Changing English fashions cause bemusement — archive, 1950

Changing English fashions cause bemusement — archive, 1950

19 June 1950 Swimming trunks printed in designs as colourful and exotic as those on American ties are yet another revolution in men’s fashion

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Iasked a Dutch friend who has been visiting this country what changes he noticed since his last visit in 1946. I received an unexpected assortment of replies. Instead of telling me that he had been impressed by the greater variety and abundance of goods in the shops, the building of prefabs, the reappearance of glass in the windows, and so forth, he remarked on the fact that English gardens and flower shows have recovered something like their pre-war glory and then went on to exclaim at the fact that our young men now go about with their shirts outside their trousers and that our countryside is losing all its trees and hedges.

Changing English fashions cause bemusement - archive, 1950Trying to explain the reasons for these diverse changes, I attributed the growing bleakness of our landscape to the fact that it is being stripped down under the mistaken impression that this will give more room for food production, whereas, in fact, it will merely lead to erosion and dust bowls.

The display of shirt tails, I said, was a custom imported from America and though untidy was probably comfortable. I was later able to conduct my Dutch friend past a men’s wear shop and show him yet another revolution in male fashions – swimming trunks and beach shorts printed in designs as colourful and exotic as those on American ties.

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This is another transatlantic fashion which seems to be steadily muscling its way into Britain although there are still plenty of British males who regard these fashions as hardly the thing for he-men and would no sooner be found in them than in the canary and rose trilby hats which a firm in this country tried unsuccessfully to introduce to British manhood a few years before the war.

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