It’s been a while since I’ve posted something on true vintage clothing! Luckily I was invited to a Christmas party hosted by Reese’s Vintage Pieces, so I was able to break out my Golden Era clothes and spend some time in style with friends, both new and old! You’ll be able to see some fantastic vintage tailoring, filled with subtle details and history that you just can’t get with modern clothing. They just don’t make them like this anymore, other than going full bespoke!
Ethan in a Three Piece
This is one of my favorite suits of all time. It’s a 1930’s winter suit, cut from a scratchy brown (with a subtle green stripe) wool. You can’t tell from the pictures, but this suit is beat to hell, with patches and rips all over the place. Even though its not in the best condition, you don’t really see the repairs unless you’re up close or wearing it! Either way, this suit is a fantastic piece of history. The fact that its been repaired so many times means that the owner must have held on the suit as long as he could before giving it up!
Plus, a three piece in any era (modern or vintage) is always a prized garment to own! Having it in brown gives you three separate pieces to play with.
I’m always a big fan of combining browns with blues; in fact, those two are my favorite colors! To keep with the “rough” nature of the suit, I went with my favorite custom shirt: a 1930’s style spearpoint collar shirt made from denim. To play with the green stripes in the suit, I chose a 1930’s green polka dot tie.
Just look at the silhouette and design of this suit! Like I’ve said many times, vintage suits aren’t baggy. Yes, there are padded shoulders, but they aren’t too exaggerated. There is also an extremely nipped waist which, along with the shoulders, give you an fantastic figure. We’ve talked about this use of tailoring to project the “desired male physique” and this suit certainly fits the bill. I swear I don’t look this good under the suit. Additionally, this specific design of lapel (low gorge, and downturned “drooping” lapel) is something that you just can’t find today! Each era has its own style of lapel, and the 1930’s design just appeals to me!
Just like we talked about in the three piece ivy suit post, this is what the ideal vest and trouser combo should look like. The vest should cover the waist band of the trousers as to create a “continuous” image of a suit. Additionally, it shouldn’t be too loose; a good vest will be fitted to give you maintain the slim silhouette!
1930’s Brown suit, custom denim spearpoint shirt from Natty shirts, 1930’s tie, AE shoes (eBay)
Blake the Belted Man
Blake has another example of excellent vintage tailoring. At almost 6 foot tall with a 16 inch shoulder and 28 inch waist, you would assume that Blake would be against wearing suits. However his navy blue suit is from the 1930’s. which (like my suit) add shoulder padding, a nipped waist, and a semi-wide (yet straight) leg to give him a much better silhouette. It’s just the magic of the double breasted suit. And honestly, the suit doesn’t even look vintage on him! It just fits him extremely well.
I also want to add the detail that this suit was stamped 1937 on the inside label. Cool details like that, whether it be dates, owner names, or tailor labels, are why I think vintage is pretty awesome!
Here’s the secret of his waist suppression: a belt back. It’s not an action back with arm hole pleating , but its still an awesome detail nonetheless! The half belt gathers the excess fabric in the back of the jacket and generates the waist suppression. Most guys don’t like having detailing on the back of a suit jacket or sportcoat, but I think its a dope detail.
It was pretty damn cold that night (dipped down to near 40F) so wearing a a nice sweater vest is a great touch that’s not only practical, but stylish. Even with something as “basic” as a blue DB suit it’s the extra details like the fair isle sweater vest, spearpoint collar (with collar bar), and puffed out pocket square that definitely make his look 1930s-1940s.
1940’s blue belt-back suit, custom spearpoint shirt from Natty shirts, 1940’s sweater vest, 1930’s tie.
Spencer the Pattern Master
While I do like to mix patterns, Spencer really took the cake on this one. At first glance, it seems like a pretty normal outfit, with charcoal pants and a light grey houndstooth jacket. Its jut one of those outfits that gets more interesting the closer you look at it. Let’s dive in.
Boom. Just look at that pattern mixing. Its definitely not something thats recommended for beginners, but its something that can give inspiration! Note that Spencer plays with with scale in order to make it work. Honestly, its a bit much for me (I prefer simple stripes and prints instead of checks) but Spencer wears it well!
Also super fans of Street x Sprezza may notice that this jacket is the 1960’s belt back (with awesome pleated pockets) that Spencer wore on on this post on Pitti Uomo, as well as remember the vest and trousers are from our first coverage of Dapper Day!
