05 December 2012

Brown in Town

Since we had such a vigorous discussion on wearing "brown in town", I thought the timing was perfect to share this gem of an item I've been sitting on for some time now.
A vintage tweed suit made of cloth so thick the garment weighs almost as much as I do. No tags, but my educated guess says this is the real deal from England, likely made in the late 1940s or 1950s. Actual country clothing, the kind of brown most definitely not intended for town, though if this were staying with me I'd be hard pressed not to wear it twice a week all Winter despite the concrete beneath my shoes.
It's dificult to do justice to thos fabric in words and pictures. A heavy tweed the likes of which is rarely seen these days, in a barley corn weave of tan and brow. A classic English overcheck in red and burnt orange runs trhough it, as well as a good dose of turquoise, yes turquoise, threads. Outstanding.
All the English details are there : side vents, structured shoulders, a nipped waist, three button cuffs with the bottom two functional, and hacking pockets with the pattern perfectly aligned.
The trousers have a high waist with a 14 inch rise, and a pretty serious fishtail back, combined with 1 3/4 inch cuffs (turn ups) and a relatively narrow 8 1/2 inch leg opening.
A button fly with a heavy steel hook at the top, forward plaets and brace buttons finish the job. The fishtail is a full four inches higher than the front waist band. This is a serious garment, a relic of a manner of dress which I see rapidly disappearing in my own lifetime.

The suit is a 42 long with a 37 waist an 31 1/2 inch inseam. If it fits you, visit the Ebay auction by way of the link in the sidebar and it can be yours. If, like me, it doesn't fit you, drool over it and wish it did. May its next owner combine it with a tattersall shirt, wool tie, high top perforated wing tip boots, a rifle, dogs, a flask of single malt and some dreary, damp weather.  Auction ends 12 December.

p.s. many new items hitting the shop soon. Stay tuned.

p.p.s. more of the usual jibber jabber to come, less shameless salesmanship.

p.p.p.s. despite what the arcane rules may state, if you have an iconoclastic streek you can wear this "in town".  I know I would.


Anonymous said...


WSTKS-FM Worldwide said...

Drool, drool, drool. . . .

Best Regards,

Ulrich von B.

JKG said...

Rends beard, wails "why is no one my size."

Roger v.d. Velde said...

Couldn't this easily have been made in the USA in the 1950s? An accomplished tailor can mimic and remake any style.

If there's no tags or labels it's misleading to advertise it as Tweed rather than just as a woollen.

Having said that, if it were my size I'd snap it up immediately :)

Anonymous said...

Maybe Roger, but the width of the boutoineirre (horribly mis-spelled, sorry) indicates an english maker. G, maybe look inside the left interior jacket pocket for a label? That's where A&S and other row tailors hide them...

Mr. Sean said...

So glad I ate vegetables and drank milk as a child: this will fit me.

BlueTrain said...

Aside from the high back on the trousers and possibly the (relatively) narrow leg, it is remarkable how the style of the suit is still essentially the basic style of today. Still, there are some differences that might be noticeable, if one looked.

For one thing, it is difficult to find a suit in a heavier weight fabric, which is a pity. There really is no such thing as a year-round suit. That is, unless you live in San Diego. Otherwise, it will either be too heavy or more likely, too light. Where I work, the heating and air conditioning can be unpredicable inside, so you really still need something that fits the season. But the trend to lighter fabrics seems to be here to stay.

The other thing is that a tweed suit itself is very unusual anymore and mostly always has been. It is more of an "everyday" sort of garment and somewhat more comfortable than dressier fabrics. Which leads me to some other comments.

Most jackets I've tried on recently simply do not fit right. It really isn't possible for me to have a made-to-measure jacket made (pants always fit fine). They no longer seem to be made to button. They are too narrow in the front. If you button the jacket, the lapels flare out but it's a little hard to describe. Maybe no one buttons their jacket anymore but how else are you going to keep your tie from blowing around in the breeze, since we no longer wear tie tacks?

Lastly, the suit seems to be missing the vest or waistcoat, which would seem to be a given with a tweed suit.

There are also little details like the exact pattern of the fabric that are in or out of fashion over the years. I've always like glen plaids, for example, but they're not common anymore.

I don't think you mentioned if the trousers had a partial lining or not, something that is found more common nowadays. It is a particularly useful feature on a "soft" fabric like tweet.

Zeus said...

Late, but in response to Roger, if it's tweed, it's tweed. Tweed is a type of fabric, regardless of who made the garment or if it has tags. The only controlled name is Harris Tweed- if it's not labeled, you couldn't call it "Harris Tweed", but saying that it's made out of Tweed is absolutely appropriate. It's the same sort of thing as flannel, or oxford cloth- it's a generic term that's applies to any fabric that meets the definition without regard to place or origin or certification.

BlueTrain said...

No offence to anyone but after thinking about it (in a wishful sort of way), I'm not sure I'd call that brown at all. I have owned a "true" brown suit that I really liked, which was about the shade of pale chocolate (the closest description I can think of off the cuff). That was at least 25 years ago and it, uh, shrunk.

This thread about tweeds reminds me of some writing in "Invisible on Everest," a book about outdoor clothing and equipment, English style, of the period before the war when normal outdoor clothing was a tweed suit. Other things were worn, to be sure, but a tweed suit was the basic garment. Anyway, the author related how someone's father, perhaps his, owned only three suits, all tweed. The best was for council meetings and church. It was his "best dress." The second was for everyday. The third was for working in the garden. It does sound like a neat, simple way to do things, at least if you live in the country.

If you don't have occasion to wear a dinner jacket or live in an exceptionally hot climate, in theory, one could wear exactly the same clothing all the time. Naturally, as in the above example, you would have a "best" outfit for appropriate events, a "second best" for everyday and, oh, maybe another second best for every other day or something like that. It sounds like a sort of uniform and it sounds like you would end up wearing the same thing all the time, differentiated only by the degree of wear exhibited by a particular garment, the more ragged ones being reserved for the more ragged moments in your life, if you follow me.

I don't suppose we would dare attempt something so logical.