30 Dec 2013

Odd jackets and flannel trousers

The main part of my wardrobe consists of suits, but I have a few odd jackets. And two pairs of grey flannel trousers to complete the ensembles.
The combination of odd jackets and flannel trousers are classic, timeless and perfect for weekends and holidays. At least for the days where shooting suits or heavy tweed are not required.
Today I am wearing a HarrisTweed sports jacket I bought last year - off-the-peg. The fabric is woven in a vintage pattern and in lovely warm colours to celebrate the 100 years of Harris Tweed in 2010.
The fabric is a third lighter than normal for Harris Tweed thus making this an ideal odd jacket for indoor pursuits. I have combined the jacket and trousers with a light brown vintage country waist coat due to the cold weather.

The burgundy checks of the jacket are supported by the burgundy knitted silk tie and the burgundy buttons of the country vest. The edges of the woolen pocket square catches the blue shade of the shirt.
A "selfie" in the mirror
Centenary Label - 100th anniversary of the 'Orb'
A beautiful combination of colours; the vivid colours of the jacket against the grey flannel.
The light grey flannels are vintage, but the charcoal flannel trousers are off-the-peg from British Pakeman, Catto & Carter
Odd jacket and flannel trousers; here combined with navy knitwear, a blue repp tie and a striped shirt with a pin collar. Drawing from Apparel Arts

28 Dec 2013

Sale at Exquisite Trimmings - a returning temptation

I feel tempted every time I get a newsletter from Shaya at Exquisite Trimmings in London. Especially at this time of the year where a sale is on - a 40% discount makes the exquisite ties and accessories affordable.

I would like to share some of the ties and accessories I find tempting in this sale:
I need a black tie - I haven't got a black tie!
A lovely versatile tie for the odd jackets and tweed suits
I adore these Medallion printed squares from Drake's

A beautiful and very versatile tie

25 Dec 2013

Sports Jacket and grey flannel trousers

I am absolutely thrilled about my new 1932 navy sports Jacket from Fitzwilliam House Athletic Club. Today matched with a pair of grey vintage flannel trousers (from Victory Vintage, London), a striped shirt from Stenström's and a Shantung silk tie from Drake's, London.

Ready for Christmas visit at my parent's
Ryder and Amies, Cambridge. 1932
Fitzwilliam House Athletic Club (FHAC)
Brass buttons
Patch pockets

23 Dec 2013

The shirt for Christmas Eve

I have purchased the perfect evening shirt for Christmas Eve: a vintage cotton Marcella front shirt. The shirt was acquired from Tickeryboo-Vintage who asserted the shirt to be of 1920s origin. 
I am looking forward to wearing this shirt with my 1951 dinner suit instead of my usual stiffened front dress shirt on Christmas Eve for a more informal look without giving up all standards.
I was given to understand that the soft fronted dress shirts went into general use at the same time as the Dinner jacket won terrain over the formal Evening tails in the post-WW1 years.
The shirt has long tails - 37" long
I am not an expert but even though the shirt is without doubt vintage the condition of the fabric, the cuffs, the buttonholes etc. are so perfect that the age is hard to comprehend.
The most important, though, (I mean more important than the actual age) is that the fit is perfect, the seems and buttonholes are excellently done and the Marcella front absolutely astonishing.
This is my first vintage shirt and I am not likely to buy more shirts vintage as I prefer the crispness of new shirts, but I went ahead for this opportunity of a really old dress shirt. I gathered that dress shirts in general might not be worn and torn to same extent as every day shirts. No regrets on this purchase, though,  as the shirt is absolutely perfect.

I only had to replace a broken button - everything else was just perfect.
Here matched with dress studs and wing collar
Even the cuffs show no signs of wear to the fold.

Embroided "52"

21 Dec 2013

Leather oil for shoe soles

New supplies of shoe cream and wax have just arrived from Grundwald True Style; just in time as I emptied my #34 Havanna-Tobacco Saphir wax the day before yesterday.

Shoe care from Burgol and Saphir
This time I also bought oil for leather soles from Swiss-German company Burgol. Apparently one might double the lifespan of the leather soles by applying oil with a soft brush four to five times a year. And at the same time improve the leather soles' water shedding capabilities and flexibility. This will be interesting to experience...
Link to Shoe polish - a daily recreational activity

14 Dec 2013

Shantung silk tie from Drakes, London

Today is my birthday and a special treat is this gift from my parents-in-law:
An untipped woven shantung silk tie from Drakes London. 

