There’s an uneasy truce right now, let’s enjoy.
It’s odd, if you stop to think about it, that superheroes wear really tight clothes. If we were going to battle a demonic, evil genius, hell-bent on subjugating the planet, we’d probably go for some rugged Carhartt, certainly a decent technical jacket, in case of rain. We wouldn’t go rooting through our girlfriend’s 100 dernier opaque tights before heading into battle. Superheroes wear tight clothes to look more super. Tight clothes are all about bodies and loose clothes are all about looking free and relaxed. Both have advantages.
Stretch fabrics, rips and shoulder-hugging denim have a clubbing air about them, they’re about showing off, seeking attention, also they are mainly the property of the young and young-ish. If you’re in your prime, why not revel in that? Skin-clinging clothes have a saucy hint of the Olympic Village after-party.
Loose clothes, on the other hand, have skate and hip-hop history and suggest your prime objective in life is to feel relaxed and comfortable, free to move. The whole beanie hat and baggy chinos movement is a nod to yoga classes and coffee shops with wooden benches. It’s a little bit vegan in that the cloth is very natural wants to say it’s hardly been touched by man let alone been out to all hours.
The bodies under loose clothes are being saved for later, the bodies wrapped in tight clothes want their fun ASAP. Eras can be read by tight vs loose. The 1970s – that time of sex people and nylon - had men in indecently tight trousers, during the ravey 90s when people danced and went on “internal journeys”, clothes were very baggy. Right now, we have a moment where the loose and the tight skirmish, territory is taken and lost but no clear winner declared. Which means we can enjoy both.
A designer argues the benefits of loose
David Keyte designer and co-founder at Universal Works has always been a fan of the relaxed approach to clothing.
As a kid, I always liked James Dean in his loose pair of jeans and jacket rather than the stuff that was around at the time. I’m not a fan of stretch fabrics and you need stretch fabric for very tight-fitting clothes. You can’t get rid of lycra, it’s not the best thing for the planet. A nice cotton or linen doesn’t need it. It’s not that I think lycra in jeans is intrinsically wrong, I just don’t like it, so I don’t design it.
The last ten years, we’ve seen the influence of menswear from Japan. A lot of that workwear, blue-collar, Americana has come out of Japan. They like to buy an old English jacket, it's often too big and they wear it and make it look fantastic.
We feel better if we’re not tightly dressed. If you go to some posh do and your jacket’s too tight and your shirt is too tight, it's not a comfortable way to go out. If you’ve got your pyjamas on you feel comfortable. Mimicking some of that in our daily lives is my way of dressing, always has been.
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