Before shorts got them out of this mess, tennis pioneers played their matches in cable knit sweater and flannel pants. At the waist, for more precision in tightening and flexibility in efforts, some players (Americans, in particular) opt for a braided belt model. At the sight of these unimaginable outfits in society, the male public pulls on its suspenders and does not imagine for a second to dress one day in this way.
Emerging fashion was interested in the subject, but the Second World War stopped it in its tracks. Once peace is restored, a new generation of elite students spreading their lifestyle, a mix of ready-to-wear, sportswear and carefully cut suits. Appeared on the campuses of major Anglo-Saxon universities, this ideal gender look, better known as the Ivy League (which also designates the circle of the most prestigious faculties), conveys the values of success.
Limited to a few points on the globe, the phenomenon is however gaining in scale and sex appeal in contact with JFK, Steve McQueen, Robert Redford … Student uniforms and leisure clothing are then diffused in society by its summit: chinos, boat shoes, button-down shirts and blazers with badges thus form the basis of a new chic and sporty allure, “all-purpose”.
The return of the ideal son-in-law
After the euphoria of the 1960s, if the preppy look is regularly overshadowed by various fashion movements, it remains a safe bet and a haven for many men. It almost disappears from the big fashion capitals, when at the dawn of the 2010s, out of nostalgia for the sixties on the one hand, by utilitarianism on the other, men’s fashion turns neo-preppy.
This return of the ideal son-in-law comes with a whole new vocabulary. Functional and versatile, discreet, guaranteed without risk and approved by a generation of masculine icons whose grandeur we never cease to praise, the “basics” draw the contours of a new all-round uniform.
Little by little, the sartorial differences between office and private sphere are diminishing to only operate on a few key accessories. To go from one register to another, you simply change your shoes or release your tie. Playing on its natural predispositions to flourish in the open air, the braided belt comes in handy here for dragging the blazer jeans from a meeting to a lazy afternoon.