Category Archives: Pants

Zoot Suits and Teddy Boys

Mimosa Dedanann, the doyenne of vintage clothing in Finland & further afield, discusses American-born zoot suits and their connection to the Teddy Boy style and culture of the U.K.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ppUjUSg2DI

 

Teddy Boys

For Further Reading AMERICANA Recommends:

The Teds by Chris Steele-Perkins & Richard Smith

Diary of a Teddy Boy : A Memoir of the Long Sixties by Mim Scala

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Zoot Suits


Zoot Suits - Photo via TibChris

The zoot suit was originally called “drapes” in the Harlem jazz culture of the 1930s & 1940s.  During that time, the suit was worn by and popularized by African-Americans.  A zoot suit is characterized by a long jacket with wide lapels, large shoulder pads and high-waisted baggy trousers that are tight at the bottom cuff.  A zoot suit is often accessorized with a pocket watch that has a long chain that is dangled below the knee.  A Fedora hat with a long feather is also often worn to complement the zoot suit.

Because of its baggy construction, a zoot suit is made of more material than is used in conventional suits of the same time period.  Because materials were needed at the time for the war effort, the U.S. War Production Board banned the production of zoot suits in 1942 after it considered them to be wasteful. This led to the rebellious “Zoot Suit Riots” which occurred all over the United States.

In the 1950s, Teddy Boys in England wore zoot suits in bright colors with velvet collars Teddy boys didn’t wear bright colors in the 1950s because their style is based on early 1900s Edwardian style. They might have a had a brocade waistcoat to add color but the bright colors in drapes and suits did not come come until the 1970s revival Teds. (Thanks Mimosa for the correction!)

A young Malcolm X described the zoot suit as “a killer-diller coat with a drape shape, reet pleats and shoulders padded like a lunatic’s cell.”  Even Tom & Jerry aspired to be cool during the fashion craze, wearing zoot suits made out of a hammock to impress their girlfriends.

Further Reading, Etc.:

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Dickies

Dickies Label

The Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company is a Texas born-and-bred work clothing company, founded in 1818. C.N. Williamson and Colonel E.E. Dickie started the “U.S. Overall Company” in Bryan, Texas and today the company’s headquarters are in Fort Worth.

Dickies Work Pants

During World War II, Dickies famously made military uniforms for the U.S. Armed Forces. After the war, Dickies expanded their line of work clothes.  The company gained worldwide fame during this time as Texas oilers working in the Middle East and elsewhere exposed workers to the rugged wear.

Dickies Flannel Western Shirt

Dickies were the pants for gentlemen on university campuses in the 1960s with their plain front waist and classic tailoring.  In the eighties, Dickies Harbor One pants were the must-have item for preppies, who wore them in a rainbow of colors.

Today, Dickies makes all kinds of work clothes from denim overalls to medical scrubs.  The brand has also returned to its image and style of clothes for the American worker.

Dickies

Williamson-Dickie Manufacturing Company är ett genuint Texasföretag som grundades 1818. C.N. Williamson och överste E.E. Dickie startade US Overall Company i Bryan, Texas. Idag ligger företagets högkvarter i Fort Worth, Texas.

Dickies var kända för tillverkningen av amerikanska militäruniformer under andra världskriget. Efter kriget utökade Dickies sin kollektion av arbetskläder och oljearbetare från Texas gjorde kläderna kända när de jobbade i Mellanöstern och på andra håll.

Dickies var byxmarket för preppiga studenter på amerikanska universitet under 1960-talet. På 80-talet var Dickies Harbor One byxor ett måste för preppies som kunde köpa dem i alla möjliga färger.

Idag tillverkar Dickies alla möjliga typer av arbetskläder från hängselbyxor till arbetskläder för läkare och sjuksköterskor. Dickies har under de senaste åren återigen komcentrerat sig på att göra kläder för Amerikas arbetande befolkning.

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