sunday style | 6 iconic essentials for american classic style

the american classic look is timeless and trend-proof. at its core, american classic is all about comfort, tradition, and 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 is always a balance between practical and stylish. one reason we love to pair a two-button blazer with our beloved blue jeans and throw on a pair of loafers. or simple wear a white t-shirt with broken-in khakis. both outfits are simplicity in motion but keep our style game on par.

but what are the iconic essentials that make up american classic style? if any, you ask. well, let me share six closet essentials that are 100% american that has grown into cult status worldwide. items that proudly hang in my closet and i love to throw on every chance i get. what are they? here’s my list:

blue jeans

ever since levi strauss teamed with jacob davis in 1873 and were granted a patent for their invention simply titled xx blue jeans have transformed the way we dress not only in america but worldwide. i mean, how many pairs of blue jeans do you own? i know i have at least a dozen pairs and always have my eye on the next.

blue jeans and button downs

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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 president john f. kennedy was elected president. if anyone epitomized american classic style, it was this dashing young president (and his lovely young wife) who was regularly seen wearing a pair of tortoise shell sunglasses. many mistakenly claimed these sunglasses were ray bans, and an instant trend started as people clamored to buy a pair of wayfarers. but did you know that president kennedy didn’t own ray bans? his preferred label of glasses was american optical. it’s true.

city girl

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motorcycle jacket

this is the true symbol of the modern rebel thanks to the silver screen and the movie the wild one starring marlon brando produced in 1953. but the first biker jacket was created in 1928 by irving schott co-founder of NYC-based schott brothers. the store still exists today. the original jacket replaced button down jackets with a zipper that was positioned asymmetrically. this allowed bikers to lean over their motorcycles with ease and became an instant hit. brown was the favored color for years before the release of the wild one when marlon donned a black perfecto for his role as leader of the pack replete with leather and attitude.

rock candy

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frye boots

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 1960’s and inspired by the cavalry soldiers in the civil war.

rainy days and tuesdays

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relatively speaking 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 became a favorite of miners and stevedores that worked in hot environments especially when someone figured out to cut it in half. fast forward to the 20th century when the U.S. Navy began issuing a crew neck short sleeved cotton undershirts to be worn underneath their uniforms. it was the perfect item because there were no buttons, therefore, no need for a needle and thread for the many bachelors with limited sewing skills that were employed by the U.S. Navy. it wasn’t long until the U.S. Army caught wind of this practical clothing item. in WWI tens of thousands of young men wore t-shirts as part of their uniform then they brought the t-shirts back home after the war. by the time WWII started the t-shirt was commonplace but its popularity soared when a popular movie named streetcar named desire featured marlon brando wearing a tight fitting t-shirt in his role as stanley.

tee time

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concho belt

the word conch comes from the spanish word which means conch or sea shell. 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 then stamped and edged then slotted and strung together onto a leather belt.

corporate crusader

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  1. Terry Cornelius Corley wrote:

    Thank you for the interesting info, Beth! Question……the black loafers in the tshirt photo….source, please? My black loafers need to be put to rest but cannot find replacement.

    Posted 6.11.17
  2. Rebecca Saffer wrote:

    Terrific video – I am also a history buff, especially about American style, department stores and manners. I love your chosen examples of American classic style and have all of them in my closet (except for the Raybans). Recently, I discovered a Frye store in NYC’s Soho area and purchased a great pair of suede gladiator type sandals. The best part, for me, was walking into the store because it actually smelled like a leather store. In the fall, I will definitely return for a pair of boots.

    Posted 6.11.17
  3. Suzy Kay wrote:

    Hi Beth. I just love the way you have styled the large black gray and white scarf. Is there any chance you could do a post on styling with scarves.
    Many thanks
    Sue Kay

    Posted 6.14.17

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