractness the contemporary performances of even the most daring fashion designers.But don't let that fool you - this was also the era when they were somewhat at odds with the hygiene. The culmination of the trend was the origin of the neck-cloth - a detachable front of the shirt, which could be easily replaced without the need to wash the whole shirt. As time went on,  however, the neck-clothes became increasingly decorative, as open-front jackets and vests came into fashion.

 

Still underwear but without laces

 

The nineteenth century brought a breeze of minimalism into men's fashion. For the shirts it was a metamorphosis towards the contemporary direction - the laces, pleats, ruffles, puffed sleeves and the neck-cloth were removed. The shirts only differed in the shapes of the collars and cuts. Unfortunately, they were still (horror of horrors!) treated as underwear. In the fashion magazines published in the mid-nineteenth century it was explained that neat and clean underwear (which meant nothing but a shirt!) was the highest form of elegance. But over the years, they began to experiment slowly with different colors and materials. Thus, the whiskered men from the Wild West are responsible for creating the flannel checkered shirts whereas the Hawaiian shirts were discovered by the hippies. Still... you cannot forget about the beautiful ladies, who adopted shirts as a permanent part of their wardrobe. Mainly thanks to Coco Chanel, who discovered that the man's shirt and trousers are a definitely more comfortable attire than women's corsets and long dresses. It is hard to disagree. I guess there is probably no better sight than a beautiful woman in a perfectly tailored and fitted suit. Well, there is! A woman in a man's shirt and we've already established that at the very beginning.

 

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The first polo shirt with the crocodile tab

 

Over time the shirts have evolved into a simpler and more convenient form. A talented tennis player and inventor, well-known for his hard-working - René Lacoste  - contributed to this. In addition to his work on developing a a special machine for throwing balls, he also dealt with the subject of the athlete's comfort on the tennis court. And it was thanks to him, in 1929, that the first polo shirt was created. After finishing his career as a tennis player, he founded the company signed with his name and took up mass production of sportswear. Despite numerous cultural and social changes, the design of his shirt, especially the white one, has retained its elegant and timeless character. Matched with fitted trousers, it adds a gentlemanly style and self-confidence. Certainly, it is also a symbol of class and style.

 

Men's shirt had a good crossing, to be in the place where it is now. However, this is the item of clothing which makes a man a true gentleman. You had no chance to get to know the underwear story of a shirt? Read it here: PART I.