With the warm summer arriving early this year, it is about time to talk about some decent summer outfits. Today, I want to focus on a combination from Apparel Arts which was published in 1933 and drawn by Laurence Fellows. The two core items of this outfit are black and white flannel pants, and a DB jacket in a brown gabardine.
The pattern of these worsted-flannel pants is supposedly a shepherd’s check, which is similar to a houndstooth/dogtooth pattern. The difference between the two is that the shepherd’s check has smoother edges from black to white. The cut of the pants is fuller than what you would usually see today, and it probably has two pleats. The cuff is about 1.5″ and quite regular, while the pants are quite short, not even touching the shoes. This is especially desirable during summer since the ankle and the foot experience a nice breeze.
The dark-brown gabardine jacket is 6×2 double-breasted, with the horizontal button stance being relatively large. For a summer coat, this is not ideal in my opinion because the two layers of fabric cover a large part of the torso, causing the wearer to feel even warmer. The lapels are quite wide, and cut with a little belly—quintessential 1930’s. The collar is not short and the gorge sits a bit lower than what you would see nowadays on many jackets. Overall, though, this is very classic. The closing button position is slightly above the waist and emphasizes the long leg line of the wearer in the picture. The lower flap pockets are aligned with the lower row of the buttons, which gives the coat a harmonic look. However, the ticket or cash pocket is positioned in the middle between two rows of buttons. Another feature of the 30’s are the wide shoulders combined with a decent amount of waist suppression and some fullness over the chest. Despite the wide lapels, the breast pocket is located very close to the armpit. Today, this pocket would usually be positioned further inside and be partially covered by the lapel.
The light blue shirt has an open weave and a classic turndown collar. Alternatively, a shirt in ivory would be just as fine. Bear in mind that, when it is hot outside, single cuffs wear considerably cooler than double cuffs since there is just one layer of cloth around your wrist instead of two.
We have an eye-catching boater hat with a ribbon in navy and burgundy, and a batwing bow tie in yellow and orange-red. On top we can see a flamboyantly tucked-in pocket square. Altogether this might be a little over the top for some men today, especially considering the fact that a boater is hardly seen any more. However, if you exchange the boater for some sunglasses, and the bow tie for a scarf or a tie, the outfit is perfectly wearable again and does not seem like a costume at all, while the white leather shoes underline the casual character of this ensemble.
If you prefer not to wear a double breasted jacket at all during the warmer months of the year, then you could switch the patterns and wear a single-breasted shepherd’s check coat with some brown gabardine chinos, and you would look at least as good. In any case, Laurence Fellows provides us with plenty of inspiration for coming summer outfits.