Week of June 20, 2021

All Dressed Up


Tuxedos are named for Tuxedo Park, a New York resort where the outfit was introduced to high-society attendees. However, the tailor of Edward VII, Prince of Wales, originated of the design.


The uniform of Croatian mercenaries hired by King Louis XIV in the 1630s is credited for inspiring the necktie, which was adopted by the French before it eventually spread around the world and remains a businesswear standard to this day. In fact, “cravate,” the French word for necktie, derives from the French word for Croation.


High heels began as a practical men’s fashion, helping 10th century Persian soldiers stand steadily in stirrups while launching arrows and spears from horseback. Centuries later, high heels became a status symbol among European men, and Louis XIV (involved in this fashion also!) adored his opulent high heels. It wasn’t until the 19th century that high heels were exclusively associated with women.


Earrings are among the oldest known pieces of personal adornment / body piercing known to humans. Signifying different things in different times and cultures through the centuries (wealth, status, profession, fashion, etc.) earrings have been worn by men and women for thousands of years. The body of “Otzi the Iceman,” a preserved Copper Age man from over 5,000 years ago, had pierced ears.


Lipstick is another adornment which has been around a long time, going back about 5,000 years to Mesopotamia, or modern day Iraq. Like earrings, however, the significance of lipstick has varied widely by region and time period.


The modern sport jacket, now worn by men and women alike, started with the Duke of Norfolk in the 1860s. This “Norfolk Jacket” was indeed worn for sport shooting, with pockets for ammunition and a design to accommodate mobility while hunting.


Seersucker suits, narrowly striped and made from thin cotton, are popular in the American south and other warm locales. The name is actually an adaptation of “shir shakar” or “milk and sugar” in Hindustani. The alternating smooth and bumpy stripes of the suit are named for the smooth appearance of milk and bumpy texture of sugar.