Thursday, March 09, 2017

In praise of a well-cut wool suit

Those people who have a suit for every day of the week and even, one is reluctantly led to believe, more expansive wardrobes, are parvenus of the worst sort. A gentleman generally has two suits. There is one for formal occasions like funerals and another for less formal occasions like going up to London. They are made by one of a select band of exclusive tailors and last him many years until his wife judges they are too threadbare. Then they are either handed down to the gardener or given to a good cause like the Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association.
I have always had very old-fashioned views on suits. They should be made of wool, they should be comfortable and well cut, and they should last and last. This generally means that I have eschewed the most modern fashions.

The more modern the fashion, the more likely it is that the suit will date. To my mind, it is better to look slightly old fashioned than to be wearing a suit that clearly belongs to last year's fashion.

For the life of me, and I accept this dates me dreadfully, I cannot warm to a suit that starts with a crumpled look, looks too tight around the shoulders and has trousers designed to fit matchsticks. It's just not me.

I mention this now because the Parisian Gentleman  has just published an excerpt from “The English Gentleman”, a satire written by Douglas Sutherland and published in 1978. It's quite entertaining, although the advice on where to place your hankie does not seem quite right.


Winton Bates said...

Jim, I loved the bit about a jacket for every occasion, but not a sports jacket!

It is sad that the male population of Australia is now split between those who wear a suit five days a week and those who only wear a suit when they get married. When I was young I think nearly every adult male owned a suit, which they wore to the pictures on Saturday night and to church on Sunday morning.

Jim Belshaw said...

So did I Winton, I suspect for similar reasons. Took me back!

Clothes mixes are interesting. You are right re that growing divide, with the expansion of non-suits into previous suit domains. One thing I do like, however, is the popularity of mix and match. I get much more use out of suit jackets whose pants have worn out!

Anonymous said...

That pic used to illustrate Jim's post is a window of the tailor Maurice Sedwell: but I don't think the gallery of his wares that I've linked is indicative of the 'traditional' suits Jim is thinking of?

Also, the "Distressed Gentlefolk’s Aid Association" was intriguing (because you never know when you might need a 'leg up') so I checked that out and found: lately merged with Turn2Us.

And finally, the only times I have ever heard the word pant (as opposed to pants) used in reference to trousers were during my 5-yearly visits to Fletcher Jones, alas now sadly passed into history.


Jim Belshaw said...

Hi kvd. It was the best photo I could find! There are damn all photos giving the picture I wanted.That was a neutral one. In terms of suits, they all have hankies in the pocket, a definite no no.

On distressed gentlefolk, that link didn't work. This one is better -

Fletcher Jones! I didn't buy there, but they were an absolute institution

2 tanners said...

My last three really good suits were bought at the Fletcher Jones close down sale. Better than the Hugo Boss rubbish I once bought (never again!).

Spot on about mix and match, and the jeans and jacket look that came in.

I now own a sports jacket, but it wasn't my idea, I don't like it and rarely wear it. My leather motorcycle jacket, OTOH, is a ripper.

Jim Belshaw said...

I like sports jackets, 2t, although I would dearly love a decent leather jacket as well. The fashion brand suits are rarely value for money.