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A history of the DAKS waistband

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January 26, 2016 by Ville Raivio

DAKS is an English clothier founded by one Simeon Simpson in the London of 1894. The S. Simpson company originally served as tailors, but as industrialisation gained momentum, Simpson decided to hasten the make with the help of new machines, and change course towards tailored off-the-peg clothing. The shop aimed to stand out from the competition with quality over quantity or price alone. The goal supported them and they were able to set up shop all over Great Britain. What makes DAKS interesting is their greatest public offering to men, the DAKS-waistband invented in 1934 by Alexander Simpson, the second son of Simeon. He was a sportsman and found that the braces so common in his times did not bend well in golf or strong striding, and belts only bit into the guts, so a new kind of solution for the upkeep of trousers was called for.

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A. Simpson decided to sew rubbery tabs on the inside waistband of DAKS trousers. The shirt would stay in place against them and trousers against the guts as well. This alone didn’t do the trick, so a tunnel was cut into the waistband and a strong elastic band added inside it. This was attached to buttons at the end of the tunnel ends – and the DAKS waist was born. No more was there need for braces or belts, even though one gained or lost weight. Still, braces could be worn if needed. Simpson believed that he had struck, or rather sewn, into a gold vein and a nice, high price was set for these new kinds of trousers named DAKS. This was a combination of dad and slacks as Alexander was, after all, the son of Simeon and the next link of the family company.

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The waistband model of one James Bond in Live and Let Die

The DAKS waist was at the peak of its popularity in the 1930s-’40s Britain. It was invented at a favourable time as men would become bored with braces during their WWII service, and later favoured belts, a part of their uniform, for their civil wear for convenience, speed and custom. If belts either didn’t excite, the new elastic band waist was just the best thing. After these high times, the DAKS model has become a rare sight in readymade clothing. Likely the manifold forms for belts, so easily changed according to occasion, have intrigued more than the discreet DAKS. Still, thanks to its rubber band, it stays up very well and stretches with movement, and neither does it squueze like braces or belts. Most elastic waists have two or three buttons at the ends of the tunnel. They guarantee upkeep even with weight loss or gain. As their placing can be easily changed, I feel the DAKS model is by far the best and most comfortable solution for the man who craves comfort above all.

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Bond’s very first trousers from Dr. No


4 comments »

  1. Ville Raivio says:

    Greetings,

    I cannot say as I have never even visited the US. Regardless, the easiest and most convenient way of finding DAKS-type trousers is to have them made to measure.

  2. Joseph Runtz says:

    I live in the Phoenix, Arizona area, formerly from Chicago, Illinois. Marshall Field & Company carried the DAKS line of slacks. My favorite was the reverse pleat. I am interested in purchasing several pair of DAKS, hopefully with the reverse pleat, however am not opposed to the standard flat front, naturally with the DAKS waistband construction. Are there any retailers in the Phoenix area where I can try them on and purchase? If not, I travel back and forth to and from Chicago…any retailers there?

  3. Ville Raivio says:

    Heya!

    Few models from the company of DAKS still have this waistband construction. My favourite RTW trousers are made by Cordings and most of them have this feature. Still, with the better made to measure or -order clothiers you can add DAKS on any order.

  4. Jim says:

    DAKS makes a lot of sense to me in 2016. How to buy?

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