The Suit: Form, Function and Style

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For over 400 years the tailored suit has dominated wardrobes the world over. Its simple forms, inspired by royal, military, religious and professional clothing, have provided a functional and often

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For over 400 years the tailored suit has dominated wardrobes the world over. Its simple forms, inspired by royal, military, religious and professional clothing, have provided a functional and often elegant uniform for modern life. But whether bespoke or tailor-made, on the street or in the office, during times of celebration or of crisis, we typically take the suit for granted, ignoring its complex construction and many symbolic meanings.The Suit unpicks the story of this most familiar garment, from its emergence in western Europe at the end of the seventeenth century to today. Suit-wearing figures such as the Savile Row gentleman and the Wall Street businessman have long embodied ideas of tradition, masculinity, power and respectability, but the suit has also been used to disrupt concepts of gender and conformity. Adopted and subverted by women, artists, musicians and social revolutionaries through the decades – from dandies and Sapeurs to the Zoot Suit and Le Smoking – the suit is also a device for challenging the status quo. For all those interested in the history of menswear, this beautifully illustrated book offers new perspectives on this most mundane, and poetic, product of modern culture.

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