1940s Style

1960s Style: English Suits

Last week, our 1940s fashion article got quite a bit of attention. Today, were going to share something that is usually outside our range with you – an era that was strikingly different than the glorious 1940’s, and yet bold, classically-inspired style pieces continued to anchor men’s fashion choices. We are referring, of course, to the Swinging 60’s in London. Today, we will focus on 3 fashion illustrations from England that really express the more subdued side of 1960s style.

Grey Suit With Tautz Lapel

First, we have a debonair -looking gentleman in grey and an elegant lady with hat, gloves and an orange topcoat. This suit is very different from the 1940s in the sense that it is long, with less pronounced shoulders, side vents  and less drape. It lacks a lapel buttonhole for a boutonniere, and it also features machine contrast stitching along the edges as opposed to fine, almost invisible pick stitches. If you look closely at the lapel, you will notice that it is not really a peaked lapel. Instead, the points are rather horizontal. This lapel style was popularized by London tailor E. Tautz (now a Ready-To-Wear brand). Personally, I think it looks particularly dapper on a single breasted suit. Of course, the trousers are now cut extremely narrowly (the illustration is exaggerated to highlight this feature) and remind me of the current trend in narrow-legged men’s fahsion. However, at the moment the jackets are drastically shorter and the trouser’s rise is lower than it was back then. By now, you have probably noticed the shirt-tie combination; it is not my cup of tea, as the British would say. The collar is extremely high, and the points are not spread at all. It looks almost like a cousin of the high detachable shirt collar from half a century before, with the exception of its color and pattern. In order to balance the long points of the collar, the tie know is also very long and slim. As this is an English illlustration, the gentleman would never have dared being seen without a proper hat and umbrella, despite the revolution in style.

Brown & Grey 1960s Suits

Here, we have to men in single-breasted three button suits. Again, the jackets are long and both have rather short, wide lapels. The 3-roll 2 jacket was not really popular then. The brown chalk stripe suit has angled flap pockets, but it is otherwise cut very similarly to the one with the Tautz Lapel. Once again, we can see a shirt-tie combination in matching patterns. While I think a yellow shirt with a brown suit is a good alternative to the ubiquitous blue or white (or for the more trendy, pink) shirt mix, I am not in favor of the matchy-matchy style. The man with the mustache  did a better job, in my opinion, and combined his three piece plaid suit with a blue and red tie. Note, the pocket square is darker than the tie. I find it interesting to see that both still wear cuff links, and not button cuffs yet.

1960s Herringbone Suit

Jetset London 1960

Jetset London 1960

Last but not least, we have one of these fantastic, heavy herringbone suiting fabrics that are basically unavailable today. They are really hard wearing and drape beautifully. They were easier to tailor and definitely less prone to wrinkles. On the other hand, the finishing of modern fabric is definitely better than it used to be 70 years ago. However, I much prefer a proper fit and look over soft wrinkles. In order to avoid going overboard with a large pattern, I like the idea of an all-grey cloth. Since this is a two button jacket, the lapels are elongated and the chest is very full. Once again, we can spot a huge collar with a matching tie. I wonder if this was actually a real fashion trend at the time or more and idea of the artist who created it. In any case, the brown briefcase with a metal frame is always very handy. On the left, we can see a man with a light colored suit, a sweater vest and patch pockets. If I wouldn’t know it better, I’d say he is looking at his iPad… Interestingly the casual style is also defined by the number of button on his sleeves: one for casual and four for more dressy, the classic suit. What do you think about the 1960s style, and would you wear a suit like this? If you like the article, please share and link back!

12 replies
  1. Aaron says:

    Definitely a Yes for the brown chalk stripe and the herringbone stripe suit. I might suspect that those gentlemen are preparing for a the coming Autumn. Beautiful illustration and excellent notice for details from the writer. Thank you so much for inspiration.

  2. Gernot_Freiherr_von_Donnerbalken says:

    I really like the tight but straight cut of the suits. For my part I believe the sixties to be one of the best-dressed decades of the 20th century. It always reminds me of James-Bond-movies starring Sean Connery, and having in mind, that even sub-cultures like the Mods were quite fashionable to look at in these days, I would like to have lived then.
    Concerning the heavyness of fabrics, I must simply say that you are right. Before all as there is nothing more that I love than heringbone. Thanks a lot for this article once again and greetings.

  3. Aaron says:

    Unfortunately I don’t, but as you have mentioned the era is stylish and still relevant to the current trend of classic menswear. We can always look back and learn.

  4. Berlin-Bespoke-Suits - Houston says:

    Brown chalk stripe is the hippest combination on the tailoring planet. If I find such fabric then I tailor myself a 60thies suit. They had a terrible ease like a potato sack, so I will take a couple of the potatoes out then to make it a little bit more modern.

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