Fashion trends come and go with each passing season but come what may, there are always going to be certain staples you can’t do without. Classics like jeans, a button down shirt or a blazer are timeless, versatile and always on-trend. But there was a time when these weren’t always the accessible wardrobe staples they are to be today. We chart the history of your favourite pieces, so you know how they came to be the iconic pieces they now are.
The Little Black Dress
In the 1800s, the black dress was known to be a garment for mourners. However, it was in the 1900s when Coco Chanel introduced the LBD, which soon became an essential to complete a woman’s wardrobe. It was known to be the dress that would be accessible and that could be worn by all women. It also gained immense fame when Audrey Hepburn was seen wearing the famous little black dress by Givenchy in Breakast At Tiffany’s.
Though the design changed over the years, the LBD is still known for it’s versatility and has now become every woman’s go-to outfit.
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In the 19th century, the members of the Lady Margaret Boat Club at Cambridge University were seen in a jacket made from scarlet cloth. They were worn to keep the rowers warm during chilly training sessions as well as to distinguish themselves from the rest. In 1952, the bright red cloth gave rise to the term – ‘blazer’ which is now more than just a fashion essential. It’s versatile, durable and can be worn as a separate to add just the right amount of style to a smart-casual outfit.
It was in the 6th century that trousers were first worn while horse back riding. As compared to robes, trousers or pants as they were initially called, were viewed as ideal, comfortable and practical. However, the design and fitting changed over the years. It was only in the 19th century when Edward VII – the eldest son of Queen Victoria – started wearing fitted trousers with a permanent crease like we see today, did pants become the norm. Elizabeth Smith Miller is known to be the first woman who wore pants. Though pants were looked down upon, the trend was followed by many other women, who were active in the women’s rights movement.
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The jeans that we wear today were first introduced by Jacob Davis and Levi Strauss in 1873. The need for sturdy pants that could withstand hard work led to the idea of adding metal rivets at points of strain and thus, the famous jeans were born. Initially known as ‘waist overalls’, it was only in the 1900s when the name ‘jeans’ became popular. From being the ideal work uniform to entering the world of fashion, jeans have quite a colourful history.
The Button Down Shirt
Seen as the go-to pick when it comes to work wear, the the button down collared shirt as we know it was introduced by John Brooks of the Brooks Brothers brand in 1896 when he visited an English Polo game and noticed that polo players’ collars were buttoned down to their shirts so that they stayed in place during the game. It was then that the button down collared shirt was invented and manufactured.
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