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'The Fashioned Body' by Alistair O'Neill

[blockquote]The history of a material covering for the neck is formed from the need to protect the throat from cold, but it evolved into dressing the neck as a pedestal for the head and a frame for the face.[/blockquote]
Click here to read essay

This week our Fashion Body seems more naked than dressed - with buttocks and breasts equally on display. However, our latest essay from author, fashion historian and curator Alistair O'Neill is decidedly buttoned up - right up to the collar, in fact, with an essay exploring the meaning behind the still-ubiquitous wrapped and knotted neck in formal masculine garb.


  1. amy.ireland
    14:13 29 Jul 2010
    I always look for a well dressed neck! Love the idea of dressing the neck as a pedestal for the head. I say we make the cravat the standard dress for the office...
  2. AndrewSmith
    14:20 29 Jul 2010
    I think the whole concept of formal-wear is strange. The fact that western society has constructed an image that is more respectable than every-day wear is just plain weird. When did we start respecting the suit more than any other clothes and can we change our formal wear over time to become something completely different? It's just so odd. Wow, that really got me thinking.......
  3. alex.fury
    15:42 29 Jul 2010
    Hi Andrew,
    A good book to read on the subject of the development of the suit over time is 'Sex and Suits' by Anne Hollander. Hollander argues that, in its basic form, the three-piece suit was born at the end of the seventeenth century and despite evolution has essentially retained the same structure ever since. She also argues that the suit is the most modern form of dress, and that when women's dress began to become modern it was due to it aping the qualities of the suit, and in many cases its actual form.
    Fascinating read, and one I highly recommend.
  4. AndrewSmith
    15:50 29 Jul 2010
    So, in effect the suit is considered fashion perfection?