19 Jul 2015

The vintage 1930s white linen suit - playing croquet in Copenhagen

A Summer favourite for green lawns and blue sky is the white linen suit. A bold statement to wear such attire - especially if paired with white shoes and a straw boater.
But as out of place one can feel in the public transportation being carried to the destination in this suit as natural and appropriate the suit becomes on the green grass below the trees and the blue sky.  

This Saturday we had a small gathering at the Churchill memorial park in Copenhagen to celebrate our chum Morten on his (recent) birthday; to enjoy a nourishing meal and fizzy drinks; and last but not least to have a croquet match.
The croquet discipline is more of a debating society than an extreme sport and we had a most enjoyable afternoon with lots of laughter, jokes and enlightening stories and debates.

Picnic at Churchill Park in Copenhagen, Saturday afternoon.

The party. Jimmy naturally in the center of attention. His white shoes from John Lobb made quite an impression
My spouse and I enjoying a glass of refreshing Asti
Guards band straw boater; striped Shantung silk tie from Drake's; Double round collar and double cuffed shirt from Darcy Clothing 

The vintage 1930s white linen suit is from the De Pinna 5th avenue department store. The fabric is densely woven and of medium/heavy weight; which makes the fall quite good and diminishes the creasing.
The jacket is single breasted with a 2 roll 3 button closing, notched lapels and patch pockets. The jacket is quarter-lined and very comfortableto wear in warm weather. The shouldes are constructed with almost no padding and con rollino.
The trousers are double outward-pleated with both braces buttons and belt loops the American way.
The cuffs are are 2" high.

Double outwards pleats; braces buttons and belt loops - the American way

Pagado or Con rollino shoulders. Single vent

Pagado or Con Rollino shoulders 

Close up of the fabric shows how dense it is woven. The cloth is medium/heavy weight. Lovely real MOP buttons.

From right: Mikkel, Jimmy and I; ready to battle.
Mikkel being a tad more formal than Jimmy observing  his correct use of the closing button on his French blazer jacket and tie not cravat.

Morten and his son. 

Much is at stake here

Observing the game. Picture by Karin Krag-Andersen

When I bought the white linen suit I was told this story about the man who originally bought the suit:

"On Friday June 28, 1940 my Father dressed in this linen suit and his best friend - both newly minted physicians - steamed away from Pier 32 in NYC on the American Republics Line S.S. Argentina bound for a great adventure to South America. For two months they ventured by ocean liner, train, private car, donkey and dugout to 'Rio, Sao Paulo (the Chicago of Brazil), Montevideo, Buenos Aires, the Great Lakes way to the south hidden amongst the Andes, Arequipa and the Quinta Bates, Cuzco and Macchu Picchu on the swift waters of the Urubamba, the myriads of flamingos resting on the shores of Lake Titicaca and Lima the 'City of Kings.'' These were the days where each accommodation was preceded by a letter of introduction, one dressed for dinner, and the world unfurled before you."

A lovely story that I Iike to share over and over...

12 Jul 2015

More on E. C. Devereux - Hatter & Outfitter... And a day at the beach

Since I first published the pictures of my 1924 knit sports jumper from the Eton Hatter & Outfitter, E. C. Devereux, I received a kind electronic message during my summer vacation from Mrs. Devereux - wife of a descendant of Charles Thomas Topping Devereux (1779-1837) & his wife Mary (née Bil).

In the missive she gives further information about the family enterprise of hat-making:
"In about 1800 Mary & Charles  founded the family firm of hatters and outfitters in the city of London and in 1806-1936 at Windsor and Eton. All three of their sons were hatters, with shops in the city of London to 1849, and at Wolverhampton in Staffordshire to 1851.
In the third generation, Ernest Cecil Devereux (1854-1936) was a hatter and outfitter at Eton from 1867-1936 - he was the last of the Devereux hatters, and the youngest son of Alderman Sir Joseph Devereux of Windsor.
Sir Joseph had served as a town councillor in Windsor for many years and was elected three times by his fellow councillors to serve as Mayor -  this was a unique achivement, as the councillors usually take turns to be Mayor (!) and in 1883  Joseph was knighted by Queen Victoria for his voluntary service to the town of Windsor."

Thank you so much, Mrs. Devereux, for sharing your family history; it really means a lot to me to learn more about the history of my attire.

Pictures from a day at the beach wearing shorts and jumper. Quite a windy day with scattered cumulus clouds. 15-16 degrees Celsius.

Playing Calaha in the sand with my beautiful daughter

Moleskin shorts; white casual Stenström's shirt with cutaway collar, vintage yellow paisley cravat; and the 1924 knit sports jumper from Eton.

Link to first post on the jumper: link

Woolen knit sports jumper, white Fox flannels and white brogue shoes from Doucal's

9 Jul 2015

Vass - handmade shoes from Hungary

My adventures with classical gentleman’s attire, searching for inspiration, craftsmanship, history, art etc. bring me many places; I follow fellow enthusiasts at Tumblr, Twitter  and Instagram like Sartorialdoctrine, Swedishprep, and Ironistsf and well-known Gentleman’s outfitters like Savvy Row, Malford of London, and Skoaktiebolaget.

