Thursday, October 30, 2008


Late-1940s Anson tie clip.

Monday, October 27, 2008


Sunday I wore a September 1940-dated 3-piece tweed suit. It was cold and windy, so it was well-suited for the weather.

Along with this suit I wore the following:
*1930s Mallory fedora
*1930s wool tie
*modern Van Heusen "fitted" shirt
*vintage watch chain with modern Union Pacific watch
*Allen Edmond shoes

The jacket sleeves are a tad short for my
liking but I'm not too worried about them.
The nice short vest with high-waisted trousers.

Interestingly, this suit came from that famous department store in Pittsburgh: Kaufmann's.
No longer in business, Kaufmann's was well known during the
Golden Era and one of it's founders, Edgar J. Kaufmann, famously had
architect Frank Lloyd Wright design his weekend home Fallingwater, seen below.
E. J. Kaufmann also had Richard Neutra design his Desert House in 1946.
Kaufmann's department store closed in the 1990s.
This suit is an interesting and unusual piece of history that will stay in my collection and I will enjoy for many years to come, not only because of that history but also because of wonderul piece of clothing that it is.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Fabric is the Soul

April 28, 1945
The Battle for Berlin continues while Mussolini
is killed on that day in history.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

What I Wore Today

Trying the Bold Look today. Warm but windy.

*1940s Champ
*modern Halston 100% wool suit
*1950s(?) dacron tie
*late-1940s tie bar
*brown AE shoes

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

What makes this look, in my opinion, is the tie. The wide stripes and funky colors speak of the Bold Look. It's an oddity, being 100% dacron polyester and while that might turn some people off let me assure you, dacron is not your father's polyester from the 1970s. That topic is for another post.
This tie is very soft and pliable; feels like a modern silk tie and not at all like those awful ties from the disco days. The large ribbing, like the rest of the tie, is a little unusual but it's growing on me. I'm developing a fondness for this tie.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Firearms: the M-1 Garand

Every once in a while I will break from the sartorial focus of this site and look at something a bit different.

No matter what your political or philosophical view on firearms, I'm sure we all can appreciate the history and beauty of important rifles of the past, such as the WW2 American M-1 Garand (named after its inventor). In this post, we will give this rifle a quick look.

Click to enlarge

What you see above is the "the greatest battle implement ever devised" according to General Patton. And he may have been right.

The M-1 Garand was so important during the Second World War because it was a semi-automatic in a war dominated by bolt-action rifles. It was the first semi-automatic battle rifle ever put into major use by a world power.

Bolt-action rifles like the German K98 Mauser, the British Lee Enfield, the Russian Mosin Nagant and the Japanese Type 99 needed to have the bolt manually operated before each round could be fired, giving soldiers decent firepower compared to weapons of the past. But next to the semi-automatic M-1, the bolt-action rifles could not compare. With the M-1, each pull of the trigger released one .30 caliber round without the bolt having to be operated manually. Not only that, but the internal magazine could hold 8 rounds before needing to be reloaded. This gave the American soldier a huge amount of firepower.

Click to enlarge

The stylized photo above shows the en-bloc clips that hold 8 rounds. These were inserted through the top of the reciever into the internal magazine.

To do this the bolt was locked open. While the clip was inserted the bolt would unlock, stripping the first round off the clip. This unlocking, though, created a bit of a problem for the soldier. If the soldier did not get his thumb out of the way of the bolt, it would get slammed and pinched between the bolt and the reciever. This caused excruciating pain, swell the thumb and perhaps make the thumbnail fall off. This badge of honor was called "M-1 thumb" and was in a way a rite of passage. Anyone who 'earned' this experience quickly learned how to avoid it in the future.

Click to enlarge
Disassembly of the M-1 is relatively easy, especially for a semi-automatic firearm. Field striping the M-1 is not difficult and can quickly be learned by the inexperienced shooter. The M-1 is a gas-operated rifle, meaning the expanding gas that propels the round down the barrel is siphoned to strike the face of the operating rod. This rod is driven back and pushes the bolt backward with it, resetting the hammer and trigger, ejecting the spent shell casing and allowing the bolt to strip off a fresh round on its return trip.
Shooting the M-1 is great fun. The .30-06 round can be intimidating to new shooters, however, the M-1's semi-automatic workings lessens the recoil since the bolt and operating rod take some of it. The M-1 is also a heavy rifle, about 10 pounds, so some of the recoil is also dampened by the weight.
The sights are easy to use. The M-1 has a "peep" sight. With peep sights, the shooter looks through a hole in the back sight and lines up the front post sight with the target. Anyone with an eye can use the M-1's sights.
Caught the brass in mid-flight.
The M-1 Garand fought through the Second World War, the Korean War and the early years of the Vietnam War. Today, it is still seen in the hands of rebels around the world, from Columbia to Iraq, and it is the pride of civilian shooters like myself. That record is testimony to the M-1's design and ability to accurately put fire downrange. The M-1 will live on for decades to come in the hands of shooters and soldiers who love it and put it to use in the protection of lives.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Style and Fashion, Male and Female

Being a member of the male side of the species, I've been told that "style counts, fashion discounts". And while this is true (especially today), there is a different view that the stylish man must take into account. This view is that of the fashionable female. For, while the man should be stylish, the woman was made to be fashionable.

This does not mean a woman cannot look elegant while still being fashionable. However, for these two seemingly opposite things to coexist something must be considered: while elegance is informed by the past and fashion looks to the future, fashion must keep an eye on the past while two feet march into the future. If, infact, fashion has nothing tied to the past we end up with the newest fad that disappears within a year and is forgotten forever. Tradition is important for the fasionable.

