30 Mar 2015

Morning suit, white spats and grey kid leather gloves

Yesterday my wife and I attended the Christening Party of our niece Rosa. The invitation made no mention of dress-code - like most invitations for events with our family and friends.
I of course saw this as yet an opportunity to dust of the old topper and the sponge-bag trousers (a semi attempt to quote Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster).
This time I chose my black morning suit coat; the cashmere striped trousers; the 1920s striped pop society waistcoat; a cutaway collar Stenström's shirt; a red Antonio Muro medaillon printed silk tie; black captoe Oxford shoes; white spats; and grey kid leather gloves.

I truly enjoy wearing my 1930s morning coat . The boutonnière flower is a smaller version of a white carnation

A picture taken at the hotel early in the morning prior to the ceremony in the church

My lovely little niece Rosa in the center of attention - she already changed clothes to get out of the traditional long white dress she wore to church

In the car back to home my wife and I shared thoughts on the attire worn at such parties now-a-days.
A common thought was that if people do not want to wear their finest at such an occasion as a Child Christening, a Wedding or any other significant event in the lives of our dearest when - if ever - would they? which we both thought a little sad.
In regards to thoughts about how the couple hosting the party would take it if you were "over-dressed" compared to them my proposition is that if a host attempts to dress according to tradition you should not show up in a morning suit if he wears a beautiful lounge suit with boutonnière etc. 
But if he made no attempts to dress otherwise than on a normal day I think he or she lose the right to feel insulted.
Another part of the full picture is that if your regular standards are tailor-made three-piece suits no friends and family raise the eye-brow when you show up in a morning suit - then it is just an expected next step up.  

Vintage grey kid leather gloves

Vintage white spats from Gentleman's Outfitter: Whitetie at Ebay

Cashmere stripes, white spats and black polished shoes - I love the look

A service announcement: if you are to attend a party early in the morning in a foreign city or in a village were no Eliza Doolittles are in sight a good idea is to buy a potted plant with e.g. small carnations; this way you will be able to sport a fresh and delicate flower in your boutonnière. 

I will plant this in the garden and for a while ensure stable deliveries of carnations

You might also want to take a look at a previous post where the take on the morning suit attire is slightly different wearing a wing collar and a navy dotted bow tie: Link

Morning Suit at a Child Christening Party
007 in morning suit; grey gloves and grey topper

21 Mar 2015

Herring Drake - the 1966 last

I have been looking for a an extra pair of darkish brown Oxford shoes for a while. And wanting to step up in quality I have been watching the beautiful shoes from Gaziano & Girling and Edward Green; the retail prices of some £750-£850 have been holding me back,though.
At the same time I have been admiring the sleek, spade-shaped 1966 last from Herring. The Drake is a result of a corporation between Herring and Alfred Sargent.
A good quality shoe, based on a sleek last and built with a quality English oak bark leather sole (from J.&J.F. Baker in Devonshire)  and the finest French and Italian leathers for the upper. Made on the premises of Alfred Sargent in Northampton.
...and I went for this; I want to explore the out-spoken advantages of the oak bark leather sole

Herring Drake - oxblood Oxford hole-punched captoe

The shoe has a lovely rolled waist - not the fiddle back waists of G&Gs and not the straight waist of Cheaneys; but something in between. 
The hand burnishing is not paid much attention to compared to the higher priced G&Gs, but I do not mind; as long as the basic craftmanship of oak bark leather soles sturdily attached to fine upper leathers; shaped on a last with a high in-step; a tight waist and narrow heels; I am happy. 
The oxblood coloured leathers I will take good care of over the years to come and under my use of Saphir médaille d'or waxes in a mix of Burgundy and dark Havanna-Brown hues the uppers will age beautifully, I am sure.
I am quite happy with the finishing of stichings, the colours and the hidden channeling of the good-year welted soles. All in all the shoes appear to be of a good quality.
And I really like the looks and the embracing feeling of the tight waist.

High in-step; spade-shaped; classic square toe

The 1966 last by Herring

Made in Northampton, England

Rolled waists on the oak bark leather soles

7 Mar 2015

The Charge of the Light Brigade - or Red Trousers and Blue Jacket

Half a league, half a league,
Half a league onward,
All in the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!
"Charge for the guns!" he said:
Into the valley of Death
Rode the six hundred

The first verse of the 1854 narrative poem by Lord Tennyson sends shivers down my spine; what glory and what despear to face riding into the Valley of Death.
Lord Cardigan commanded the light brigade which partly consisted of his former regiment; the 11th Hussars.

The Charge of the Light Brigade during the Battle of Balaclava, Oct. 25th 1854.
According to Lord Tennyson's lyrics the Valley of Death was 2,8 kilometers long (half a league) 

The 11th Hussars had become "Prince Albert's Own" in 1840 when Queen Victoria married her Albert (of Saxe-Coburg & Gotha) and part of their new uniform were the - among the British regiments unique - Crimson (red) trousers. I am given to understand that the Crimson colour refers back to the livery colours of the Saxe-Coburg & Gotha family.
The Crimson trousers has stayed with the 11th Hussars ever since.
In October 1969 the 11th Hussars were amalgamated with the 10th Royal Hussars to form the Royal Hussar Regiment (Prince of Wales' Own)

Today I embrace the old tradition of pairing red trousers with a blue blazer.
Whether this tradition started as an inspiration from the appearance of the magnificent 11th Hussars or not I do not know, but I believe that my take of the ensemble is a good choice; the Crimson hue looks grand paired with the navy blue in my opinion. The brick red or pink trousers often seen with a blue blazer is not quite so agreeable to me.
As the persistent spectator of this blog would know I have indeed a soft spot for military attire.

My choice of footwear for the ensemble is a somewhat formal black captoe Oxford shoe made on a traditional British round toe last.
I have not yet quite decided on what hat and gloves to wear with this, but I am inclined to propose a pair of grey unlined kid leather gloves and a black Bowler at this time of year - a straw boater and no gloves might seem more appropriate during Summer.

My Crimson trousers were made by Military Outfitters and Tailors Rogers, John Jones Ltd. at 16 Clifford Street; off Savile Row. Tailored for 2nd Lieutenant Malyon in 1968 - when the regiment still was the 11th Hussars.

Crimson trousers, my 1932 Cambridge Blue, a navy/crimson striped Shantung silk tie from Drakes of London, a double-cuffed blue/white horizontal striped shirt from Stenström's and a pair of black captoe Oxford shoes.

Rogers, John Jones Ltd, 16 Clifford Street, off Savile Row, London

High waisted - just like I prefer

A pair of black captoe Oxfords made on a traditional round toe last by Cheaney & Sons, Northampton.
Notice the lovely detail of the cuffs made for high wrist - the trousers fall without break both front and back 

Much attention is paid to details and craftsmanship