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Reigning Men: 300 Years of Fashion in Menswear

While my size hasn’t changed in 30 years, my taste in fashion certainly has. From Beatle boots, to bell bottoms, to Nehru jackets, to Prada suits, my desire to be fashionable has resulted in some highly memorable attire, and at times some rather unfortunate choices. But a look back at my personal selection of menswear is only a blink compared to what I’ll see at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, starting April 10.

Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715—2015 examines men’s fashions from the eighteenth century to the present. The curators have examined the relationship between fashion and femininity. Additionally, the exhibition reveals how cultural influences over the past 300 years have inspired and at times dictated how men dress. Two examples are the uniform (military, business, evening attire) and cinching and padding (ladies aren’t the only ones who feel the need to reshape their bodies).

The garments on display will provide an education on the evolution of fashion in menswear, including the origin of the three-piece suite in the 1700s, the role of the English “dandy” in the nineteenth-century, the impact of mid-twentieth-century “mod” or the zoot suit, and the twenty-first century man an in ultra-chic “skinny suit” or flowered tuxedo.

As a designer of men’s knit wear, this show promises me a few insights into my favorite topic, the relationship between classic and contemporary fashion. Perhaps it will inspire you to take a second look at your personal style, or to pull out a few of those items in the back of your closet: a fringed leather jacket perhaps, a bowling shirt, your letterman’s sweater, a polyester leisure suit or patchwork madras plaid shorts.

So if you live in Southern California or are considering a trip to Los Angeles before August 21, visit LACMA, you may even come away with a whole now concept of masculinity.

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