#Oxford_Bags, the Ridiculously Wide-Legged Trousers of the 1920s - Atlas ObscuraA man wearing Oxford bags, c. 1930.
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IN A 2013 ARTICLE FOR the Newsletter of the New Sheridan Club—a club dedicated to extremely British #foppishness—writer Sean Longden makes the following claim: “Only jeans can compete with bags in the history of 20th-century menswear.”
What he’s talking about is a style of pant called the “Oxford bags,” a mysterious and, yes, influential design that achieved extreme popularity in the 1920s. Of course, in the cyclical world of fashion, the popularity of the Oxford bags didn’t end with a single tenure; they came back in the 1970s, and then, arguably, in the late 1990s and early 2000s. They are singularly ridiculous and delightful, at their extreme one of the silliest pant designs ever conceived. And there’s no reason to think they won’t be back again at some point.
C’était en réaction à l’interdiction des #pantalons_de_golf (ah, Tintin !)
Two men wearing plus-fours, which were banned by the University of Oxford in 1924.
The most-cited explanation for their size and name comes from 1924, at the University of Oxford, when the school administration supposedly banned the wearing of #knickerbockers (or, more specifically, #plus-fours). Knickerbockers are those baggy almost-pants that end at just below the knee. Plus-fours extend, as the name suggests, another four inches down. (There are also plus-sixes and plus-eights.) Plus-fours were, the story says, beloved amongst Oxfordians. As a rebellion, the students decided to keep wearing them—but to wear something over them, to hide them. Something fairly lightweight and billowy enough to hide the already loose plus-fours they loved so dearly. And so was born a fashion trend.
STATE LIBRARY OF NSW/ PUBLIC DOMAIN
In the early 1970s, a new club trend started up in the cities of the north of England, spawning a movement which would come to be called #Northern_Soul. It was an unusual musical movement in that it didn’t actually involve new music; instead, it was essentially a fanbase of Northern English teens and twentysomethings with a passionate love of a particular brand of mid-1960s American soul. The music this scene favored was generally kind of sweet, up-tempo, doo-wop-inspired, pre-disco, pre-funk soul from Motown and Motown-inspired labels.
The fashion of Northern Soul clubgoers was just as specific and significantly older than the music they danced to: for men, it was, you guessed it, Oxford bags, paired usually with a tank top. But as with the likely original use of the Oxford bags, the Northern Soul kids liked Oxford bags because they were utilitarian: Northern Soul was very serious about its dance moves, which involved a lot of spinning and kicking the air and dropping down for splits.
(film de 1977)