Thursday, September 24, 2009

Color Inspiration

Fall is the best season for color inspiration. Nearly every color of the rainbow can be found in combination during the Autumn season. Use these colors to create your own unique look.

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Harmonize your look with the environment around you. Warm colors are king: burnt reds, golden yellows, full browns, rich tans, dark greens, deep oranges; even silver, bronze and certain blues work great when the air cools, the leaves turn and the sun lowers in the sky.

Check out these 1930s Esquire and Apparel Arts illustrations for more inspiration.
click photos to enlarge

Monday, September 14, 2009

WIW: Black vs. Brown

I wore the 1930s belted back sports coat yesterday for one last hurrah before summer and the warm weather ends for the year. A nice day for it, too.

Summer is the primary time to wear the brown and cream spectator shoes I'm pictured wearing so often during this time of the year. But black and white spectators can work just as well.

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The thing about black and white spectators is that they can be both easy and difficult to wear with certain things. On one hand black and white will go with many other colors and are therefore somewhat easy to match. On the other hand most guys don't know how to use the black and white combination. They use too much of the combo by wearing a completely black shirt with a white or gray tie and dark trousers. The look is then far to monochromatic to be attractive or interesting.
The key is to blend and use as little of the white/black combination as possible. Don't use it for the main article of clothing of your look, but rather as an accessory. And liven up your look with a splash of color like the tie and suspenders in the photo below. And most important of all, keep it simple.

The herd of cats seem to be enamored with the shoes.

Friday, September 11, 2009

What Suits You: Three Eras of Suits

Let's look at three suits of mine that I've never shown before. All three are from different decades, so note the styles of each of them. Also note the quality of the fabric, patterns and construction and shape.

In chronological order...

This first suit is what I would consider my 'perfect' suit: 3-piece, double breasted, navy blue material with teal chalkstripes, very nice fit and silhouette. And it fits like a glove.

This suit was made by a very high quality tailoring company that will remain unnamed. Truly, this suit blows away pretty much anything nowadays in terms of quality, bespoke or not. The material and craftsmanship of this suit overshadow the best any modern tailor can offer.

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Vest is well shaped with 6 buttons and 4 pockets, as an good vintage vest should.

Also note the great waist suppression on the jacket. The lapels are fairly wide but not yet as wide as some Bold Look lapels were. Very little shoulder padding allows for the wearer's natural shoulder shape to show. The button stance is fairly high compared to other DB jackets from the 1940s and the Bold Look.
Note the unfortunate damage to the right arm.

And the pleated trousers with the 'mandatory' 2" cuffs as the finishing touch.
This photo shows the beautiful fabric pattern of this suit. The harmony between the colors is wonderful.
The damage to the arm. How did such a long group of holes appear? Moth? Dog? Rampaging significant other? What stories this suit could tell?

Next is an early to mid-1940s tweed 2-piece. Again, you won't find fabric like this nowadays. It is surprisingly heavy and drapes wonderfully.
The jacket has medium padding in the shoulders and very nice waist suppression. The lapels are fairly wide, would be even wider had the top button been undone. Like the 1930s suit above, the lapels in the early to mid-1940s were on the wide side before flaring out during the Bold Look of the late 1940s-early 1950s.
The early 1940s weren't all too different from the later half of the 1930s except for the war effort putting a damper on some of the more exotic treatments like belted back, bi-swing backs, the Oxford Bags and the like.
Pleated with cuffs:
Again, no modern material can compare to the quality of this fabric. This is why I collect vintage clothing!

Last but certainly not least is this mid-1950s number. Note the heavily padded shoulders and the baggy jacket with little if any shape to it. Also note the 3 patch pockets. While pockets like these were popular on certain suits and jackets during the 1930s and 1940s, patch pockets boomed in the 1950s. They add to an already casual atmosphere.
The lapels are starting to narrow down again as the Bold Look died off.
Also note the very low button stance compared to the two suits above.
Trousers are still pleated with cuffs like the suits above.
But those are not the most important things about this suit. That award goes to the fabric: nubby 'Atomic Fleck'. The colors are truly amazing. The bluish gray background dances with white, medium blue and teal nubby flecks. This is a fairly rare Atomic Fleck pattern.
Hopefully this has given you a glimpse of the different eras of suits of the Golden Era. Unfortunately it was only a glimpse, for a deeper understanding of such things comes only from the touching, handling and wearing of original pieces.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Under the Weather

Not feeling too well today so I threw on this comfy vintage flannel shirt I recently acquired and am hanging around my place.
It is soooo soft...

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...and the material is beautiful... are the buttons.

They just don't make shirts like they did back then.


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