The cape has been around since medieval times, being used primarily for keeping the wearer warm without restricting their movements, but has, in more recent times, become more associated with making a man look freaking awesome. There is no one who doesn’t look better with a cape wrapped casually around their shoulders; slung casually over one arm; or billowing out behind them in the rain and wind as they howl an oath of bloody vengeance up to the heavens.
They last came back into fashion in Nineteenth Century Europe, although were sadly somewhat eclipsed by trivial matters like the industrial revolution and the Napoleonic Wars. That’s no reason not to try again, though, especially since WWBD is pretty much the Maxim, er, maxim (the answer is invariably, “wear a cape and punch dudes in the head”).
Remaining in use for around 2,500 years, chainmail has only been retired a relatively short amount of time. Still, if the fashion industry can revive the fricking 80s (why?) in 2001, surely we can bring back something that’s been gone for over a century?
The problem with chainmail, for those of a sartorial bent, is that it’s incredibly hard to make what is essentially a heavy sweater knitted out of metal, to be in any way form-fitting. Still, are you telling me there aren’t baggy-panted kids out there that wouldn’t consider this as a bad-ass new form of urban style? Sure, it’s not practical, but neither is wearing two hats or running around with your sneakers unlaced. Maybe we just need to think of a different way of wearing it? Or…ok, no, maybe not.
It’s something of a mystery why men decided to visibly accentuate the area we would all least like to be kicked in, but for a while back in the murky, tubby, wife-decapitating days of Henry VIII (note lack of resemblance to Jonathan Rhys Myers), men did exactly that with the codpiece. Initially appearing as a section of material designed to hide the unsightly bulge in the tights caused by the fashion for short tunics, the inevitable fashion trait of exaggerating reared its ugly head and before you could say, “Please don’t wear great big bulky pouches on your junk”, dudes were wearing what amounts to a wallet crossed with a running shoe over their unmentionables.
It goes without saying that we mostly want to bring them back for the general hilarity it would cause, but there’s also a certain safety factor here: namely, no one would ever start a fight ever again if they thought they’d be rubbing codpieces with a stranger in a bar during the scuffle. And since people used to keep their valuables in them, it would also put an end to mugging. Although, no doubt, someone would find a way to exploit them for criminal purposes eventually.
The tailcoat became standard issue for the Victorian gentleman-about-town in the Nineteenth Century, which is odd, because they were originally invented to make it easier for riding a horse, not quaffing gin and tonic while pondering the next potential colony from the back of a hansom cab. Whatever its origin, we want to bring it back just because of what it represents: with its smart, sedulous front, pulled up short to show everyone you’re all business, and its contrasting relaxed, flowing back, designed for stalking magnificently through a fashionable soiree, it… it – holy God! Business at the front: party at the back: it’s the Victorian equivalent of a mullet!