Now we return to the style/fashion and male/female relationship. Just as a man and woman are each other's counterpart, style and fashion are inseparable. Say, for instance, a dashing couple entertain a party. The dress is formal, so men wear classic dinner jackets and women wear elegant dresses and fashionable accessories. The stylish male, being tied to the past, is the background for the fashionable female, who is to be the centerpiece of attention. Like a painting, the unchanging background scenery supports and surrounds the bright and stunning center of attention in the foreground. That is the place of the man and the place of the woman.

And while their tasks are so different, the stylish man and the fashionable woman are not opposites. Rather, they compliment one another and bring out the best points of the other's dress.

So males, be timeless and focus on classic style from the past. And females, be classic while also being forwardlooking. The man's job is easy: to be the background for the female. The woman's job is hard: to stand out while not being too loud. A simple and complimentary combiniation will always be successful.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Duke

And I'm not talking about John Wayne (also a style icon in his own right). No, I mean the Duke of Windsor, that source of style originality and perfection. He was the man that men of his time would look to for sartorial inspiration: the style icon of the period.

And his closet shows us why.

So, let's dig into the Duke's closet. The following photos are from Sotheby's catalog of the Duke's estate sale after his passing.

Click to enlarge photos.
The Duke's dressing room at the Paris residence with a suit in medium weight worsted with darker blue checking. The jacket is dated 16/11/56 by Scholte, London and the trousers dated 3/4/57 by Harris, New York. Jacket has side vents and substantially padded shoulders.

A double breasted navy wool suit with Grenadier (front buttons) and Welsh Guards Officer (sleeve buttons) buttons, worn on the 1936 Nahlin cruise. Jacket by Scholte, London labelled H.R.H. The Prince of Wales 25.4.31 Made of lightweight navy worsted. The matching pair of trousers were made by Forster & Son, London.

Grey and white ribbed suit with Royal Yacht Squadron buttons. Later inserted side vents. Jacket by Scholte, named and date 1938, and trousers by Forster & Son. The Duke was photographed in the USA in this suit in 1943.

A Tyrolian suit by F. Humhal, Vienna. 1937. Grey Loden cloth with oak leaf appliqué, horn buttons and green piping to trouser side seams.

Prince of Wales check sports suit. Jacket by Scholte and stalking trousers (modified plus-fours) by Forster & Sons. 1923. Altered in the mid 1930s when a zip was inserted. Came with the removable blue cotton plus-four linings we've heard so much about (more on those below).

A rust Harris tweed golfing suit, 11.12.24. Jacket by Scholte, trousers by Forster & Sons. Jacket has a convertible collar for cold weather (I assume this means a button to which the lapel buttonhole fastens). Trousers "cut high in the waist and originally supported by an inner elasticated girdle to maintain a looser hang. The hems curve under to fasten to the cotton plus-four lining.

Pecan brown and beige wool Shepherd's check suit, 1934. Jacket by Scholte, trousers/plus-fours by Forster & Sons. I would say those are crescent hip pockets but i can't be certain.

Check tweed sport suit, and perhaps the greatest suit i've ever laid eyes upon, 1930. Again, the hip pockets would appear to be crescent.

Rothesay Hunting tartan lounge suit with shaw collar. Made in 1897 apparently for his father, George V. re-tailored to fit DoW with a Talon zip added in place of the button fly. Apparently this suit triggered a vogue in tartan in the USA in the 50s.

Hunting Lord of the Isles tartan evening suit. Jacket by Scholte dated 8.6.51, Trousers by Harris, New York. Jacket has side vents.

The morning coat and trousers worn to his wedding, with a different waistcoat. Jacket by Scholte is a herringbone cashmere weave and is marked H.M. The King, 25.1.36. Waistcoat matches the jacket and marked same. The morning trousers are by Forster & Son and marked 9.6.32 This was bought by the CEO of Kiton for $27,600.

A midnight blue worsted formal evening dress suit, 1937. Jacket probably Scholte, trousers by Forster & Son

A dark grey worsted 3-piece morning suit. Jacket and DB waistcoat by Scholte, marked 9.6.31 Trousers by Forster & Son marked 10.6.31

A dark green double-breasted corduroy shawl-collared dinner jacket with Beaufort Hunt buttons. by Scholte, dated 12.10.59 and a pair of H. Harris, New York, trousers in navy herringbone wool and cashmere marked 1.2.56

A beige and Brown houndstooth check suit, 1932. Jacket by Scholte has side vents. Trousers by Forster & Son. (For some reason, the photo was reversed.)

Navy pintripe suit with Royal Yacht Squadron buttons. Jacket by Metzel, New York and trousers by H. Harris, New York, 7.21.44

Two aluminium wallets with town clothes, and one for sports clothes. Inside are paper sheets with swatches of fabric attached. Hand written notes say where each garment is located (NYC, Paris, The Mill (French country retreat)). From the catalogue blurb: "It serves as a very interesting and useful record of his entire wardrobe around 1960 . . . The swatch boxes show that he owned approximately 15 evening suits (of which six remain), over fifty-five lounge suits, of which thirty would have been kept in Paris. Only six or so remain of these, and only five of them relate directly to the swatch boxes. The majority of the formal and Highland dress detailed in the swatch boxes still remains in the collection as the Duke kept most of his formal wear in Paris and his Highland dress at The Mill, where he was fond of wearing it in the evening." This seems to me to be an excellent idea for someone who has multiple residences and a massive wardrobe.
Source of this photo: The London Lounge
Here is that button-in cotton plus-four lining we heard about above, though it doesn't seem to be in the same pair of trousers as described above. These trousers actually appear to be the 1934 Pecan brown and beige wool Shepherd's check suit that was also shown above.
Just one oddity of a man who was very specific and detailed about his clothing.
Photos and descriptions from The London Lounge and The Fedora Lounge.


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