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《经济学人》:衣着合体suitably dressed(圣诞特刊)

经济学人print edition, czy


Men's clothing

Dec 16th 2010 | from PRINT EDITION

BUSINESS and politics are full of surprises—and a near certainty. Whether they are politicians, bankers or trade-union leaders, men nearly always meet other men in suits. The uniform of capitalism has conquered more of the globe than capitalism itself. When Barack Obama first visited Hu Jintao, paramount leader of the People’s Republic of China, the men were clad in near-identical dark blue suits, white shirts and red spotted ties.


It has become a symbol of conformity. “Suit” was the chosen insult of hippies to describe a dull establishment man. The garment has been ostentatiously rejected by Silicon Valley titans like Steve Jobs of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Sergey Brin of Google. Yet the business suit has an exciting and mysterious history that should give wearers a tingle of pleasure every time they put one on. It is a garment born out of revolution, warfare and pestilence. The suit still bears the marks of this turbulent past as well as the influence of Enlightenment thinking, sporting pursuits and a Regency dandy. In the year that may well mark the 150th anniversary of the suit it seems a shame that no celebrations were held in its honour.

这已经成为一致性的象征。嬉皮士选用“套装”来讽刺呆板而又富有成就的人。硅谷的科技巨头,如苹果的斯蒂芬乔布斯(Steve Jobs),脸谱的马克扎克伯格(Mark Zuckerberg),谷歌的谢尔盖布林(Sergey Brin)历来都极力排斥这样的行头。然而,西装令人兴奋又神秘的历史,让穿着者每次穿上西服时都能体验到一阵喜悦。它是革命,战争和瘟疫诞生的产物。西装仍能体现动荡历史的痕迹,以及启蒙运动的思考,对体育的追求和风流倜傥的摄政王的影响。今年是西装诞生的150周年,若不庆祝西装的诞生,我们会感到遗憾。

The pattern was cut in the middle of the 17th century. To maintain an image of what is now called “austerity Britain” after a plague outbreak in 1665 and the Great Fire of London a year later, Charles II ordered his courtiers to dress in simple tunics, shirts and breeches. This was a profound reversal. Monarchs had long imposed sumptuary laws preventing hoi polloi from dressing too grandly. Forcing the elite to dress modestly suggested that power and place were no longer to be marked by yards of lace and frills.

西装的样式在17世纪中期确定。在经历了1665年的瘟疫和次年的伦敦大火之后,为了保持现在所谓的“英国财政紧缩”的形象,查尔斯二世(Charles II)命令朝臣穿简单的束腰外衣,短袜和马裤。这是一次意义深远的革命。一直以来,君王们都把节约法令强加给老百姓,防止他们穿着过于华丽。强迫精英阶层穿着适当意味着,层层叠叠的蕾丝和荷叶边再也不是权利和地位的象征了。

Even as court fashion took another turn towards flamboyance, the sombre three-piece look endured in smart society. The emerging mercantile class adopted it, as did landed aristocrats, who spent much of their time on their country estates rather than at court. Sobriety of colour gained further ground after the French and American revolutions. The simplified lines and palette of post-revolution gentlemen’s wear—blue, grey, white and buff—were themselves based on the English country gent’s attire of dark coat, riding breeches and boots.


By the end of the 18th century London had become the centre of gentlemen’s tailoring. In part this was the result of happenstance. English artisans skilled at working the heavier wool fabrics (similar to modern suit material) that are best suited to the British climate were joined by an influx of foreign tailors displaced by the Napoleonic wars. Their skills, honed making uniforms for continental fighters, with designs themselves based on British cavalry uniforms, added a new dash to London tailoring. Then a social climber called George “Beau” Brummel began to weave the strands together.

