The World of Fashion

The next time you put on your argyles or bikini, remember that they took their names from real places on the globe.

Ascot, a village in Berkshire, England, is the home of a famous annual horse race. During the 1700s, people who attended the races wore a wide, loosely tied scarf, which started a new fashion trend known as the ascot.

Bikini, a tiny coral island in the Pacific Marshall Islands, is where the U.S. conducted atom bomb tests in the late 1940s. Four days after the A-bomb was exploded, a French designer introduced a scanty, two-piece bathing suit and called it the bikini. He believed it would cause a fashion explosion, and indeed it did.

Cologne (in German spelled Köln), is the city in Germany where cologne was first produced. Cologne is a scented liquid made of alcohol and various fragrant oils, similar to perfume.

Fez is a city in Morocco. A fez is a brimless felt hat, usually red, with a black tassel hanging from its crown. It was first worn by men in Morocco and is still worn by Muslim men today.

Guernsey is one of the Channel Islands in the southwest-central English Channel. A guernsey is a snug, knitted wool shirt first worn by seamen in this area.

Nîmes, France, is the source of denim. In French it was called serge de Nîmes, or “fabric from Nîmes,” and de Nîmes became “denim.”

Panama hats are woven straw hats made in Ecuador. However, they were named for Panama because they were shipped from there in the 1800s.

Rhinestone (Bas-Rhin) is a district in France where rhinestones were first made. Rhinestones are colorless, artificial gems made of paste or glass.

Suede is the French pronunciation of Sweden, where this soft, velvety leather was first made.

Tuxedo is in Orange County, north of New York City. The tuxedo, a black formal men's dinner suit without “tails,” was first worn here.


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