Oxford Bags

Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Powerhouse, May 17, 2006.

  1. As I've talked to you about before, TT, the Dictionary of Slang has the first use of "bags" to describe trousers or clothing in general (best suit = go-to-meeting-bags) from the middle of the 19th century, and "Oxford Bags" from c 1922 onwards.
     
  2. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

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    Well, at least I've got 'Oxford bags' back to 1904. The next target is 1881!

    At some point I must start searching through rowing journals.
     
  3. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

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    You might also peruse the records of the various tailoring firms that were in business during that period. Most firms keep meticulous customer records, with some keeping actual patterns.
     
  4. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

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    A.C. You are correct. The records of Hall Brothers (who are often credited with being responsible for creating the first fashion Oxford bags) have records available in an Oxfordshire museum. It's all about finding the opportunity to sit down for a couple of days to search through all the boxes!
    I will do it eventually.
     
  5. When the BL newspaper archive is again available in November, I would suggest trawling Tailor and Cutter Mens Wear, Tailoring Gazette, etc. of 1922-'27 for any mention of widening trousers.

    Similar to what I'm doing to research the realities of the austerity regulations "Prices of (Non-Food) Goods Act, 1940".
     
  6. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Damn what did I miss? :D Thanks for your research, Two Types. I am looking forward to see it published.

    Here is a picture I found in a book about Raoul Hausman (Raoul Hausman - Der deutsche Spiesser ärgert sich, Hatje, Berlin 1994)
    Der Oberdada tanzt Oxfordhose (The Oberdada dances "Oxford-trousers") in 1926

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Is that Baader, then, doing the dancing? Ah, no, I see from the text that it's Hausmann. I wasn't aware that he also claimed the title Oberdada, I thought Baader was alone in that.

    It would make sense to me that oxford bags of this type were seen as Dadaist.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  8. Flat Foot Floey

    Flat Foot Floey My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    It's Hausmann himself. (I think Baader had a full beard during that time) Apparently it was at an Dada event where they would make satirical dances to the newest fashions.
     
  9. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i'm still surprised that wide legs and high waists haven't had a 'fashion moment' yet to challenge the ubiquitous skinny trouser.
    after all, fashion is supposed to thrive on novelty, yet it's been skinny for at least a decade. it goes against the old Oscar Wilde quip:
    "Fashion is something so ugly we have to change it every six months"

    Joe Casely Hayford did this wide legged suit a few years ago:

    [​IMG]

    i wondered at the time if the high street might spot it and do some cheap copies. they didn't.
     
  10. Fastuni

    Fastuni Call Me a Cab

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    Tight and skinny flat front trousers wear out faster (more skin contact and susceptibility towards wear and tear) and save considerable quantities of fabric, as compared to wide legged, cuffed and pleated high-waist trousers...
    Tight & skinny = easier profits.

    I can imagine that at best moderately wider and higher trousers could make a return (think 1990's)...
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  11. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    true, but something still has to be embraced by the buying public to make it popular. i believe that in the public's mind skinny /low rise equals 'sexy' and high waisted / wide legged equals 'grandad'. i really think it's that simple.
     
  12. Fastuni

    Fastuni Call Me a Cab

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    Definitely ... this is without a doubt the case.
    But someone (well advertisement) had to instill this notion into the general public for some ulterior motive.^^
    If those poor souls only knew how much more comfortable and healthy for a man wide&high trousers are...
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  13. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i don't think there was a conspiracy. just that today's idols are mainly rock stars who wear skinny low rise trousers, so that's who the youth want to resemble.
    in the 30s the 'rock stars' were Gary Cooper and Clark Gable so the young wanted to look like them. it would take a modern 'sexy' youth movement wearing high waisted-wide legged trousers to change the perception (Bowie sort of did it in the late 70s-early 80s).

    i think i've answered my own question (on previous page) about why they haven't had a fashion moment comeback. :p
     
  14. HBK made the point of perceptions of sexiness in male attire. I think that what is very popular, and striven for in cutting, in men's trousers is to highlight the shape of the rear and the shape of the thighs. Skinny suit trousers remind me (the top half at least) of the breeches of eras past. The display of the upper legs, crotch and buttocks is undeniably sexual and is designed to show masculinity and virility.

    Imagine such a trend with high waisted trousers. It would be 70s styles all over again, and I think we all agree that while it certainly worked for Mick Jagger et al., most of us looked pretty silly (not that I was there, of course). Because of the pre-eminence of display in modern men's trouser design, high waists won't be here in any great quantity any time soon.
     
  15. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    i don't think high waisted flares will ever make a comeback again (thankfully). i think lessons have been learned, and the general 'taste level' is far higher today than in the 70s because of blogs informing men of basic style essentials, and a return to classic style / traditional style / heritage style etc... that men wouldn't be fobbed off with such atrocities again.

    one of the good things about the modern internet age is that the past becomes an easy access cultural museum and it's so easy to find and re-work the best bits and avoid the horrors.

    for those who are waiting for the return of the high waist and wide legged there'll always be Old Town. ;)
     
  16. Fastuni

    Fastuni Call Me a Cab

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    There probably is something to it... it displays more of the body (for better or worse).

    But when taking the other parts of a modern-day suit into account, it must be a different notion of virility and masculinity.
    The narrow shouldered, slim-fitting jackets and pantyhose-like trousers of the recent years have also something "feminine" about them (as do some 20's suits)... unlike suits of the mid-30's to early 50's that "built up" shoulders, chests, tightened hips and extended legs... traits of a "classical definition" of virility and masculinity associated with physical strength and an athletic built.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2013
  17. cult of youth
     
  18. herringbonekid

    herringbonekid I'll Lock Up

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    if you're built like Daniel Craig then tight fitting can look masculine (often the built-up, drapey suits of the past conceal the body rather than show off its form).
    if you're slim, then yes, tight fitting can be 'feminine' or 'foppish'.
     
  19. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

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    I think another part of it is the change in fashion regarding men's body shapes - the supposed ideal shape a man ought to be changes with time, and clothing fashions change to flatter that particular shape (or at least make you look like you are that shape even if you aren't). It's more obvious with women's fashion (1900s - hourglass figures were the vogue, and the clothing flattered that. 1920s it becomes a boyish figure), but I'd say it also exists with men. The ideal man of the 1940s was fairly long of leg, not necessarily tall, and broad shouldered. Nowadays its a tall, slim man. Low trousers, thin lapels, tight trousers flatter the taller, skinnier man.
     
  20. Two Types

    Two Types I'll Lock Up

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    What astounds me is that whilst I can accept certain styles are fashionable (Low trousers, thin lapels, tight trousers) very few men that I see can get away with wearing them. For so many men, their body shape those styles are inaccessible. If they try to wear them they look dreadful, which should logically put them off wearing a suit. I feel the menswear industry should push a wider variety of styles that flatter a wider range of men.
     

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