A few days ago I was leaving a comment on Ivy Styles most recent blog post by longtime commenter and newest author DCG (a great addittion) entitled, “The Millennial Fogey: Why Do We Get So Worked Up Over Brooks Brothers?” During a quick search for some supporting evidence for my comment I found an interesting entry on the Brooks Brothers site about the history of the 3/2 roll.
Here is it is. Straight from the horse’s mouth.
This history sounds trendier than I would have imagined (or perhaps preferred to imagine), but I will add it to the list of 3/2 creation theories. I have briefly laid out the three explanations that I am currently aware of below:
- Original Design – The 3/2 roll was not meant to look like or mimic any jacket.
- Influenced by well-worn 3-buttons Jackets – The 3/2 roll was designed to look like a well-worn 3-button jacket that had developed the 3/2 roll overtime.
- Influenced by College-age Trend – As Brooks Brothers suggests above the 3/2 roll was made to capitalize on a trend created by college age students of pressing back the 3rd button.
What’s the truth? We may never know the whole history of the #1 sack (even with the world’s leading Trad scientists on the case), but my instinct tells me that it was probably not an original design. If it were original and not meant to look like the jacket had either been pressed or naturally rolled to that position I can’t imagine the designer including the 3rd button and button hole on the jacket. However, I could be underestimating the creativity of designers.
The last two explanations both seem plausible. I have to admit that I would prefer that the 3/2 roll have been created to imitate a well-worn 3-button jacket instead of made to feed a fashion trend created by college kids. However, the history that Brooks Brothers offers above is more of a statement and less of a complete history. Perhaps the trend had less to do with 2-button jackets being passé as mentioned by Brooks, but instead the students did it because they wanted the well-worn look of the 3/2 roll?
Any other theories out there?
When I transitioned from student life to the working world my wardrobe transitioned along with me. One of the first things that changed is that I no longer had a pressing need for casual clothes. Now when I went shopping if I saw a pair of broken-in chinos with distressing or a pre-faded OCBD it garnered a reaction of superiority from me. I would think to myslef, “I will wear out a pair of regular chinos and an OCBD soon enough. I do not need to wear pretend clothes or invest in worn-out clothes to look cool.” At least this is what I thought I at the time.
Fast forward a decade and I am not so sure that any of the above the above is true. A few months ago I was reading about the history of the 3/2 roll when I saw my self perceived ability to withstand the fashion industry’s attempts to influence me crumble before my eyes.
There are two schools of thoughts about the origin of the 3/2 roll. One school claims that the 3/2 roll was created to mimic the roll 3-button jackets often developed over time. The other school claims that the 3/2 roll was a unique feature that was not created to mimic a broken-in 3-button jacket. I won’t dive any deeper into the history at this point. The important part is to remember that one school sees the 3/2 roll as inauthentic as I see prefabricated broken-in chinos or distressed OCBD.
The next item to shake my convictions was the brushed Shetland (pictured above). I have heard many people claim that the brushed Shetlands were not created (and sought after) because it makes the rustic Shetland wool softer, but because the result looks similar to an old worn sweater. I have no proof of this either, but again it is a plausible argument.
What does all this mean? For me it means that I need to remember to be humble. While I want to think that I have transcended the reach of marketing and fashion I have not. The desire to look cool is still very much alive within me (and always will be) even if my idea of cool is very very square.
Our friend Roycru recently was featured on Keikari last month. You may remember him from my post on waistcoats (see here) in which he was kind enough to allow me to use his images. I especially like this Keikari post because not only does it provide inspirational images, but it also allows us to get to better acquainted with Mr.Roycru. His dry sense of humor compliments his style well and vice versa.
One of the most relevant quotes for this blog comes when he is asked to describe his style. Roycru responds, “I have always thought (as do most of my friends) that it’s English style, but people in England (and the rest of the world) think it’s American style.” I will admit that in the pre-internet days I thought something very similar. Head over to Keikari for the full read (and more pics!): Keikari Full interview