Lovely texture and feel to the weave

It is my first tie in shantung silk, but I really love the textured look and the feel to the tie. 

From http://www.drakes-london.com/

It is an exquisite tie and I love the fact that it has been made by hand by skilled craftsmen in London.
The gift wrappings also adds to the experience...

The tie will match my coming Christmas present perfectly (I presume :-)) ... the crude spun silk goes well with a sports jacket I gather.

Picture from http://www.savvyrow.co.uk/

12 Dec 2013

The King Coat

I have been looking forward for quite a while to taking my lovely vintage 1950s blue double breasted "King coat" out of the closet. The shape is absolutely beautiful with a sharp defined waistline. And it fulfills it's purpose - the heavy cloth protects me from the cold and the wind. The lenght of the coat is very becoming I think - and seen too seldomly worn by Danish men; the most common overcoats are of hip or thigh lenght.
On the way to work. Wearing a navy chalk stripe suit under my DB overcoat, a vintage green/white dotted bow tie, a wine/green pocket square from RL. Dark brown unlined gloves from british Dents and dark brown Oxford shoes from Magnanni. A black Homburg would have topped the ensemble I would say. 

The Duke of York 1932, wearing a blue, double breasted overcoat from Crombie - the "King Coat"

Cary Grant wearing the DB overcoat. Looking impeccable as always. 

8 Dec 2013

The man behind the suit

Part of the attraction to vintage clothing is the history behind the suit. For me the most important is the quality of the cloth and the craftmanship in the making. But quite interesting is also the history of the suit; the tailor; the contemporaneous people and events; and the man behind the suit - he who commisioned the suit. I only have one suit where I have identified the man behind the suit. A lovely 1951 suit made by tailor Malmstrom of Sackville Street in London.
I am a foreigner and not quite into the tradition of tailor/customer confidentiality, but it seems like a faux pas to disclose details about customer and suitings. Nevertheless lately we have seen tailors like Henry Poole, Savile Row, using historic connections to Sir Winston Churchill for advertising purposes.
My suit of which I will not give further details was commisioned by Architect and Interior Designer Michael J. C. Inchbald (1920-2013) in 1951. His portrait is at The National Portrait Gallery in London by the way - and why I decided to visit the Gallery in the first place.

M.J.C.Inchbald 1965, photo by Rex Coleman, National Portrait Gallery

It adds to the charm of the suit that I have identified the man behind the suit, but still the most important is the excellent fit (you should think the suit was made for me) and the gorgeous details in the handicraft. I bought the suit last year prior to Inchbald's death, so I guess he was the one deciding to recycle the suit. 

Inchbald at home. His house, Stanley House, in Chelsea was also his design laboratory and showroom.(Photo from The Times) . He spent much of his childhood in this house which belonged to his great-uncle, Sir Courtenay Ilbert (1841-1924), Viceroy of India and Clerk of the House of Commons)

Inchbald behind his desk at his home in Chelsea (Photo from Telegraph.uk.co)

27 Nov 2013

A young man with style

During my recent visit to London I popped by the National Portrait Gallery in St Martin's Place off Trafalgar Square. I stumbled over this lovely 1895 portrait of Aubrey Beardsley; a young man with style (at least in this painting).

Aubrey Beardsley

This painting fascinated me with it's display of both a natural style and a tad of decadence. I was immediately "re-visiting Brideshead"... 
I do not know of many men that young displaying such style.

The accompanying text

Mr Beardsley is famous for his illustrations of Oscar Wilde's Salome.

A brilliant Japanese inspired style. Aubrey also influenced the development of the Art Noveau style. Much achieved in a short life.

Oscar Wilde in his study - Beardsley was not popular disclosing the work methods of Wilde. Love the bow tie.. 

It was my first visit to the gallery but it was a most enjoyable adventure. Portraits gives me a more intensive experience than paintings of landscapes, shapes and colours etc.
A recommendable and free experience...

The entrance of the National Portrait Gallery

23 Nov 2013

Sneak peek of Christmas present

My wife and I agreed this year to each find the present ourselves the other party should give one on Christmas Eve. I received mine by Royal Mail only yesterday from Savvy Row; a 1930s Cambridge College (Fitzwilliam House) navy sports Jacket. An absolute corker! A quick sneak peek prior to storing it away for Christmas...

