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Men dressing up - The male 'suit'

Sociological discussion programme. Laurie Taylor explores how a new generation of men are thrilling to the pleasures of costume.

The male 'suit': Christopher Breward, Professor of Cultural History at the University of Edinburgh, talks to Laurie Taylor about the myriad forms and meanings of a garment which has dominated men's wardrobes for 400 years. From Saville Row to Wall St; in times of crisis, as well as celebration; the tailored suit is so ubiquitous that we take it for granted, ignoring its complex history and many varieties, including the Zoot Suit and Le Smoking. Although it embodies ideas of traditional masculinity and respectability, it has also been subverted by women, musicians and revolutionaries

Also, men 'dressing up'. Barbara Brownie, a senior lecturer at University of Hertfordshire, explores how, in recent years, the wearing of costumes has become an increasingly masculine pursuit. Through historical re-enactment, superhero 'cosplay', and the personalisation of characters in online games, a new generation of men are taking pleasure in costume.
Producer: Jayne Egerton.

Available now

28 minutes


Barbara Brownie at the University of Hertfordshire 

Professor Christopher Breward at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh


Christopher Breward, The Suit - Form, Function and Style, (Reaktion Books, 2016)

Barbara Brownie, Acts of Undressing - Politics, Eroticism, and Discarded Clothing, (Bloomsbury - due to be published November 2016)


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