Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Not So Atomic Fleck 2

A continuation of the first part of this discussion.

Having looked through several hundred suit fabric samples dating from the late-teens to the early-1960s, I've noticed that the popular 1950s "Atomic Fleck" was around long before it ever came under that name. My 'study' has shown that extremely similar fleck patterns can be found as early as the late-teens.

To demonstrate this, let's play a game.
Below are 7 fabric samples that could be considered Atomic Fleck. Some of these samples date from the early 1920s while the rest date from the 1950s. They are all disorganized and it is your task to identify from which era each sample comes. Let's see if we can tell what is 'real' Atomic Fleck and what is not. Leave your guesses in the comments.
Good luck.








Monday, January 26, 2009

For my 100th post...

A chat with Alan Flusser, author of Style and the Man as well as Dressing the Man.

A very interesting video. And, while I agree with him on many of his points (especially about natural fibers), I'm not a huge fan of how he dresses himself.

But, as they say, those who know the rules best can break them easier.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The shadows lengthen as the early-winter day wanes. The weather is cold and though no snow covers the ground you can feel a blizzard coming. Luckily you are inside your cozy studio apartment, chasing away the cold with a flannel suit.
Watching the people pass, seeing a snowflake tumble toward the frozen ground, foretelling of a coming coat of white...

Thank God for flannel suits.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What I Wore: Back to My Roots

Over time as our wardrobes grow and evolve, somethings, even our most beloved items, fall into disuse. That has unfortunately happened to me.

I needed to get back to my roots.

Sunday I pulled from the dark closest my first wearable vintage piece: a 1950s "Bold Look" jacket. The electric blue herringbone gabardine fabric is something else, a true marvel to behold. So, after months of being hung up, here it is again for you to see.

*1950s jacket
*1950s Lee fedora
*vintage tie
*modern claiborne herringbone trousers
*vintage 'lucky charm' tie bar
*GAP socks
*modern Botany 500 spectator shoes
*modern suspenders

click photos to enlarge

This look is somewhat fashioned after the below illustration, though this comes from the 1930s while my look has a touch of "Bold Look" to it, thanks to the jacket and tie. Even so, a dark jacket paired with contrasting trousers was a very popular style during the Golden Era, especially when worn with spectators.
And while the illustrated look is more for the summer (especially with the cream flannel trousers), it can work just as well in the winter with gray trousers, as I have shown here.

Monday, January 12, 2009

WIW yesterday

*Perry Ellis belted back jacket
*'50s Dacron tie
*Overcoat custom made in Japan in 1964
*RL trousers
*AE shoes
*Penny's scarf
*'40s Lee fedora

click photos to enlarge

I really like this tie. I estimate it's from the 1950s "Bold Look" era and it has wide stripes as well as a smaller herringbone pattern within the stripes. The Dacron polyester makes it soft and pliable, unlike later polyester ties from the 1970s.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Not So Atomic Fleck

The 1950s is famous for it's so-called 'Atomic Fleck' fabric, as it should be.

But the so-called 'atomic' fleck predates the Second World War.

Check out these fabrics and the advertisement, all from the 1930s. Ah, the 1930s: pinnacle of fabric during the 20th century.

click to enlarge

So, even in the past "what is old is new again".

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Perry Ellis

There are few OTR companies today that can accurately copy the belted and action backs of Golden Era suits. One of those companies is Perry Ellis.

And this company does it with regularity. While many modern OTR companies have tried and horribly failed to create a working belted back, it seems that Perry Ellis has done it's homework. Creating a good belted back jacket is not an easy task.

While I will not go into great depth as to what makes a belted back (I'll leave that for a later post), I will say that its location on the jacket plays a vital role. For example, notice the rather crazy 1930s belted/action back jacket in the advertisement below.

click to enlarge
The belt is located at the wearer's waist, or roughly half way down the back of the jacket. In order for a belted back to nip the waist and provide ease of movement it must be located at the wearer's waist, neither higher nor lower. Unfortunately for us today most companies that try the belted back tend to locate the belt too low, down around the hips where it provides absolutely no waist suppression or ease of movement.

Keep this in mind as we examine a Perry Ellis jacket.

This jacket was found at Younkers, on sale for $50. While I'm a size 38R the smallest left was a 40R but it's a fine fit, though 38 would have been perfect.
A couple details. It has a working ticket pocket as well as working cuff buttonholes, two on each sleeve. It also has a patch on the right shoulder, giving it a travel/hiking/shooting jacket feel. It is fully lined with three internal pockets and sweat guards under the armpits. Neat little details make this jacket.
click to enlarge
Notice that the belt sits at or ever so slighly lower than my waist. This helps create the slight waist suppression.

Breast pocket showing the working gusset.
A medium weight twill material. The jacket itself is rather heavy thanks to the full lining.

This is not the only belted back jacket that Perry Ellis offers. At this link you will find another very vintage single-breasted peaked-lapel jacket with a nice belted back. The windowpane fabric pattern also adds to the overall look, as does the high button stance and short skirt length.

I would not hesitate to purchase another Perry Ellis jacket. This company seems to have done its homework and for that it should be commended.


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