29 Nov 2014

Plus-fours and Norfolk jacket

A while ago I had a conversation with my FB chum Tormod - who lives in the (Scottish) Hebrides - on the subject of old fashioned attire; we both agreed that the look and feel of wearing plus-fours is quite lovable.
I have been on the lookout for quite some time to find me a pair of plus-fours without much luck;  they are virtually impossible to find in vintage stores. And my budget this year is not for a bespoke solution... not even sure many tailors could help.
However quite recently I had the luck to acquire a pair of vintage plus-fours from the United States; even at such low price to avoid the regular extra VAT and import taxes.
The plus-fours appears to be from the 1950s; tan colour, belt loops, button fly. The fabric is not sturdy but quite soft - so they are not suitable for winter.
Today I matched the plus-fours with brown argyle socks from Burlington, my Norfolk jacket, FairIsle knit and a knitted silk tie from Rubinacci.
The Norfolk matched with plus-fours is a true classic style.

Dressed for a Saturday afternoon walk in the village where I live.

 A small anecdote on plus-fours: when I wore plus-fours at work last week a colleague of mine, Henrik, told me that he had beaten up many kids because of plus-fours back when he went to school. My instant thought was that he would attempt to assault me because I wore plus-fours, but it turned out that the kids he beat up in school had been teasing him because he wore plus-fours. His father was convinced that real boys should wear plus-fours at school.
People seem to have strong reactions on plus-fours; if you wear plus-fours expect many remarks and glances. My colleagues called me "Tintin"; my answer to that is that Tintin did not wear plus-fours, but more likely plus-sixes or plus-eights.

Late afternoon in the study.

As inspiration for endeavours in wearing plus-fours I have gathered some pictures at my Pinterest board

HRH the Prince of Wales

15 Nov 2014

Vintage 1938 satin Smoking Jacket - and the Gentleman behind it

I have acquired a lovely vintage Smoking Jacket in near mint condition from the United States. The smoking jacket is from 1938 and is made of black satin with floral patterns interwoven; shawl collar and sleeve cuffs in black silk; and a fringed belt.
The jacket is very elegant and comfortable at the same time; a longed for short Robe de Chambre. A fine alternative to my long dressing gown, which is more for colder nights or for covering the pajamas.
The jacket needs a few alterations to fit me properly. When ready for use I will wear it with my business suits for comfort at night after dinner retiring to my library; or for intimate dinners at home with my dinner suit trousers, Marcella front shirt, wing collar and black tie.

Black satin Smoking Jacket

Beautiful woven floral patterns

The smoking jacket was popularised after the mid-19th century Crimean War which also introduced a widespread use of Turkish tobacco in England. The satin or velvet smoking jackets were used by gentlemen withdrawing to a billiard or smoking room after dinner; the smoking jacket would absorb the smoke from the pipe or cigar and protect the dinner suit from any falling ash. 

A Gentleman retired for a pipe of tobacco 

Oscar Wilde in his lounge - wearing a lovely double breasted smoking jacket

The Gentleman behind my vintage smoking jacket is mr. Huntley Eustace Macdonald; President of American Victor Oil Company and in 1938 a resident in Denver Colorado.

The maker of my smoking jacket: Sam Weintraub
Part of the attraction of collecting vintage clothing is also the history: the tailor; the contemporanous people and events; and the Gentleman behind the suit or jacket.
I could not find any pictures of mr. Macdonald, but I could track him via the U.S. census and voter lists and directories.
He was born in Canada in 1888, sep 13th. Immigrated to the States at the age of 21.
Were a lodger at different families wile being a Salesman in the automobile industri. In 1917 he was drafted as a 2nd lieutenant in the infantry during WW1. Somewhere between 1930 and 1933 he was married to his Lucille.
He died in 1952 in Los Angeles.

Military draft papers, 1917

Address directory. Notice the wives named in brackets

Voters list 1930, Denver. H.E. Macdonald; salesman, automobile industry 

9 Nov 2014

Vintage 1951 Evening Tails from bespoke tailors "Malmstrom" - @Party like Gatsby

A couple of days ago my wife and I attended a "Party like Gatsby" social gathering in Copenhagen. 
I thought it an excellent opportunity to wear my vintage 1951 Evening Tails. 
An absolutely beautiful suit by bespoke tailors "Malmstrom" of Sackville Street; originally commisioned by a renowned British Interior Architect.

Evening Tails Suit by Malmstrom of Sackville Street; Evening shirt with stiffened front and detachable high wing collar from Darcy Clothing; vintage backless Marcella waistcoat and cotton marcella bowtie; patent leather Oxford captoe shoes by Spanish Magnanni.

Matched with my Chamois gloves and my 1929 silver knob handled walking cane 

Vintage 1930s top hat from Austin Reed

The suit has many lovely details like the quilted interiour; the silk collar that looks like a fusion between a shawl collar and a traditional peak collar; and the neatly cuffed arms...

Malmstrom of Sackville Street; October 1951

Lovely shawl collar - I have never seen such a collar before 

Cuffed arms, military style

The Evening Tails suit is perfect for such a night out at a grand venue with 1500 people; a lovely mix of swing, neo- and electronic swing music; Tiller girls and Charleston dance. We had a swell night out dancing and drinking.

Copenhagen TillerGirls; show dance and Charleston lessons for all
My wife and I at the party

1 Nov 2014

New supplies from Mes Chausettes Rouge

It is always a real pleasure to have new supplies of socks delivered from Mes Chausettes Rouge; the small exquisite stockings shop in Rue C├ęsar Franck, 15eme arrondisement in Paris.
The range of over the calf socks includes only exquisite manufacturers like Gamarelli, Bresciani and Mazarin; but the variety in colours, patterns and materials is grand.
I am especially fond of the striped bi-colour socks manufactured by Mazarin or Gallo; they are a splendid match for my city suits with their hues and fine thin quality.

This time I ordered 5 pairs of socks to supplement my wardrobe. two pairs of  striped socks, a pair of  solid wine cotton, a pair dark brown wool and finally a pair of black silk/cashmere evening socks.

Green/black stripes from Gallo. 100% fil d'ecosse. My advice is to opt for one size less than your regular size when choosing Gallo.

The green/black stripes matched with a vintage charcoal city suit and black Oxford captoes.

Navy/brown fil d'ecosse socks from Mazarin

The cashmere/silk blend is very comfortable; the socks will prove their worth when my wife and I attend the Gatsby Ball in Copenhagen next week; I will be wearing my evening tails complemented with these socks. Upon a night of dancing the Charleston we will see the value of the silk/cashmere.

The service is eminent at Mes Chausettes Rouge and they always include a personal salute

You are also welcome to look at these older posts on socks from Mes Chausettes Rouges.

Socks with some panache

New OTC socks from Mes Chausettes Rouges