5 Fashion Terms: I Wonder Where They Came From

6 inklings - saturday

This week’s Inklings is less of a poem and more of a small list of clothing types that I wonder why they’re called that … I can’t English.

Let’s start over: I was spending one afternoon looking up clothes under the ‘Peter Pan’ section. And I wondered, why the heck are they called that? What is Peter Pan-esque about these shirts? They only have those round collars at the front. I did not get the reference. Then I recall a lot of clothes having strange references – as though they just dropped cool names to them like how nail polishes these days try to be incredibly quirky and punny.

I thought it was about time I go Wiki these names and gather them in a blog post. So here it is.

1. Peplum 

Originates from the Greek word, peplos, for ‘tunic’. A peplos (Greek: ὁ πέπλος) is a body-length garment established as typical attire for women in ancient Greece by 500 BC (the Classical period). Also referred to as an ‘overskirt’ in fashion. Overskirts first came into fashion during the Victorian Era in 1867, after the pre-hoop and hoop periods of multiple petticoats and crinoline, and before the bustle period.A reduction in overall shirt size was seen at this time. Fashion in ladies dresses changed from the wide, very lacy skirts, to a more conical shape that diminished at the hips.

2. Peter Pan collar

It is named after the collar of Maude Adams‘s costume in her 1905 role as Peter Pan. The first official Peter Pan collar was designed by John White Alexander and his wife in collaboration with Maude Adams for the 1905 production of Peter and Wendy in New York. Neither J. M. Barrie‘s book or play (which described Peter as wearing cobwebs and leaves), nor the original 1904 London production starring Nina Boucicault (in a cape), had featured a similar design. Even though subsequent Peter Pans did not wear the collar, Adams’s collar proved a fashion success in the United States and United Kingdom and retained its association with her role.

3. Oxford shoe

It is derived from the Oxonian, a half-boot with side slits that gained popularity at Oxford University in 1800. Oxfords first appeared in Scotland and Ireland, where they are occasionally called Balmorals after the Queen’s castle in Scotland, Balmoral.

4. Mary Janes

Mary Jane was a character created by Richard Felton Outcault for his comic strip Buster Brown in 1902. She was the “sweetheart” of the title character Buster Brown and was drawn from real life, as she was also Outcault’s daughter of the same name. In 1904, Outcault traveled to the St. Louis World’s Fair and sold licenses to up to 200 companies to use the Buster Brown characters to advertise their products. Among them was the Brown Shoe Company, which later hired actors to tour the country, performing as the Buster Brown characters in theaters and stores. This strategy helped the Brown Shoe Company become the most prominently associated brand with the Buster Brown characters. The style of shoe both Buster Brown and Mary Jane wore came to be known by her name, Mary Jane.

5. Skater skirt/dress

Often made of lighter materials to give a flowing effect, it is called such as it mimics the skirts of figure skaters. I always wondered which ‘skater’ they referred to – but now I know.

The more you know! 😀

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤


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