18世纪末,伦敦成为当时绅士服装定做的中心。这在某种程度上是偶然事件造成的。英国的裁缝能够熟练地用厚重的呢绒(类似于今天的西装面料)做最适合英国天气的衣服。在拿破仑战争中流离失所的国外裁缝大量涌进英国。他们在为欧洲大陆士兵做制服时练就了一身好手艺,还根据英国骑兵制服的样式自己进行设计;从而为伦敦的成衣业注入了新的元素。后来,一名叫做乔治“花花公子”浦鲁马(George “Beau” Brummel)的攀龙附凤者开始把各种不同的元素编织在一起。

New model army

He took an odd route to the pinnacle of fashion. As Ian Kelly explains in his 2005 biography, Brummel befriended the prince regent by using part of an inheritance to buy a commission in his 10th Light Dragoons. Though the prince fancied himself as a military man the regiment was a plaything, more fashion accessory than fighting unit. The prince, who took the throne as George IV, lived a high life of drinking and mistresses, but was also a cultured patron of the arts, who commissioned the elaborate and ornate Brighton Pavilion. Brummel’s trips to buy his blue, white and silver uniform for the prince’s regiment brought him into close contact with London’s finest tailors, and he began to develop ideas.

他采用一种奇怪的途径到达了流行服饰的顶峰。伊恩凯利(Ian Kelly)在他2005年的传记里写道,浦鲁马用自己遗产的一部分资助摄政王购买第十轻龙骑兵的任命。虽然摄政王梦想自己是一名军人,但当时的军团只是他的一个玩物,流行配饰比战斗单位还要多。登基为王的王子成为乔治四世(George IV),整天过着花天酒地的生活;但同时他也是一名有涵养的艺术资助人,建造了精美绝伦的皇家穹顶宫。浦鲁马在为王子军团采购蓝色,白色,银色制服的过程中,同伦敦最优秀的裁缝接触频繁。于是,他开始有了新的想法。

After leaving the army to live on the rest of his inheritance Brummel pioneered the notion that fabric, cut and silhouette were what made a gentleman’s attire (he also outraged popular opinion with the novel idea of bathing once a day—and in hot water). This pared-down style earned Brummel, and his fashion-conscious contemporaries, the label of a “dandy”. The modern understanding of the term to mean a fashion peacock is a misconception. Brummel believed that “If people turn to look at you on the street, you are not well dressed.”


The practice of fitting cloth closely to the human form rather than draping it around the body was new. As fashion historians point out, medieval linen-armourers had long made padded undergarments that fitted beneath suits of armour, reducing a little the discomfort of wearing plates of steel. But the Enlightenment and neoclassicism brought tightly fitted clothing to the surface. In an attempt to emulate Greek statues of naked men, Brummel commissioned figure-hugging trousers and coats. He used plain colours to focus attention on form and line, ushering in what Mr Kelly calls “the tyranny of monochrome”. When the prince regent swapped his flamboyant wardrobe for Brummel’s stripped-down style it spread across London and beyond.


Brummel is credited in some quarters with inventing modern trousers, a garment more widespread even than the suit and with a provenance equally hard to pin down. He is said to have adapted the long cavalry pantaloons favoured by the 10th Light Dragoons as a replacement for the knee-length breeches and stockings that were then commonplace. But other military antecedents are plausible, too. Patrick Grant, who owns Norton & Sons, a tailor established in 1806, says trousers were developed from Russian Cossack cavalry “overalls”, leggings that came over the boot, some time in the early 19th century.

人们把发明现代裤子的功劳部分归功于浦鲁马。裤子比西装流行的范围更广,出处也更加难寻。据说,他修改了第十轻龙骑兵喜爱的长骑兵马裤,用它取代了当时流行的长及膝盖的马裤和短袜。但其他的古老的军装的演变也貌似有理。1806年成立的服装定做商店Norton & Sons 的总裁帕特里克格兰特(Patrick Grant)说,裤子是从俄罗斯哥萨克骑兵的“工作裤”演变而来的,绑腿在长靴之上,这是19世纪早期的样式。

Tinker, tailor

Brummel’s look would not pass muster in a modern boardroom. No chief executive would unveil a new corporate strategy wearing a broad-collared tail coat, skin-hugging trousers that left little to the imagination and billowing muslin stock in the gap that a tie would later fill. Moreover, the Regency rake would purchase different garments from different specialist tailors. The practice of wearing a jacket and trousers of matching material made by the same firm was still some years away.


