From Queen Victoria to Darth Vader – a concise history of Chelsea boots

The classic Chelsea boots design

Chelsea boots have long been a staple part of many a man’s wardrobe. Perfect for both casual and formal wear, the popular ankle-high boots have become synonymous with comfort, durability and timeless style.

But did you know the Chelsea boot has a rich history that dates as far back as Victorian times? They were also the footwear of choice for England’s longest serving monarch, the most famous music act of all time and Imperial Stormtroopers from the original Star Wars trilogy.

Origins

Queen Victoria - the first owner of Chelsea boots

J. Sparkes-Hall, bootmaker to Queen Victoria back in 1837 is credited with inventing what we now know as the Chelsea boot. The development of vulcanized rubber gave him the idea to produce an elastic sided boot that could be slipped in and out of with minimal effort.

In the patent Sparkes-Hall filed for his creation in 1851, he claimed ‘She (Queen Victoria) walks in them daily and thus gives the strongest proof of the value she attaches to the invention’.

The trend for elastic sided boots caught on, originally as footwear for riding horses but becoming an outright fashion trend by the late 1840s, right up to the onset of the First World War in 1914.

Mod culture

The Beatles loved Chelsea boots

The Beatles loved Chelsea boots

During the 1960s, young people in Britain had more money than ever and fashion very much came to the fore. Image-conscious youths (known as Mods) strolled around in tailored suits, drove customised scooters and wore only the most fashionable shoes with Chelsea boots being the footwear of choice.

Although it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly why Chelsea boots were seen as the height of Mod fashion, it’s thought that influences from French and Italian culture played a big part combined with the then-popular American greaser look, synonymous with leather-clad bikers.

Of course it also helped that quite a well known rock & roll band of the time called The Beatles were often pictured sporting the boots.

Star Wars

Chelsea boots were the footwear of choice for Darth Vader's minions

With their classically-manufactured look, the last thing you’d associate with Chelsea boots is the most famous science fiction franchise of all time, but believe it or not they featured prominently in George Lucas’s multi-billion pound Star Wars trilogy.

The boots can be seen in all three original films, worn by the stormtroopers of Darth Vader’s Empire. However, the black boots had to be stained white to fit the futuristic costume.

Chelsea boots today

Ideal for work and play

In modern times, Chelsea boots remain incredibly popular, offering excellent value due to their cleverly constructed design, which keeps them looking and feeling better for longer.

Samuel Windsor have an excellent collection of Chelsea boots, so make sure you visit our online store to view the complete range.

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7 terrible men’s suits made awesome by the characters that wore them

Anyone can look well-coiffed in a suit, but it takes a man of considerable talent and fortitude to pull off an orange tuxedo, a banana yellow trilby or a purple velour blazer. To these fashion giants of the silver screen, we salute you. Here’s a selection of infamous men’s suits from film history.

Dumb & Dumber

Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne

Like it or not, Harry and Lloyd were badass. They sold a headless parakeet to a blind child, offed a trained assassin and drove from Rhode Island to Aspen in a giant dog. They then blew a million bucks on a Ferrari, a royal suite and two incredibly offensive suits, yet still managed to look undeniably cool.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory

Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka

Having been holed up inside a factory for the best part of twenty years with only orange midgets for company, it came as little surprise that Willy Wonka’s taste in fashion was a little on the eccentric side. But if anyone can rock the brown top hat look, it’s this guy. He bathes in a fountain of chocolate, transforms obnoxious brats into giant blueberries and commands an army of dwarfs. Certified awesome.

The Mask

Jim Carey as 'The Mask'

As if Jim Carey wasn’t already cracked in the head, we now know that when he slips on a mysterious wooden mask, he actually transforms into a horny, green-faced goon with cartoon-character-like capabilities. Watching him rock out at the Coco Bongo club was made all the more pleasurable by his outrageous banana yellow zoot suit. Somebody stop me!

Beetlejuice

Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice

Say his name three times and enter into a world of awesomeness. Sure, his stripey ill-fitted suit looks more like a grubby pair of old pyjamas, but this Bio-exorcist can turn his tie into a friggin’ snake for crying out loud. We can only dream of being this cool when we’re dead.

The Fifth Element

Gary Oldamn as Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg

Jean-Baptiste Emanuel Zorg took office fashion to new levels in the Fifth Element. Even in the distant future, teaming a black pinstripe coat with a green shirt seems like an obvious no-no. Yet somehow, this peddler of death and wanton destruction comes out smelling of awesome. All hail Zorg.