1960’s Beltback Jacket, custom spearpoint shirt from Natty Shirts, 1940’s bold tie, 1950’s Saville Row waistcoat and trousers.
Tony is actually a new friend of mine and its my pleasure to feature him! He’s actually a fantastic example of doing a 1930’s look with modern clothing. He pairs a gorgeous Steed Bespoke (a Saville row tailor) triple patch pocket jacket in a brown and blue glen plaid with a denim shirt, polka dot tie, and brown trousers. Bonus points for wearing a denim jacket like me!
It’s important to note how similar his jacket is to my own. He has wide “drooping” lapels, roped shoulders, a similar button configuraton, and a jacket length that is very much classic. Overall, it’s a sharp contrast to the Italian focused designs of the current tailoring trends. Steed may be British, but it looks pretty 1930’s American tailoring to me! I guess it goes to show that you definitely can get a vintage aesthetic on your suits and sportcoats without going full vintage!
I actually met Tony because he is an avid reader of my blog! I say his outfit is pretty close to what I like to wear. Plus he’s even wearing black shoes with brown trousers! Hopefully I’ll get to feature Tony more on the blog! His experience with bespoke I definitely want to explore.
Steed Bespoke Jacket, MyTailor denim shirt and pocket square, Fort Belvadere polkadot tie, 1950’s heavy serge brown trousers, Carmina single monkstraps
Here are a few snapshots of the party! We had a fun White Elephant gift exchange after enjoying hamburgers grilled by Benny himself! Most of the guests were wearing vintage clothing, which usually turns the party into a Pitti Uomo of sorts! You can see the different types of vintage style here.
It’s time to talk about shoes. I’m not the best shoe guy, but these bad boys are worth talking about. Oviatt’s was the premiere design house of the Golden Era. They produced some of the best suits, ties, shirts, and shoes of all time until their closure in the 1950’s. From what I’ve gathered, they went out of business because they couldn’t keep up with the changing trends as they kept producing 1930’s style suits and other garments until the 1950’s.
Benny got his hands on some deadstock, unworn shoes and the ones pictured above are just an example. Just look at them; they’re beautiful! You might be able to find a similar looking pair at Alden, Carmina, or Allen Edmonds, but most guys will never be able to see an Oviatt like this in person. They have a very defined waist, giving figure to your foot. Like many things from the Golden Era, they are hand made which results in fantastic arch support that you can’t find with machine made shoes. Luckily, Tony became the new owner of these gorgeous shoes! I’m sure he’ll enjoy them and wear them well.
The party definitely a fun time! Not many people dress up for Christmas anymore, let alone a regualr party, so it’s nice that I’m able to experience these types of occasions with like minded (and styled) people! Hopefully you were able to gain an appreciation of vintage tailoring by reading this post. Or, at the very least, you are able to get some inspiration for your own sartorial holiday outfits, whether you decide to go full vintage or a modern interpretation!
Always a pleasure,
Street x Sprezza
Photography by Ethan W., Vince H., and Kyle E.
Thanks Ethan for inviting me to the party! Those spectators have been given a spit shine and are now ready for their first outing! http://bespokewrinkles.com/post/154685584330/behold-a-pair-of-vintage-mcafee-oviatt-deadstock
Hey Ethan! I think that club jacket is actually an original costume piece for some version of how to succeed in business without really trying.
Woah no way! Do you have a link or screen shot?
No screenshot but the WWW in the show stands for world wide wicket it’s for the scenes in the mail room. this photo is from the original production in the 60’s
I was going to echo Andrew’s post, there is a scene in “How To Succeed…” where the men in the office ( World Wide Wicket Corp) wear jackets like that. Could be from any production, as it originated in the 60’s (starring the great Robert Morse from Mad Men). Pretty neat jacket!
Hello, Ethan. Great post!
I have a stupid question about 1930’s shirt: About the cuffs, I searched the Internet for 1930s pictures, rarely seen French cuffs.
So it usually used 1 button round cuffs, but french cuffs are rare? Or that just a personal preference?
Thanks for reading! That’s not a stupid question; french cuffs and regular barrel cuffs were the norm. It does come down to personal preference. I like regular cuffs since I tend to roll up my sleeves!
Thank you! Ethan.