A Brief History of Fashion in the United States

By Phin Upham

Fashion in the United States once consisted of little more than a dress providing full coverage, jeans and a cowboy hat. Today, those items might feel like a step backward for fashion. That’s mainly thanks to European influence, which brought much of the eclectic fashion tastes Stateside. Still, although leather jackets and boots are emblems of our fashion tastes, we tend to drift toward the informal with a touch of luxury.

Western wear is probably the most unique style of clothing in the United States, which has been exported with varying degrees of success to the rest of the world. It’s been said Russians love blue jeans, and Africans love country music, so fashion definitely has common ground outside the US.

Blue jeans of today, however, are very different from the work clothes popularized throughout the 1850s. At the time, people were looking to save money by avoiding the purchase of new clothes. Levi Strauss, a German immigrant to San Francisco, discovered the durable material. It sold well mostly because of its ability to take a beating, but has become a staple of teenage fashion over the years.

Over the years, the US has become home to several major labels producing everything from t-shirts to full outfits and dress attire. Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and Victoria Secret all call the US home.

We also recognize fashion from other culture, especially when it comes to Native American and Scottish fashion. Still, Western fashion is far more accommodating than most cultures.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.