Around the middle of the 19th century gentlemen’s clothes began to relax. The frock coat full of wadding, cut close to pull the figure into shape, gradually gave way to a looser but still precise jacket. And through a series of small, incremental changes, various pieces of men’s attire that had evolved to meet specific needs converged to form a single uniform. The tailors who still work in and around London’s Savile Row are experts at disentangling the military, medical and sporting threads that form the modern suit.


The military antecedents are perhaps the most obvious. The modern suit’s padded shoulder has the whiff of an epaulette while accentuating the V-shaped torso of classical antiquity so sought by Brummel. The suit’s W-collar seems to have developed from turning down the stand-up collar of a frock coat, which in turn derived from army and naval wear. Paul Munday of Meyer & Mortimer, an outfit founded by one of Brummel’s favourite tailors, accepts that military tailoring is “technically quite different” to the civilian sort. Military uniforms are designed to look good worn when standing upright to attention, and arm holes are cut narrow to aid shooting and saluting. Yet for Mr Munday the tailoring “DNA is the same”.

军装的变化也许是最明显的。现代西服的垫肩有点军服肩章的味道,强调浦鲁马追求的经典的V型躯干样式。把礼服大衣竖着的领子翻下来就形成了W型的领口,反过来礼服大衣又来源于陆军和海军的军装。浦鲁马最喜爱的一名裁缝成立了Meyer & Mortimer生产全套服装的公司,该公司职员保罗芒迪(Paul Munday)承认,制作军装同制作平民装束“技术上是完全不同的”。 军装在制作是要保证笔直立正时的好看,裁剪狭窄的袖孔有利于射击和敬礼。然而,对芒迪来说,裁剪的“DNA是一样的”。

Savile Row was inhabited largely by surgeons before the tailors moved in during the 19th century, and their influence can be seen in the “surgeon’s cuff”. On the most expensive suits the cuff buttons, which mirror the pips of military rank, can be undone, allowing the sleeve to be rolled back. This let surgeons attend patients spouting blood without removing their coats—an important distinction that set them apart from shirt-sleeved tradesmen of the lower orders. Surgeon’s shirts, with detachable cuffs, are still made to order by London tailors.


The single or double vents that make it comfortable to wear a coat on horseback are testament to the sporting antecedents of the suit. So are the slash pockets still seen on some suits, which can be easily accessed while riding. Keith Levett of Henry Poole, a Savile Row tailor in business since 1806, is sceptical of the direct military antecedents of the suit. He reckons that its development had more to do with the needs of sporty Victorians and that two garments informed the design of the suit jacket. The morning coat, a pared-down frock coat, though still very fitted, set the trend for smaller coats. This, in combination with the “three-seam coat” with no waist seam or quilting and with small arm holes, made for cyclists, rowers and fishermen, are, he says, the immediate predecessors of the lounge coat.

外套的单衩或双衩让人们骑在马上很舒服,证明套装也同古老的运动装有关。一些套装仍然保留骑马时可以轻松使用的开口袋。成立于1806年的一家萨维特制衣店亨利普尔(Henry Poole)的一名员工吉斯莱维特(Keith Levett)对西装来源于军装的说法很怀疑。他认为,西装的发展更多是为了满足维多利亚时代运动装的需求,这两种服装形成了西装夹克的款式。尽管晨礼服,紧身的长礼服仍然非常合身,它们却引领了小型外套的发展趋势。他说,这些同适合骑自行车的人,浆手,渔民穿着的没有腰线,压线的“三线外套”以及窄小的袖孔是普通套装最直接先驱。

As the suit jacket and trousers gradually came together, so did the tie, replacing the silk stock that would previously have been worn around the neck. It arrived from Europe. The court of Louis XIV was impressed as much by the neckerchiefs of Croat mercenaries employed to fight the Thirty Years War as by their fighting spirit. The style was adopted in France—the word cravate is apparently a corruption of Croat. The four-in-hand, the forerunner of the tie, appeared in Britain in about 1860 (like the suit) and was the social-networking tool of its day. The pattern and colours denoted affiliations such as school, regiment or sporting club.