Anchorman

Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy

Very few men would have the balls to team a thick moustache with a fitted claret blazer, but then again, very few men are Ron Burgundy. To quote:

‘I don’t know how to put this but I’m kind of a big deal. I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.’

You get the point. Awesome.

Batman: The Dark Knight

Heath Ledger as 'The Joker'

If you’ve got green hair, a white face and step-out in a questionable purple tailcoat, you’ve got to be either a serious-badass or clinically insane. Heath Ledger’s terrifyingly demented Joker was both, and then some. He killed a man with a pencil, blew up a hospital and fire-bombed Gotham City. Jeez, no wonder he was the only one smiling!

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Men’s grooming blogs we recommend

There’s no point dressing to impress if your face tells a different story. Good grooming is important and even the slickest men’s suit is only as smart as the gentleman who scrubs up to wear it.

If you’re looking for grooming inspiration, look no further than the following collection of excellent blogs, which are jam-packed with advice and useful pointers.

Grooming Lounge Blog- On a mission to keep all men fresh and permanently handsome. They offer good advice on keeping yourself in tip-top condition as well as business co-founder Michael Gilman reflecting on what all men need to know.
HOMME GROOMING – With a panel of experts doling out slick tips on how to stay on top of your appearance, they also spend time giving voice to the views of the Average Joe. Whatever your level of experience, you’re bound to find some grooming tips to help you out.

The Art of Manliness – From going to the barber shop to how to go bald gracefully, The Art of Manliness caters for men who want to be the epitome of a suave gentleman. They also explains how to wear certain items of clothing so that you avoid embarrassment whilst out in public.

Fragrant Moments – This blog deals solely with analysing and discussing fragrances for men. Its aim is to help gentleman everywhere discover the finer points of colognes and scents. The blog also has interviews with those behind some of the fragrances featured.

Valet. – A healthy dose of how-tos and what to do when your skin or hair is working against you, this blog aims to help discerning gentlemen everywhere.

Perfect Shave Dispatch – Those looking for wet shave perfection would do well to pay attention to this blog. The author has taken it upon himself to show how shaving everyday can be a great opportunity to have some “me” time.

GlamMAN Grooming – Dolling out his own feelings on men’s grooming products, the author of this blog also doles out a healthy dose of styling reality. Makes a point of trying out products himself.

The Grooming Guru – Down to Earth advice about grooming choices that matter such as whether or not to dye grey hair. Not afraid to advise on popular high street products.

MEN’S GROOMING ESSENTIALS – Slotted amongst trendy fashion advice, this blog deals in practical advice in everything grooming related. Up-to-date tips on current colognes, and advice on how to get the best wet shave.

Kempt – So long as you’re not too distracted by the rest of the site’s content, useful snippets on what to do with facial hair and bathrobes. The blog also dollops on sections of current fashion advice.

AskMen.com UK – As well as offering a great deal of news and advice on all matters a stylish gentleman needs to be aware of, AskMen also reviews a lot of products for men. Unsure what aftershave to buy, stop by here first.

Ape to Gentleman – Don’t let the name deter you, as this is an extremely well-informed blog on the subjects of shaving, skincare and hair cuts. The blog also runs a dedicated grooming tips section for quick and easy referencing.

GQ.com – Regularly updating on what’s new in the world of male grooming, GQ also has the advantage of offering in-depth analysis of everything a man needs ot know in order to stay fashionable.

Skin Care for Men – Ever wondered how to create your own skincare routine and what products to trust? This blog does its best to offer unbiased advice on how to look after that most important of people: you.

Daniel’s Men’s Fashion/Grooming Blog – A good place to go for style advice as well as regular updates on what’s happening in men’s fragrances.

Bachelor 2 Groom – Everything a groom needs to consider for his big wedding day. Including how to be clean shaved and not give the woman of your dreams a facial hair rash.

Male Grooming Review – If you don’t have any idea what to invest in to ensure that your looks remain at their top, give this review site a browse.

The Men’s Grooming Blog – Handy discussions on aspects of male grooming, with answers to such tricky questions as to keep an unshaven look that isn’t an unkempt beard.

We hope you’ve enjoyed browsing our list of the best male grooming blogs. If you know of any other blogs that should be added to our list, please do let us know sending us an email (samuelwindsorblog[@]gmail.com).

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