From Fleece to Fashion

A man's wardrobe timeline 1850 - 2007

From Muttonchops to Man Bags!

  • 1850s
    John Barran starts the ready-made clothing industry in Leeds
    - Full beards and 'muttonchop' sideburns become fashionable, after soldiers start wearing facial hair to cope with the cold during the Crimean War

  • 1860s
     - The Prince of Wales makes tartan trousers popular
    - Dressing gowns are also introduced

  • 1880s
    - Oscar Wilde promotes dress reform and relaxing clothes
    - Hepworths and Blackburns open shops in Leeds to sell suits
    - Heavily advertised Virginia cigarettes arrive from America

  • 1890s
    - Toothpaste becomes available in tubes
    - Pointed shoes and 'rolled' trousers become popular
    - Knickerbocker suits are developed for outdoor use

  • 1901
    - King Edward VII proclaims Gentlemen, you may smoke!

  • 1904
    - Gillette produce 90,000 safety razors and 12,400,000 blades

  • 1907
    - L’Oreal produce the first permanent dye for grey hair

  • 1938
    - Nylon toothbrush and Philishave electric shaver are invented 

  • 1940s
    - Montague Burton of Leeds becomes Europe’s largest clothing producer
    - Black marketeers adopt the colourful 'Spiv' style, wearing suits with wide lapels
    - All ex-servicemen are given a de-mob suit (see bottom two images) on leaving the forces

  • 1950s
    - Military clothing like T-shirts, duffle coats and leather jackets are adopted as civilian classics 
    - Electric trouser presses become available

  • 1956
    - Ericsson’s first mobile phone is produced, weighing 9kg!
    - Elvis Presley gives the world Heartbreak Hotel and his quiff

  • 1960s
    - Lady Chatterley’s Lover on trial as an obscene book
    - The hair dryer becomes a male fashion accessory
    - Open toe sandals, flares and long hair are all in fashion

  • 1970s
    - Afro styles, open shirts and medallions are popular

  • 1975
    - Bic invent the disposable razor

  • 1976
    - Punk rock fashion shocks the nation

  • 1979
    -The first commercial cellphone system opens in Japan

  • 1980s
    -  Yuppies (businesspeople) make suits and mobile phones trendy
    - Trainers and sportswear become acceptable street fashion

  • 1990s
    - The Grunge scene makes dressing down fashionable again

  • 2002
    - The Hoody starts to emerge as a fashion item imported from the US associated with Hip Hop and Rap Culture. The craze mushrooms but with negative press, resulting in David Cameron’s Hug a Hoodie Campaign

  • 2003
    - Pop artists such as Beyonce and 50 Cent, adorned in diamonds and gold, coin a fashion and the phrase 'bling'

  • 2005
    - Male model Vernon Kay  becomes the first celebrity male model

  • 2006
    - The 'Man Bag' (male handbag) makes an entrance, worn by celebrities like David Beckham 

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