13 February 2012

Brushing Off My Tails....

Every so often, an item comes into my possession that is simple to precious to be put up for sale directly in the Shop. Oddly, the last time this happened was with an antique morning coat, and this time it is an equally beautiful antique set of evening tails, not far unlike the suit worn by our man Fred Astaire so often in the 1930s.

Honestly, I sometimes feel that I may actually live to see the demise of garments such as these, and that's a shame. In a world where "dressed up" to often connotes merely a tucked in shirt and a pair of socks, we could use a little more formality, just to make our most special occasions seem, you know, special, or something.

So here we have a vintage tail coat, possibly 1930s, though maybe not that old. It's rendered in hefty but soft black wool, with lapels faced in grosgrain silk, grosgrain covered button too match. 38 inch chest, with about a 32 waist and sleeves 26 inches from shoulder to cuff. The armholes are high and the lines tight and sharp, for an thin athletic fellow of about 5'10".

See what I mean about the lines being sharp and tight? Clearly, there will be no slouching or incorrect posture in a garment such as this. But then again, any man would stand up straighter when he looks this good.
Cloth covered button at the back, a hooked vent, waist seam and closed pleats running the length of each tail. The construction of this thing reminds me of very old military dress uniforms.

Note the curved seams running up the back from the waist to the shoulder.

Traditional six button front with wide peaked lapels and a slanted breast pocket. There is a loop to hold a flower stem behind the left lapel just below the button hole.

Four button cuffs with faux button holes...

and some serious formal darts to give the unmistakable shape of a proper tail coat. The detailing and workmanship are off the charts here.

Complete with matching trousers, 32 inch waist with a high 15 inch rise, 30 inch inseam with about an inch to let down, featuring a watch pocket on the right and forward pleats...
Button fly and a v-notch at the back of the waist band.

A silk ribbon matching the lapels runs down the out seams, and the legs are cut somewhat wide with a slight taper. Think of all those Apparel Arts illustrations you've seen.

From Roger Kent. Perfunctory research tells me that Roger Kent was a men's shop with three locations in New York, most notably on Madison Avenue near Brooks Brothers, J. Press and F.R. Tripler, a store in New Haven, and another in Philadelphia. You can guess who the clientele must have been. Oddly, this was unearthed in the same place as the fancy robe I recently found. You have to wonder if it was the same guy.

The condition is excellent, though of course a pressing would be in order. Other than one tiny hole, less than 1/16 inch in diameter near the outer pleat on the right leg, there are no discernible defects.I'm entertaining offers on this suit. Offers and/or questions may be directed to anaffordablewardrobe@yahoo.com. Please remember, a slim man of approximately 5'10", 38 chest, 32 waist will fit into this suit. Only the suit (jacket and trousers) are included, not the necessary dress shirt, white tie and white pique waistcoat, or for that matter, top hat.

Please, someone give this a good home and find some way to wear it. Things like this don't to die, and your gal will be thrilled with whatever place you can take her to that would merit such a suit.

After all, this could be you:

14 comments:

theoldroad said...

Oh lord, that is quite nice looking. And exactly my size...

gentleman mac said...

I would not be surprised if the waistcoat was hiding somewhere at the same shop. The suit is quite gorgeous.

randall said...

Man. If only I had the moves like Astaire (No apologies to Maroon 5). Sadly, I'd put that on and trip over my two left feet.

Chens said...

I've been wearing tails for about 16 years. Take up vintage (Victorian) dancing and you'll have an excuse to wear them a few times a year.

Philip said...

If I thought I would ever have a chance to wear them . . .

Anonymous said...

I learned to tap dance because of Fred Astaire.

bostonhud said...

That Astaire video was much more man-ly than I expected.
Thanks for posting- I've got some YouTube-ing to do.

Thad said...

Too bad my days of regular dress occasions are (probably) behind me for good. My tux is all ready only getting about one good airing a year! While I would love to have the tails, I don't know what the wife would say ...

Jho78 said...

Sure, it WOULD have to be my size. Boy, would that thing collect some dust in my closet!

Young Fogey said...

Wow. That is beautiful.

I understand that any sort of body coat such as this required the highest tailoring abilities, and not everyone who made clothes for a living could make a decent tailcoat.

This is the real deal. Whoever snatches it up is going to have a beautiful heirloom piece.

P.S.: I understand that this is the sort of thing you need for competitive ballroom dancing.

Kionon said...

Sadly, G, the only measurement that fits me there is the length. Not even remotely close to a 38 chest or 32 waist. I could fit another half of me into that...

Tailor Dan said...

I take it don't still have this do you?

Giuseppe said...

Dan,

I sold it to a professional classical musician, someone who will actually wear it with some frequency.

Nothing like finding a loving home for a poor destitute orphan.

Anonymous said...

Play 'cello in a symphony orchestra & you also get to wear tails :)
Or frequent upper class weddings which take place after 6 pm which is the correct time to wear black-tails (otherwise the earlier day-time tails are known as a morning coat which is not the same thing as tails.)