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The influence of costume dramas

Every time one of these period TV shows hits the mainstream, the Internet's various fashion forums fill with people wanting to wear a jacket like character X had in program Y. Sometimes this is a good thing; the world needs more colourful, bold, f**k-you suits made from the fabrics seen on Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire. Mostly it's bad news, when the same character causes wannabe little big men to sport tie pins and Don Cherry-esque collars. It's great to get clothing ideas from the likes of Boardwalk and Downton Abbey, but some aspects of period style are a lot easier to work into a contemporary wardrobe than others.

AVOID:

Anything relating to collars or lapels — All of these aspects of period clothes are full of pitfalls that would look costumey in any contemporary context: twee club collars, foppish collar pins, dated high or narrow lapels.

Hats, in general — No. Just forget it.

Coat styles — There are exceptions, sure, but most suit coats in ye olde days seem to have been baggy 3- or 4-button monstrosities.

CONSIDER:

Colours — It's been a few hours since we said something about how well brown, olive, and camel work as neutral bases for strong colours.

Hair — There are at least half a dozen variants on close-cropped and tight that work in every decade. Just go easy with the goddamn gel.

Materials, textures and patterns — Tweeds, wool flannels, plaids, windowpanes, herringbones and chalk stripes were awesome in the early 20th century, and some things never change.
01.feb.2012 culture style
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