Looking for shoes names like the British Northhampton-based Gaziano&Girling and Edward Green naturally dominates the social media updates, but also Eastern European craftsmen like Romanian Saint Crispin and Hungarian László Vass are well represented with beautiful shoes worn by shoe enthusiasts and snobs all over – in Florence, Sweden and the like..  

I find Vass’ U and S lasts very appealing; and as a very opposite the traditional Budapester with its high toecap and wide forefoot is not my cup of tea. So I am glad that Vass at some point back in time took more inspiration from Italian design.

I acquired a pair of captoe oxford brogues ("Old English" style in Vass terms) on the U-last with a single oak-bark tanned leather sole. Colour is "antic cognac".
The fit is snug and much appreciated also a tight fit to the heals. True UK size (I am a UK size 8½)
I am very positively surprised about the quality, the craftmanship in the details, and the design. I cannot vouch for performance over time, but first hand impression is definitely good! 

I took a chance buying only with reference from Instagram, web-fora etc. but it was a one-time opportunity: Malford of London - who usually does not do much in shoes - had this one pair and in my size! and not even just at their usual low prices, but with an additional 50% discount on top!

A beautiful pair of oxford brogues 

Antique Cognac 

Oak-bark tanned leather soles from Johann Rendenbach

A tight fit to the heals

Beautiful brougeing 

The toes are succesfully balanced between round and square

László Vass started his business in 1978: Based in Budapest he pursues the vision of bringing well-crafted shoes made for comfort, durability and beauty (in that order I believe). I am given to understand that much attention is paid to achieve the best craftsmanship and that involves using a lot of manual work in numerous processes with focus on details. I also read an interview with Mr. Vass where he states that there are no machines at the workshop – all stitching, cutting etc. is done by hand.

To support the vision of comfort and durability Vass uses traditional oak-bark tanned leather soles. The leather soles are from the German tanners Rendenbach - four generations of tanners since Johann Rendenbach (hence “JR” impressed in the soles) founded the company in 1871. The oak-bark tanning is done by a traditional ground-tanning.

The Vass shoes are priced fair taken quality, durability and competitor pricing into consideration – and are available ready to wear from £420 in their Budapest store (or e.g. at Ebay-based Ascot shoes), made-to-order, or bespoke. Vass has a service of replacing the shoes if the online order turns out to be in the wrong size - only downside is that it implies another 5 weeks of waiting. 
A full refurb at Vass’ would approximately be £100.

Notice that burnishing is not something that Vass offers, so you will have to put in an effort with different layers of shoe vax, cotton balls and a splash of water - as inspiration a link to one of the best in that business https://instagram.com/erikged/

Craftmanship in details, but at the same time visible that it is hand-made
Standard Vass shoe trees

I am not sure how updated the guide is but here is a Swedish buying guide to Vass: http://www.shoegazing.se/2012/10/05/kopguide-vass-shoes/

Vass LastFitting Description
USimilar fitting to the F last, with a slightly narrow toe box. Has a lower instep and toe cap is elongated and chiselled. 
FThe elegant F last is popular choice for it's comfortable fit around the width and toes for clients with normal width. Features a high instep.
KOne of the newest lasts in the Vass workshop. This last is elongated and has a slightly stilted cap and higher instep. Similar to the U last
SOur latest and most elegantly elongated last. Similar to the U but with a longer and more slanted toe. 
Below lasts are wider & comfortable fitting around toes.
PeterThe default last for our Norweger and Slipper models. It is a beautifully formed last with a comfortable instep height and width.
P2Quintessentially English, thus, classical and comfortable. Thanks to its elegant lines and perfect proportions the P2 is one of our most popular lasts and recommended for use with our Derby and Oxford models.
Another English type last with a shorter round and flat cap and comfortable instep. This last is best suited to the Oxford type models.
BudapesterThe Vass trademark "Budapest” last with its high toe-cap provides exceptional comfort for the toes, and is suitable for models produced with both welted and reverse-welted technology. 
3636With its extra width the 3636 provides exceptional comfort. A round cap last that we recommend for our derby models.

5 Jul 2015

A linen Summer shirt from Stenström's, Sweden

To qoute HRH Prince Philip:
A gentleman never rolls his sleeves up above his elbows.. unless, of course, he is planning on doing something ungentlemanly.
But this lovely weather calls for rolled up sleeves - sitting in the garden with an improving book and a glass of water or lemonade in the shadow of a Panama hat.
I found this lovely linen shirt at my usual shirt vendor: Stenström's of Sweden.
A very soft and light woven fabric in light-blue and white stripes. The button-down collar is soft and has a a beautiful roll. The chunky MOP buttons have an attractive light-brown hue; I would have preferred buttons of a less stout character, but still the shirt is quite lovely and of the usual good quality.
A shirt made for rolled up sleeves; a soft silk cravat or a daring bare neck; and jacket off. Or if worn with a jacket: a plain coloured, unlined linen blazer.

Today's improving book is the humorous and wise "Felix Krull" by Thomas Mann.

Soft button-down collar 
A vintage light silk yellow/red paisley cravat

Colours for summer - white linen, navy/silver bar tie, wine knitted tie (Rubinacci)

Attractive hue to the MOP buttons

Cecil Beaton self portrait; said with all due respect to a well-dressed Gentleman, but I believe the good mr. Beaton should have stopped rolling when reaching his elbows.

HRH Prince Philip with rolled up sleeves