随着西装夹克和裤子的逐渐演变,原本围在脖子上的丝质围脖也被领带取代。领带发源于欧洲。被路易斯十四(Louis XIV)的宫廷雇佣,打30年战役的克罗地亚雇佣兵,不论是他们的斗争精神,还是他们佩戴的班丹纳方绸都让路易斯十四印象深刻。这种风格被引进法国—很显然,领带一词是对克罗地亚语的讹用。领带的先驱—打活结的领带—在1860年前后出现在英国,并成为当时社交工具。不同的款式和颜色代表你来自哪里,比如学校,军队或运动俱乐部。

If the precise moment of inception is vague the point of victory of the lounge suit over its forerunners as the standard battledress of the office worker is clearer. According to Christopher Breward of the Victoria and Albert Museum the tailed morning coat finally gave up to the lounge suit with the rise of American business culture at the end of the 19th century. By 1890 the American office worker wanted both the informality of the lounge suit, with its sporting heritage, and a snappy, modern and efficient look that its military antecedents gave it.

如果精确的引入时间是模糊的话,普通西装取代它的前身作为上班族标准服装的时间则非常清楚。维多利亚和艾伯特博物馆(the Victoria and Albert Museum)的克里斯托弗布里沃(Christopher Breward)称,随着19世纪末美国商业文化的崛起,定做的晨礼服最终被西装取代。到了1890年,美国的上班族希望有一种西服,既不拘礼节,有运动元素,时髦现代,又能沿袭军装的那种高效作风。

Still at the cutting edge

From a tight knot of streets between Piccadilly and Regent Street, the suit has conquered the planet. Since the early 20th century the battledress of the executive has changed little, at least on the outside. Colours and cuts come—the fashion a decade ago was for four-button jackets—and go. Yet the modern world has transformed the suit’s interior. Pockets for train and bus tickets appeared with the commuter. Pen pockets and pockets for mobile phones have followed. Mr Munday has fielded inquiries about internal pockets to hold an iPad. No problem, he says. They are not so very different to the large “hare” pockets on the inside of field coats worn by country gents that will hold birds and rabbits felled with a shotgun.

皮卡迪利大街和丽晶街之间密密麻麻的街道里,诞生了征服世人的西装。自20世纪早期以来,经理们的服装很少改变,至少从外面看是这样。颜色以及裁剪—十年前流行的款式是有4个纽扣的夹克—变来变去。然而,现代世界已经改变了西装的内部。通勤者的出现促使用来装火车和汽车票的口袋出现,后来又增加了装笔和手机的口袋。芒迪自如地回答了有关可以容纳iPad 口袋的问题。他说,没问题。同乡村绅士们用来装被猎枪击中的鸟儿和野兔的,缝在猎场外套内部的“兔子”口袋相比,它们没什么不同。

Savile Row has changed too. The custom of the British upper classes, civilian and military, has tailed away as that class has shrivelled. But at Anderson & Sheppard, in business for over a century, “Prince of Wales” is scrawled in marker pen on a nondescript brown box beneath a cutting table. Within are offcuts of clothing ordered by the current heir to the British throne—used for repairs. Royal patronage is a useful draw for the new breed of customers from the Middle East and Russia, whose oligarchs and sheikhs think nothing of ordering a big batch of bespoke suits starting at £3,000 ($4,700) each. Meanwhile, in South-East Asia, factories fling out suits by the thousands that sell for just a few pounds each. Useful and malleable, after 150 years the suit is still holding its ground in the battle for wardrobe space.

萨维尔街也发生了变化。随着英国上层阶级,平民和军人阶层规模的缩小,他们的一些传统也渐渐淡化。但是,在安德森和谢泼德(Anderson & Sheppard)这家有着百年历史的老店,裁剪桌下面的普通棕色纸箱上,潦草地用记号笔写着“威尔士亲王”的字样。这个箱子里装着现任英国皇室继承人订购的服装边角料—作修补之用。皇室的光顾有助于吸引来自中东和俄罗斯的新顾客。这些独裁者和阿拉伯酋长认为,定做一批起价为3000欧元(合4700美元)的西服是一件稀松平常的事儿。同时,东南亚的一些工厂生产出数千件价格几英镑的廉价西装。150年后,这种有用又易变的西装依旧在我们的衣柜里稳稳地占据着一席之地。

from PRINT EDITION | Christmas Specials (译文 danny0224, 译文来源http://www.ecocn.org/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=44338


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