Garters for sleeves: the history and future of a classic men’s fashion accessory
Gamers and tightwads, gunmen and knights errant, jazz musicians and traveling punk rockers, even office workers, have all contributed to shaping the long and colorful history of manga leagues, one of the classiest underrated accessories in history. of men’s fashion. Although often viewed today as novel anachronisms of a bygone era, arm garters have meant a great deal to the men who have worn them throughout the centuries – from practical necessity to the highest symbol of honor and loyalty. , the manga league may not be as prevalent today as in centuries past, but it looks better than ever.
Leagues in the Middle Ages and Camelot
The manga league has been making sporadic appearances in fashion since the Middle Ages, during a time when garters were a common accessory for both men and women; In the pre-elastic era, both sexes wore garters to support their stockings. These garters were often fanciful, highly decorative, and used for display, a trend that clearly dominated men’s clothing during the 18th century.
Britain’s ultra-exclusive Order of the Nobler Garter, in fact, was a product of this period, having been established by King Edward III sometime in the mid-14th century as a brotherhood of knightly knights bound by the symbol of the league. . The organization, which still exists today, is limited to royalty and foreign sovereigns and is considered one of the most elite societies in the world.
The reason why Edward III chose to use the garter as a symbol of his fraternity is shrouded in legend and has been the subject of much controversy and debate. Some trace Edward’s inspiration to the Crusades, where knights were said to tie garters around their legs as talismans to ensure victory. Others say the source dates back to the leather straps that knights of the time wore around their arms to tie pieces of their armor. The league’s inspiration has also been linked to none other than the legendary Camelot, where many members of King Arthur’s Round Table, notably Sir Gawain, wore garters as a sign of solidarity, loyalty, purity and brotherhood.
By late Elizabethan England, garters for arms and sleeves had largely faded out of fashion, but they were destined to make a big comeback during the 19th century. With the Industrial Revolution came the introduction of mass-produced textiles, which made clothing, such as basic pants and shirts, more affordable for the average person. But mass-produced clothing, which could not be pre-fitted to the wearer, tended to come only in standard sizes, while most men’s shirts were produced with single-length, extra-long sleeves. Garters for the arms were a convenient way and, for those who couldn’t afford their own tailor, a necessary way to adjust the length of the sleeves while keeping excess material piled up above the elbow close to the shoulder.
Sleeve garters in the 19th century and the Wild West
Although production techniques improved over time, leading to the variety of shirt sizes available today and eliminating the need for arm garters, there were many other practical considerations that helped keep the sleeve garter popular with certain. circles. Among news printers, office workers, and other professionals who worked around ink (in an age when most documents were still produced by hand), rubber bands were a way to keep sleeves clean and free. stains.
No less practical were the considerations for card players in the Old West and elsewhere, who commonly used garters because it made it difficult to hide cards up their sleeves. A card player wearing garters on his sleeves was essentially announcing that he was honest and good enough not to have to cheat. Card dealers in casinos often wear armbands in casinos for these reasons, although today they are considered more as a decorative part of a traditional uniform than as protection against cheating.
There is also the notion, popularized by television and film depictions, that gunmen in the Old West wore garters on their sleeves to help keep their hands free in the event of a shooting. However, the glaring inaccuracy of the pistols and pistols of the time, coupled with the fact that the American frontier was typically much less violent than its depiction in pop culture, makes this justification unlikely. However, there is no doubt that the sleeve garter is considered now, as then, as a stylish accessory for any well-dressed gunman of that era.
There is also a belief that keeping your hands free made the bracelets popular with guitarists and early jazz musicians. While this view likely has some validity, manga garters were also popular with singers and other artists of the time who did not play instruments, providing strong evidence for the idea that arm garters were so fashionable as they were practical.
Retro fashion and the return of the manga league
The end of the Old West, combined with technological advances and great changes in fashion during the 20th century, has made bracelets a relic of the past, one that is now little more than part of a costume limited to a few very professions. nostalgic. However, there is evidence that arm garters may be making a comeback in some way.
The aesthetic known as steampunk, which combines and blends the energy of punk music, the advancements of modern technology, and the look and feel of Victorian fashion, has recently begun to influence fictional literature, art, music. , the cinema and especially the clothes. Fans of this new and often whimsical style have been known to incorporate old-fashioned accessories like sleeve garters into their dress; The internet abounds with guides and instructions showing fans how to sew their own sleeve garters.
Whether fashions like steampunk will restore the manga league to prominence in menswear remains to be seen, but the move is proof that the particular look of this truly old-school accessory is still popular with some – and it’s far off. to be finished. Whether it’s for chivalric brotherhood, practical necessity, or retro fashions, it looks like the sleeve garter will still be seen on men’s arms for at least a little longer.