The sports blazer matched with a Gant Rugger shirt, a cricket sweater, and a dotted silk cravat.  

19 Nov 2013

Preparations and anticipation

A salesman I have encountered briefly a few times over the last couple of years asked me today prior to a meeting at the office whether it was a new suit I was wearing.
My answer was that it is not quite new as it's age is 81 years. I explained to him that I most often know who made the clothings I am wearing and when.

We had a small conversation on the subject of suits and at one point he suddenly exclaimed: "..but then you also need to know what you will be wearing tomorrow?!".

Yes I know what I will be wearing tomorrow :-) I also know what I wore yesterday and what I will be wearing the day after tomorrow; most likely attire for the coming weekend etc.

I have to think ahead, matching shoes with suits, considering days of rest for shoes and suits. I need to prepare for combinations of shirts and accesories, also bearing in mind what I wore last time, what the occasion is, what's the weather like etc.

And you can hear the salesman and colleagues laughing briefly as they displayed faraway looks.
But I quite enjoy the preparations and anticipation. The maintenance of shoes and suits. 

The attire of today: my 1932 bespoke suit from Eton, England. A double cuffed white shirt from The Vintage Shirt Company (Darcy Clothing) with a detachable double-round collar. A RL untipped tie in vintage silk. A wool pocket square from Reiss, London. Worn with a pair of mahogany brogues from Cheaney & sons.

The attire of tomorrow: my 1955 bespoke suit from Meyer & Mortimer, Sackville Street, London, a blue double cuffed shirt from Swedish Stenström's, a burgundy knitted silk tie from Italian Rubinacci (bought at Drake's London) and a wool pocket square from Reiss, London. Worn with a pair of dark leaf Oxfords from Cheaney & sons.
Pardon the female mannequin - belongs to my wife.

16 Nov 2013

Jeeves and Wooster play in London

Last Saturday night during our stay in London my wife and I experienced the Jeeves and Wooster play at the Duke of York's Theatre in St. Martin's Lane.

The play at the Duke of York's Theatre
My expectations were very high prior to the show as I have enjoyed many fine hours in company with P.G. Wodehouse's many funny characters in books and in the nineteennineties ITV TV series. And we were taken by surprise; the setup was brilliantly intimate and creative. And immensely funny. We laughed most parts of two hours! Well played by the three men who played also the roles of e.g. Aunt Dahlia and the lovely miss Madeline Bassett! And very refreshing to see a Mr. Wooster taking the lead. I thought Stephen Mangan really made the play. Well done, I say!
If you have any experience with the world of Wodehouse and specifically Jeeves & Wooster I highly recommend that you get theatre tickets and go to London - the sooner the better!

Matthew Macfadyen as Jeeves and Stephen Mangan as Bertie Wooster
Here is a shortcut to the official trailer on Youtube. It is difficult to see in the trailer, but audience is really an intimate part of the show.

On the way to Totleigh Towers and the Bassetts
I was in my 1955 Dinner Suit, shirt with stiffened front, black barathea bow tie and patent leather shoes.

Photo from the archives
oh, by the way I must make a remark on Mr. Mangan's choise of stockings in the play: he wore socks that only covered half the calves on stage! impeccably wearing white tie and then NOT over-the-calf socks!

12 Nov 2013

Weekend in London

This (extended) weekend my wife and I spent in wonderful London. I visited three different vintage stores during our stay: Victory Vintage in Bayswater, Hornets of Kensington and The Vintage Showroom in Covent Garden. Victory Vintage proved to be the most interesting store of the three even though only having a few jackets and suits in my size. I bought a nice pair of fully lined mid-heavy weight flannel trousers at a mere £20. The locations of the Hornets proved really small and narrow fully occupied with only a few customers.. but idyllically placed in a narrow passage in Kensington behind St. Mary Abbotts Church. The Vintage Showroom was a bit over-prized when taking into account the number of items in a not very good condition. In my opinion.

Visiting the Victory Vintage shop in Whiteleys, Bayswater. Wearing a poppy flower in support of the Royal British Legion. My galoshes are in the small black bag in my hand - we had quite some rain that morning. The Movember moustache still sprouting...

Walking pass Kensington Palace. Wearing galoshes and being well protected by my Il Marchesato umbrella.

Covent Garden 

Visiting Primrose Hill in the beautiful sun. The view over London is absolutely magnificent!