The windbreaker first became popular as an item of informal outerwear in the 1970s, but its history can be traced back almost 500 years. It is similar to, and de scended from, the parkas worn by Inuits in arctic conditions. In fact, the word "anorak" is derived from the Danish interpretation of the Inuit word annoraaq.
In one version, the Inuit parka was made of two animal skins (either seal or caribou) sandwiched together, with the skin side of each facing outward and the hair side facing inward to trap warm air and retain it for insulation purposes. Although it was not a rain garment as such, it was generally waterproofed, using seal gut until other methods were introduced during the nineteenth century. These parkas were adapted by Western polar explorers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and modified versions entered the twentieth-century sports wardrobe. Parkas became standard wear for skiing and other winter sports, and gradually were adopted for ordinary outdoor use in the winter. After World War II, nylon and other artificial-fiber textiles replaced animal skins in the production of parkas, and advances in the development of waterproof fabrics and efficient insulating materials led to the production of parkas that were thinner and less bulky than older versions. During the 1970s, anoraks and other forms of casual jackets grew in popularity among younger men searching for outerwear that was both functional and fashionable.
Modern windbreakers are usually made from nylon, poly-cotton, or nylon/cotton mixes. These fabrics may be rubberized, oiled, or treated with other waterproofing finishes; at the more expensive end of the market, the garments are designed with stormproof taping on all seams to make them impenetrable to the rain. The modern version is also cut slightly longer to cover the buttocks; cuffs are elasticized and pockets are often slanted for ease of entry, and are at hip level. The hood should fold down, close with a drawstring, and either fit into the collar or be detachable.
The windbreaker has had a significant impact on men's fashions. The rise of sportswear during the 1970s coincided with a boom in spectator sports, such as both soccer (known as football in Europe) and American football. Fans who filled stadiums in cold weather wanted good-looking protection from the elements, and numerous designers offered versions of the windbreaker to fill that demand. In the early twenty-first century, nearly every sportswear and casual-wear company has a version of a windbreaker in its collection. Most are produced to keep the wearer warm during sporting activities such as golf, boating, football, or tennis. More significantly, the windbreaker has taken the place of raincoats and overcoats in most younger men's wardrobes.
See also Outerwear; Parka. BIBLIOGRAPHY
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Byrde, Penelope. The Male Image: Men's Fashion in England
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WINDOW DISPLAYS The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw an evolution in shopping spurred by a faster turnover of manufactured "fashionable" goods and an increase in department stores selling them. These shops pioneered new techniques of window display. Rather than piling their stock up—as had been common in markets and bazaars—they sold goods in mannered and self-conscious window displays, intended to sell nonessential goods.
In cities, where competition was strongest, stores had larger windows and more frequently changing displays. A visitor to London in 1786 wrote of "A cunning device for showing women's materials whether they are silks, chintzes, or muslins, they hang down in folds behind the fine high windows so that the effect of this and that material, as it would be in the ordinary folds of a woman's dress, can be studied" (Adburgham, p. 6). This comment suggests that there was an awareness of sophisticated marketing techniques and a developing vocabulary for display in the late eighteenth century, which would be developed but not improved upon by later generations.
By the nineteenth century the small store with glass windows and some form of gas lighting dominated the main street. The arrival of department stores in the 1850s—multistoried buildings that utilized plate glass in long, uninterrupted window displays—would herald a new display aesthetic. Fashion goods began to be displayed in lifelike room settings, with mannequins. Known as "open displays," these windows relied on themes and narratives, rather than sheer quantity of goods, for visual impact. The window display was now contextualizing goods, giving them precise domestic or cultural settings and imparting qualities other than practicality and price. In these displays the fixtures, stands, and mannequins, came into their own. Unfashionable stock goods continued to be displayed as though they were on a market stall—piled high or stacked in rows in the windows in "massed displays."
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