With summer weather in full swing on either side of the pond, it is time to transition to some warm weather outfits, especially after we covered various spring suits and combinations in the last couple of months.
Let’s focus on a few illustrations from an issue of Apparel Arts in 1937:
Burma-Beige Tropical Worsted Suit
First, look at the gentleman in a Burma-beige suit, which is made of tropical worsted wool. Even for summer, some gentleman opted for double breasted suits, which were considerably warmer than a single breasted suit of the same cloth and make. This mode is a 4×1 double breasted coat with a very low buttoning point that is even further exaggerated by the length of the coat. Fashion illustrations at the time seem to favor very tall men, although the gent on the street was probably, on average, a foot shorter. The trousers are cut very full, feature standard cuffs, and have a slight break above the brown reverse calf leather shoes. His light colored shirt is combined with a Madras tie, Panama hat and a camera.
Green Slacks & Espadrilles
For more casual and relaxed occasions, let’s look at these gentlemen. The one to the left wears moss or seaweed green colored, double-pleated slacks. They were cut wide and worn high on the waist, according to the fashion of the day. Interestingly, they featured a 4 inch waistband, which was probably reinforced with some kind of rubber on the inside, since there is no visible side adjuster, and a belt would not have looked good either. His diagonal checked short-sleeved and collarless shirt is tucked in. On his feet, he wears some traditional white espadrilles. These shoes are a combination of jute fibers and canvas or cotton.
First, the soles of the shoe are created by braiding the Jute fibers into a string, which is then shaped into the form of soles. Subsequently, the canvas top is applied and you basically have your new Espadrilles. There is absolutely no heel or front cap on the shoe, or indeed anything else that provides stability, but they are quite breathable.
Côte Blue Linen Shirt, Shorts and Norwegian Slippers
The chap in the middle wears an oufit dominated by the Côte Blue summer shirt and shorts. Côte Blue is the term for this special kind of pale blue which was popular in Europe and the Caribbean in the thirties. His shirt is made with a wide collar and a flap pocket on each side of the chest. I particularly like the addition of the brown belt with the slightly darker brown Norwegian slipper, which he is wearing without socks. However, his knitted cap on his head is definitely not my cup of tea.
Madras & Shantung Outfit
I like the outfit on the right because of its rather bold and unusual colors. Just look at the straw hat with the curled brim and the red hat band – it’s hard to find that nowadays. Also, the yellow, red and black Madras patterned shirts are not something you can purchase in a store today. His pants are apparently made of natural colored shantung silk, which certainly makes for a very casual look, but I suspect that it would wear rather warm. Since silk is likely to color off in hot climates, it is of vital importance to opt for undied silk!
The Dinghy Suit & the Butcher Check Shirt
Back then, the light blue Dinghy Suit was spotted by Apparel Arts in St. Tropez. It is basically a loose fitting suit which is ideal for fishing on a dinghy (little boat). As a contrast, the gent in the illustration wears red espadrilles. As I mentioned before, due to the lack of stability, it is certainly not a very functional shoe in this environment, but it is definitely stylish. His friend with the fishing rod wears a butcher-check shirt in blue and red, navy blue beach slacks and likewise espadrilles. It seems like espadrilles were definitely the summer shoe of choice for the elegantly dressed gentleman for hot summer climates.
What do you consider to be an ideal summer outfit for temperatures above 90°F, and which of the illustrated outfits would you wear yourself?