29 Jul 2013

Navy polka dot bow tie

I am very fond of bow ties for my business attire. Bow ties can give a certain sense of authority to a suit. And they seem somehow more practical than long ties; during a day’s work I need to attend more to checking the appearance of my ties than of the bow ties, which stay in place.
Here I am wearing my navy polka dot (self tie, obviously) silk bow tie. Bought at Swagger & Swoon

Wearable in many different situations and with many different suits.
Here I wear a light grey Prince of Wales check wool suit off-the-peg from Austin Reed, London.
Shirt with double cuffs from Spanish Massimo Dutti, and Mother-of-pearl cuff links from Udeshi, London.  
In the library

Here worn with my Morning Stroller suit and a striped Stenströms shirt.

The honourable Sir Winston Churchill made a trademark of his navy “Churchill spotted” bow tie..

Sir Winston Churchill

21 Jul 2013

Alterations to my 1932 suit

Recently I had the luck to obtain a beautifully made 3 piece suit in brown colours. The suit is quite old and has had several mendings done to it but the cut and the fabric are absolutely eminent. The suit was made in October 1932 by tailors Denman & Goddard, Eton.

Shoulder, chest and waist size fits me perfectly, but the length of legs and arms were too short. Never the less I would not let this opportunity go and I went ahead acquiring the suit; confident that a tailor could help me with the few alterations.

Given that I had already 11vintage suits and odd jackets in my wardrobe it is surprisingly my first visit to an alterations tailor. I had read in the local newspaper about a newly established tailor in my neighbourhood. This young tailor Riis was trained as an alterations tailor in Vejle at a well-established tailoring company Strauss.

I decided to give him an opportunity to have a look at my suit and recommend how to make the alterations. We discussed different alternatives and despite this being his first alteration of sleeves with working cuffs we agreed on a solution. The buttons were relatively near the end of the cuff making the spare fabric to prolong the sleeve with very limited. He suggested to open up the fabric in line with the lowest buttonhole, insert a ribbon, and make a new buttonhole by hand. This would prolong the sleeves with 1½ cm (approx. 0,6’’).
The trousers would have to lose the cuffs, but I decided to go for this alternative, as I would get more use of the trousers in full lenght than if I went for the alteration to plusfours or breeches.

When I was picking up the suit, Riis expressed his frustration of not being able to make perfect buttonholes due to the old and frail fabrics.

But I think it turned out OK under the circumstances.


16 Jul 2013

Panama hat for shade and a certain panache

Visiting Genoa, Italy
I only got my first Panama hat this spring. Being a novice in the art of hat bearing growing up in the "anti-tradition" 1970s I like many men my age lack the basic knowledge of when, how and why regarding hats. But inspired by the British characters in the many TV productions by Clive Exton, e.g. the 90s ITV network TV series "Jeeves & Wooster" and men like Peter Urban Gad (famous Danish film director in the 1910s and 20s) I decided to try out the shade and comfort from a real Panama hat.

I must say that the lightness of the hat and the beautiful craftsmanship took me by surprise when I first had the hat in my hands. I had chosen the Fedora shape as I find it very flattering even though the foldable model with the crease down the middle of the top would be more practical for journeys abroad.

Asta Nielsen og Peter Urban Gad, 1912
I chose the Pachacuti Panama hat; it has a beautiful shape and colour, is reasonably priced, and Pachacuti is a Fair Trade certified company. Produced in Equador as Panama hats are supposed to be. 
I brought the hat abroad in May during a cruise in the Mediterranean Sea where it gave me shade from the sun and a certain  panache. You make a spectacle when wearing Panama hat and a suit (and a bow tie) in many places, but I felt well received and recognized for my boldness.
Still it is not natural for me to wear a hat at all times, so I need to get in to a certain mood to wear my Panama hat. But I wear it occasionally about my garden and for a stroll in the village where I live.

14 Jul 2013

Knitted vest for those cooler summer days

During today´s weather change it is nice to put on the vintage 50s knitted vest for pursuits in and out the house and garden. I have sturdier woolen vests for winter time, but this is knitted in thinner woolen yarns. Quite comfortable and more appropriate for a day of in the garden, than the waistcoat.
The trousers are part of a vintage 1973 bespoke 3 piece suit made by tailors Meyer & Mortimer of Savile Row. Braces are from Drakes, London. Shoes are the Edinburgh in mahogany from Cheaney & Sons. Green OTC socks from Mazarin and a green woolen tie.  

I am quite fond of the high waist trousers of the 1950s. The high waistline is in my eyes more flattering than the modern trouser's almost hip low waist.
1950s pattern for a knitted vest

11 Jul 2013

New OTC socks from Mes Chausettes Rouges

I recently received my first order of socks from French Mes Chausettes Rouges. What a treat to open the envelope and disclosing the exquisite over the calf socks from Mazarin and Bresciani in the red nosebag. All 4 pairs are in 100% cotton lisle. The quality is indisputable, but the weave is somewhat thinner than my other socks and thereby making the socks more transparent.

My usual supplier of cotton OTC socks is Grunwald. He is quite reluctant to disclose his sources, but apparently the socks are of Italian origin. The lovely green and burgundy colours are not available in cotton at Grunwald's, though, so I went adventurous and ordered the socks from Mes Chausettes. I prefer the slightly thicker weave of the usual Italian socks, but will definitely shop at Mes Chausettes Rouges again due to variety of colours. All the socks have the same firm weave and length that obviates the need for sock suspenders. 

The other day I saw that Exquisite Trimmings also included OTC socks in their assortment; from Italian Sozzi. It is pure virgin wool with a tad of nylon for extra durability. Definitely and alternative I will try out for the Fall. All of the mentioned socks are prized at the same level.

When in the subject of socks I would like to quote Michael Drake, founder of Drake's London:
"Socks are another give away. Never wear short socks with a suit. Navy socks always work with brown shoes but black socks do not with brown. Personally I am inclined to wear purple socks with almost anything, and like to think of it merely as a signature eccentricity." (http://www.drakes-london.com/the-details/the-philosophy-of-michael-drake/)

I wear OTC socks every day - cotton in three seasons and wool during winter time. I handwash my socks in cold water with a mild detergent.

You might also want to read this post: Socks with some panache

Burgundy socks from Mazarin, Cambridge Oxford shoes from Cheaney & Sons