My Name Is Legion wrote:
William Ware Theiss said exactly - well, almost exactly - this on the one occasion that I spoke with him. His example was that if he'd been asked to design clothing for the 1960s back in the 1950s, the last thing he'd have come up with would have been blue jeans, buckskin jackets, boots and long hair/beards for young men - all of those clearly signified the American West in the 19th century, yet you'd see all of them pretty regularly on city streets in 1967. Designing for the future, he said, was deciding what believable lies you were going to tell the audience.
That's interesting because I've always had the pet theory that the rise of visual media has stifled the evolution of men's formal wear. If you look at a "business suit" from around 150 years ago (coinciding with the development of the photograph and the rise of periodicals) it's not radically different from today. Coat, some kind of tie, slacks, maybe suspenders or a vest. The styles, cuts, and colors may have changed, but the overall outfit is nearly the same. Now, look how much formal wear changed in the 150 years prior to that. We go from tights and cod pieces to knickers and ruffles to wigs and so on. Why has the suit not continued to evolve? Mass media cementing the idea of what formal attire looks like for the male. Just a theory, don't ask me to explain why the opposite effect seems to be for women.