Fascinating fashion facts to make you sound like a genius

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

 

We’re all about peace, love and goodwill, but it runs a little dry after we’ve had the saaaame chat 10 times at five holiday gatherings. Once you’ve covered the weather (‘OMG snow/eek, global warming’), the traffic/the trains (‘Gargh, it took me 13 hours to get home last night’), and holiday plans (‘I don’t even like turkey’), you come dangerously close to hitting the Awkward Silence.

But fret not, fashion fans, because we’ve found some interesting fashion-related facts that are not just fascinating, but make great conversation starters. Hopefully. Memorize, repeat, charm at every party you go to.

giphy

Why do Louboutin shoes have red soles?

giphy

Stiletto obsessives know that a red sole is the signature of Italian designer Christian Louboutin. The guy has always had flair, thanks to his start in Paris’s cabarets, but those soles weren’t always so bright.

In 1993, the brand was only 2 years old and struggling, as the rookie designer hadn’t managed to get his second collection out to stores on time. (So much for being fashionably late.) One day, Louboutin noticed a savvy assistant painting her nails scarlet. He snatched the bottle and applied the polish to the sole of a prototype shoe, and boom, bang, kaching, an icon was born.

Read more here.

 

Blue jeans are from California, via France

tenor

Jeans are now a staple in most Americans’ closets, but they didn’t start out here.

Fun name fact: denim supposedly gets its name from ‘serge de Nimes’ meaning ‘serge from Nimes’. Serge is a type of tough, cotton-like fabric, and Nimes was the French village first famous for producing it (although the French may have taken serge from the Italians.)

The first blue denim jeans in America were made by Levi Strauss (yes, that Levi Strauss), a German immigrant who owned a hardware store in San Francisco. It was 1853, and Strauss was catering to the tough goldminers, who needed seriously hardworking gear for all that digging and sieving and general Wild West-style debauchery.

tenor

He teamed up with a tailor called Jacob Davis, and the pair started making pants from different sturdy fabrics which they riveted together with copper, eventually settling on denim, dyed blue with indigo since this was cheap, washed well, and hid dirt.

In 1873, Strauss and Davis patented their strategic riveting practice, in which they placed copper rivets at weak points in the pants to hold them together. At the time, they called them ‘waist-high overalls’ rather than jeans. However, they made a slight modification to the design, removing the rivet in the crotch only after one of the company’s bigwigs wore his Levi’s to a campfire and got a little too close to the flames…

Read more here.

 

The cardigan was originally worn into battle

Cardigans now are a symbol of coziness, associated most commonly with grannies, ’50s movies, and nerds. But the cardigan got its start, and its name, from the battlefield.

In the Crimean War (1853-1856), a British military leader called James Brudenell rode into the Battle of Balaclava wearing a long sleeved, cropped, fitted, collarless jacket. He apparently abandoned his troops and hot-footed it the hell outta there, but he still went home a hero (fake news isn’t new), and his choice of attire also caught on. But how about that name? His title was the Earl of Cardigan.

giphy

By the way, we can thank Vogue for making it ladieswear. In 1908, they borrowed what was then a men’s coat and sold it to the growing ranks of ladies playing golf and tennis. Later on, Coco Chanel, who had a hand in everything, reinvented it in soft jersey, and added a matching skirt. The mix-and-matchness caught on and here we are.

tenor

Read more here.

 

Diamond engagement rings have not been around forever

All those smug engagement photos might have you convinced otherwise, but diamonds have only become the jewel of choice for hopeful proposers in the last century.
Back in medieval days, men would give their future brides some kind of jewelry (this was pre-same sex marriage) and she would give him a garter (ooh, so sexy) but it didn’t have to be a ring, and it was probably not a diamond.

tenor

Although the practice of giving expen$ive engagement rings became increasingly popular in the 1910s and ‘20s, it wasn’t until the 1940s that diamond became the standard jewel. This was thanks to a diamond company called De Beers (yes, that De Beers). The Great Depression had really kicked their sales, since people were too busy trying to buy food to be worrying about diamonds. In 1946, they hired New York ad agency N. W. Ayer to rebrand them, Peggy Olson-style, and boy did they do it.

giphy

They hired Hollywood stars and socialites to show off and namedrop De Beer diamond rings, sent preachers to tell high school students about the merits of a diamond ring in a proposal, and in 1947, copywriter Frances Gerety came up with ‘A Diamond Is Forever’, a slogan that promises not just everlasting love but value for money. Thanks to this consistent brainwashing effort, a diamond is now the expected jewel in an engagement ring – and for the next 60 years, De Beers held a monopoly on the market.

Read more here.

 

Mark Twain accidentally invented the bra clasp

If the name Mark Twain brings back bad memories of reading his work in lit class, we have a surprising detail that may put him in your good books – or cause you to hate him even more, depending on your finger dexterity.

Mark Twain, making a case for the walrus mustache

In 1871, Samuel Clemens (that’s Twain’s real name) filed a patent for an elastic strap that held together loose garments with a hook and clasp. It was meant to be detachable, so you could fix it to all the clothes you had that could possibly need adjusting. Although Twain specifically intended it for ‘vests, pantaloons, or other garments requiring straps’, it’s actually found its home fastening the back of the bra. You’re welcome/sorry about that.

tenor

Read more here:

 

Winston Churchill popularized rompers

giphy

Yes, another old white dude had a massive impact on what’s now become a women’s wear staple. Churchill was Prime Minister of Great Britain through World War II, and known for his eccentric ways. It was also during this time that rompers became popular.

giphy

Jumpsuits were already around, favored by pilots, but the item known as a romper was a direct result of the war.

Between September 7 1940 and May 10 1941, Britain was bombed by Nazi forces, a period known as the Blitz. When bomber planes were spotted overhead, air raid sirens would sound, and everyone would have to run to shelters, often in the middle of the cold night. The siren suit, which resembles a onesie, was designed as an easy-to-grab all-in-one garment that provided some level of warmth and coverage, while also not using up too much fabric, since that was rationed.

So everyday people loved the siren suit, but Churchill was its most famous and surprising advocate. In particular, he favored a green velvet design, and one with pinstripes. His family nicknamed his suits ‘rompers’ as he would romp around the house in them. He also took to meeting important military leaders in it, carrying it off as only Churchill could.

Read more here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Written by

LEAVE A COMMENT

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.