It has been a while since we featured fashion illustrations on the Gentleman’s Gazette – but not to worry, our extensive archive contains thousands of them and I can promise that all you fans of these old pictures will soon be very happy when you see our next project, so stay tuned.
Today, we want to present to you two German fashion illustrations from June 1937 that feature some interesting details.
Plus Fours & Bold Patterns
First, let’s look at the June 1937 cover picture of the Herrenjournal. Two gentleman are enjoying the sun, wearing plus fours. Today, these casual full cut trousers are almost extinct, though you will still find the occasional chap brave enough to sport them. The name originally derives from the four extra inches the fabric that drapes past the knee.
Usually, you will see them made out of tweed in earthy colors with patterns or checks, but these here are a plain gray. On the left, they are combined with grey ribbed over the calf socks and an interesting pair of gray shoes. They look like saddle shoes with a front cap of woven leather. During the summer months, this would have been a nice feature to help keep the feet cool. In order to break the monotony of the single shade of gray, he pairs it with a light blue check jacket with yellow windowpanes, striped shirt, tab collar and yellow tie. Similar to the coats in the US, this single breasted jacket has wide, notched lapels and wider shoulders. I find it interesting that certain style elements were simultaneously en vogue in both continental Europe and the US, despite the slower speed of communication at the time. Also, note the single cuff. Button cuffs were just becoming popular, especially with a younger crowd, but this more seasoned gentleman wore stiff single cuffs with cufflinks.
On the right, we see a dapper man happily smoking his pipe. His outfit is a little less contrasting in color, though the houndstooth pattern in gray/dark gray is likewise bold. Again, the cut of the coat is typical for the thirties – three button, single breasted jacket, with wide short lapels. Since it is a casual event, the three patch pockets are just right. The way his chest pocket is angled creates a dynamic look in combination with the white polka dot pocket square.
His dark green shirt goes well with the ensemble and his tie. However, you may have difficulties to find a high quality shirt fabric in this color because most men shy away from such exotic colors.
His Panama snap brim hat has a slim ribbon and a colored feather which tops off overall look.
Altogether, nice casual outfits. Do you – or would you – wear plus fours? If so, how often?
Trenchcoat, Accessories & Mercedes 500 K
In the second illustration, we can see two gentlemen is light topcoats. In Germany, they were called dust coats at the time as they were supposed to prevent the clothing from dirt and dust while driving. The gentleman on the left sits in a 1930’s cabriolet (convertible) that was likely made by Mercedes Benz. Chances are, it was a Mercedes 500 K, though only 342 of these were built from 1934 – 1936. It features a 160 hp R8 engine with a Schnellgang – a speed gear for the Autobahn. Like we mentioned in a prior article about another exquisite Mercedes, there are few accessories that can top the appeal of a handsome automobile. To better understand the beauty of this car – the dashboard is crafted of mother of pearl – please take a look at the following pictures and short video.
With regards to the clothing, the trench coat is light in color and has most of the typical features,
including the Ulster collar. When driving, men used to wear either a bowler hat because of its sturdy nature or a more sporty cap. This gentleman wears a rather large yellow cap which matches his unlined gloves. Back then, unlined gloves were a necessity – not only did they keep the hands clean but they were also a stylish accessory that was yet another way to express your personality. The yellow of these accessories harmonizes with the silk foulard scarf he is wearing.
The man on the right wears a single breasted topcoat with a Ghillie collar. Personally, I much prefer the double breasted silhouette, but the hidden fly is absolutely fine. It often comes with raglan sleeves, just like the one in the picture. What I like much more about his outfit is the hat. Today, almost all hats have dark bands and ribbons. Happily, this hat has a dark navy felt and a white hat band with a yellow feather. If you want a unique hat is not too flashy, this is a great combination to consider.
Looking back, one could definitely get jealous – look at all those great accessories! However, there is no reason you can’t wear these today. A colorful silk scarf, a hat or cap and most importantly, the unlined gloves can make all the difference in an outfit. The car, I’m afraid, is only for admiration…
What are your favorite accessories for June?