a trip down memory lane
to be certain, the American classic look is timeless and trend-proof. at its core, classic American style is all about comfort, tradition, with a little bit of rebellion thrown in for good measure. the all-American look is simple, tailored, exudes a quiet confidence, and is incredibly functional. there’s always a balance between practical and stylish. what’s not to love about a two-button blazer, a favorite pair of blue jeans and loafers? how about a simple white t-shirt with broken-in khakis? both outfits are simplicity in motion. but keeps our style game on course.
so what are the iconic American classic wardrobe essentials? if any, you ask? today, i’m sharing six must-have items that are 100% American that has grown into cult status worldwide. these items proudly hang in my closet, and i love to throw on every chance i get.
ever since Levi Strauss teamed with Jacob Davis in 1873 and were granted a patent simply titled xx, blue jeans have transformed the way we dress. not only in America but worldwide. how many pairs of blue jeans do you own? and how many times a week do you wear them? at any given time, there are at least a dozen pair sitting on my shelf. and i’m always on the hunt for another great fitting pair.
ray ban wayfarer
this classic sunglass is instantly recognizable and worn by celebrities, musicians, and artists alike. founded in 1952, Ray-Ban was a relatively young company when John F. Kennedy was elected president. if anyone epitomized classic American style, it was this dashing young president (and his lovely young wife). JFK was regularly seen wearing a pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses. many mistakenly claimed these sunglasses were Ray-Bans. and an instant trend was born as people clamored to buy a pair of tortoise shell Wayfarers. funny enough, President Kennedy didn’t own Ray-Bans. his preferred brand of sunglasses was American Optical. it’s true.
leather motorcycle jacket
this is the true symbol of the modern rebel thanks to the movie The Wild One produced in 1953. but the first motorcycle jacket was created in 1928 by Irving Schott co-founder of NYC-based Schott Brothers. the iconic store exists to this day. the biker jacket featured an asymmetrical zipper that replaced traditional button-down jackets. this one style tweak allowed bikers to lean over their motorcycles with ease. and it became an instant hit. brown was the favored color for years. but that all changed when Marlon Brando donned a black perfecto for his role as leader of the pack in The Wild One replete with leather and a whole lot of ‘tude.
Frye Boots was founded in 1863 when John Frye opened his doors on Elm Street in Marlboro, MA. Frye is best known for the harness boot created in the 1960s inspired by cavalry soldiers in the civil war.
the humble t-shirt is arguably the most popular outer garment in the entire world, coming in a variety of colors and sizes. but how and where did the t-shirt rise to popularity? some claim it evolved from the one-piece red flannel underwear known in the 19th century as the union street. this garment was a favorite of miners and stevedores that worked in hot environments. but when someone figured out to cut the onesie in half, the tee was born. fast forward to the 20th century when the U.S. Navy issued crew neck short-sleeved cotton undershirts that were first worn underneath uniforms then proudly worn solo. it was the perfect piece of clothing for bachelors as there were no buttons. there was no need for a needle and thread for the scores of enlisted men in the Navy with limited sewing skills. it wasn’t long before the U.S. Army caught wind of this practical clothing item, and soon their soldiers were sporting t-shirts too. in WWI, tens of thousands of young men wore t-shirts as part of their daily uniform. after the war, the soldiers brought the t-shirts back home. it was an instant hit. by the time WWII started, the t-shirt was commonplace. but its popularity soared after Marlon Brando wore a tight-fitting white tee in Streetcar Named Desire.
the word conch comes from the Spanish word, which means seashell. now it refers to the oval disks of silver used to decorate saddles, bridles, clothing, jewelry, and belts. concho belts are a long time Native Indian tradition derived from the Navajo Indians. the earliest conchos were silver dollars that were hammered, stamped, edged, then slotted and strung together onto a leather belt.