'evening! This is more an idle conversation starter than anything of substance, but perhaps of interest all the same. At least from this side of the pond, there is a strong association between formality and tradition, including in the wardrobe department. That's hardly surprising. A man may wear a top hat to his own wedding, when it would be the object of confusion on any other occasion. Tailcoats and wing collars may be seen at orchestral concerts, but almost never elsewhere. Those are both very old-fashioned, but they represent very much the crisp, showy side of the vintage wardrobe. In many places, businessmen and politicians can be seen in lounge suits. It seems a conservative choice today, but was once considered more casual - one step above the stripy blazer of a young sportsman. In old photographs, it appears that everyday work clothes for normal people were far closer in construction to the city fashion than they are today. Felt hats, shirts with collars, cravats and waistcoats with lapels can all be seen on people in dirty jobs, with no uniform, in situations that would not warrant the Sunday best. That leads to three questions: - Is the above a fair representation of history? - Does anyone still wear such clothes in a casual and dirty context? - Did ladies' clothing follow a similar trend? Even the humble flat cap - which I consider a thoroughly practical all-purpose article - seems to have ended up as the choice of the relatively wealthy. What's going on?