Spring is often associated with warmer weather or spring cleaning, but for those with a passion for clothing it also means spring suits! Browsing through my fashion illustration archive, I came across a series of spring suit outfits from 1937 that show some exceptional spring combinations.
Mid Grey Spring Outfits
Even though it may seem counterintuitive to wear grey once nature starts to turn more colorful again, mid-grey is a fantastic color for spring because it allows you to wear it with bolder accessories in basically any color you want. This also means you can dress it up for a more formal look with black shoes, white shirt and proper necktie but also combine it with a light green, lavender or yellow shirt, bow tie and brown or burgundy shoes.
Windowpane Suit in Grey
The gentleman on the left is wearing a single button grey saxony tweed suit with blue overplaid and peaked lapels. The texture of the tweed provides a more relaxed look than a worsted, while the colors and peaked lapels are traditionally associated with town wear rather than country attire. His black shoes, winchester shirt and bowler hat underline this impression, while the sweater vest, red carnation boutonniere and brown gloves give the outfit a debonair touch.
Grey Covert Coat
The middle outfit consists of a grey covert coat with khaki cotton drill trousers, suede turf chukka boots, green tweed varsity cap, flannel shirt, horizontal stripe bow tie and pipe. The old fashioned binoculars or camera case in brown leather is popular again, and even the shepherds cane is utilized by stylish gentlemen such as Herbert Stricker. Unlined yellow chamois gloves are perfect for spring because they are not as warm as lined gloves and you can feel the buttery soft peccary leather right on your skin. The chamois yellow is unique and can be combined with all sorts of colors.
Solid Grey Suit
This solid grey flannel suit is a bit lighter in color than most grey flannel suits but that very difference makes it perfect for spring. With dark accessories it is a perfect business suit, whereas brown shoes, beige unlined gloves, a Tyrolean hat and a blue polka dot wool challis pocket square relax the look. The turnback cuffs and jetted pockets are an interesting detail, that make the suit unique. If you don’t have many suits yet, you may not want to opt for a detail such as turnback cuffs, while jetted pockets are fine because they are simply more formal than their flapped counterparts. At the same time, most flaps are made in a way so you can tuck them inside the pocket, resulting in the same look. In my experience, this only really works with thin fabrics because otherwise the pockets gap a little bit. Personally, I think flaps harmonize well with cuffs on the trousers and jetted pocket look neater without cuffs. However, as you see in the illustration, trouser cuffs and and jetted pockets aren’t necessarily exclusive. Note that the full cut trousers are waist high, comfortable and drape nicely from the waist.
The type of tie he wears with a single motif is also known as underknot. It was popular in the thirties and again in the fifties but today you can see it worn by the likes of Lino from Al Bazar, whom has a 7 embroidered onto his tie. Originally, these motifs were woven into the tie fabric or printed and as such they require more accuracy when cutting and making the tie, because if the motif is not centered or located too low or too high it looks careless.
Striped Mid-grey Suit
A striped mid-grey suit is very popular for business. Today, many men wear stripes that are often just a quarter inch apart although a wider gap looks better in most cases. Here, we see a single breasted worsted suit paired with light grey vest, which would also work well with a morning coat, pale yellow winchester shirt, purple boutonniere, white linen pocket square, tie stick pin and black Homburg hat. In his hands he holds white, unlined glacee leather gloves and while they are incredibly elegant, you will have to wash them regularly because they stain very easily. Back in the day, a gentlemen would own dozens of unlined gloves since they were a status symbol: only rich men could afford to have so many gloves that needed to be cleaned regularly.
Probably the most popular topcoat for spring is a Trench Coat , but a loosely woven, thin single breasted tweed topcoat can work as well. It’s certainly more unique and the color depth and texture create a more complex look. Here, it is tailored with peaked lapels, and worn with a red carnation boutonniere, fine striped shirt, foulard tie, lightweight hat in green, grey glen check suit, black shoes and dark brown gloves. As you can see, no man of taste wore black gloves back then!
Navy Double Breasted Stripe Suit
A double breasted navy pin stripe, rope stripe or chalk stripe suit is really so classic that every well dressed man should acquire one sooner or later. Here we see a 4×2 silhouette, which has been more popular lately because it looks different and stands out from the majority six button double breasted suits. This suit is buttoned on the lower button, creating a fuller lapel roll that makes the lapel look much bigger than if it was buttoned to the top button. When you wear your DB jacket like that, make sure that you can button the inside of the jacket at the same height as the outside button, otherwise your lapels will look asymmetrical and odd. While most people won’t notice it is that wrong inside and outside buttoning point, most will recognize that it looks strange.
What do your spring suits look like?