Lessons in construction
These pics, from this Flickr photostream, are pretty damn amazing. Late 50s menswear--or, really, boyswear--is exactly the kind of clothing I want to wear. But it's in the (sigh) style of wearing these pieces, the choice of color combinations and practical fabrics that set them apart from anything currently being produced. I hear Levi's bringing back their old denim construction (a la their European collections) and there are vendors like Billykirk and Gant that maintain a high standard of wearability over time, but will the era of rugged (but, really, flawless) clothing ever be replicated? Nah.
(As a side note, it's interesting to note that during the 50s and early 60s, women's fashion seems to have taken a backseat while menswear flourished: it was the during the evolution of bonafide American style, which is in fact male-centric. Anything "American" in fashion is usually a denim jacket, a paisley scarf, a leather boot...never a pencil skirt or silk blouse. Paris has always been the center for women. Italy is menswear, through and through [even their womenswear is masculine and hard-edged], and the U.S. is no different--albeit without the dark, sexual elements of Italian design.)
Anyone wondering where Ralph Lauren drew his initial fashion inspirations should look no further than pictures 1, 2, and 3.