With fall approaching, it is time again to look at the elegant gentleman from the 1930’s and his wardrobe. Apparel Arts always observed the fashion developments at the time very closely and also made predictions about future trends. Of course, not everything in their forecast actually turned out to be popular, though since their predictions were based on current British dress habits, they were often spot on.
The Covert Coat
The gentleman on the left wears a double breasted covert coat with a ticket pocket (back then also known as cash pocket). As you can see, it has the typical five rows of decorative stitching on the hem as well as the cuffs and (althoug not visible in the picture). It is also applied along the back seam of the garment. The overall buttoning point of the 6×3 DB overcoat is rather low, and we could write so much about the covert fabric itself, though we will write about in a separate article. Underneath the overcoat, we can see the navy blue trousers of a suit, which were paired with light blue batiste shirt and white starched collar. The shepherd check bow tie, bowler/derby hat, plain black shoes and rattan pipe stem handle cane.
Obviously, this is a business outfit for town wear, however, the covert coat works also perfectly well with tweed and a snap brim hat. You may have noticed there is no outer chest pocket on this coat, but in town you can set an accent with a boutonniere – in this case a deep red carnation.
The chap to his right wears a stroller suit with a 6×2 double breasted oxford grey jacket and striped trousers. The plain black straight tip shoes, white pleated bosom shirt with rounded wing collar, blue polka dot foulard ascot and black homburg hat make for a very formal look. Especially the Malacca cane, wing collar with ascot and the white unlined mocca gloves are not seen anymore. If men would actually wear all of these accessories, they’d seriously risk being regarded as a fanatic in period costume. The dark blue blue topcoat, on the other hand, would be perfectly acceptable and the homburg hat shape is definitely one of my favorites. Back then, this outfit was considered to be well-suited for more formal town wear and gentlemanly drinking. Today, it could make for a good wedding suit or even business suit if you exchange the ascot for a tie, the wing collar for a turndown collar and leave the cane at home.
Herringbone Cheviot Suit
Here we can see a beautiful two-button notched lapel black and white herringbone cheviot suit. I really like the large scale pattern which is softened by the texture of the fabric. The high buttoning point, and the visible decorative stitching (also referred to as welt seam) along the hem and pocket flaps result into a more casual outfit, despite the fact, that he wears black shoes and a vest with lapels. The blue stripe broadcloth shirt with a round, soft collar, black foulard tie with light blue figures, and dark blue silk handkerchief are subtle and complement the suit. In order to create a little excitement, the gentleman chose a green snap brim hat with a casual bow in the back, buff color gloves and white ash cane. The shoulders seem natural for the thirties but, in general, they all had some amount of padding.
Bear in mind, however, that these illustrations are often idealized, resulting in men with extremely long legs and long torso. Just look at the length of the coat here!
Brown 3 Piece Suit – Black Accessories
To his right, we have a man in a two-button brown worsted suit with notched lapels and a double breasted waistcoat with a quite some overlap. It is combined with a grey oxford shirt and white starched collar, a black and coral striped repp silk tie, and a black Homburg hat. The outfit is enhanced by black captoe Oxford shoes, milk chocolate brown pigskin gloves and a blue overcoat. This outfit has a couple of interesting points. First, we see a double breasted vest which had been on the decline, even back then, and today they are almost exclusively reserved for bespoke clients. Second, usually the double breasted vest is paired with a peak lapel but not so in this case and lastly we do have a combination of black hat and black shoes with a dark brown suit. Sometimes, people claim that brown and black do not go together – well, this is quite the argument against that!
Altogether, I hope I was able to provide some inspiration for interesting yet not too flamboyant fall outfits. While canes are hopelessly out of favor these days, a nice pair of gloves or pattern may give you that special look you were hoping for.