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Suits

You don’t find many as nice as this, and certainly not in their original boxes! It was made by Souvizon, Palas & Cie of Oloron-Ste Marie. This suit is made of the heaviest cloth I’ve ever felt used for a suit. It must be 24, 25 Oz or so. Overcoat fabric, really. Everything about this suit points towards the 1920s. Jacket has amazing displaced shoulder seams. Beautiful cinch-back trousers. Absolutely fantastic, and soon to move on to his new home with my good friend Ben.

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I love the glorious fabric of this 3-piece suit. Made in the 1940s (going by the style and features – does the faded label read June 1947??), I just wish it fit me! It’s far too long for me, sadly. It’s made of an amazing blue-green “almost Lovat” coloured herringbone tweed. Tailored by A. Ernster & Sons of Ulster Chambers and Regent Steet, London, with working cuffs and fully lined in fantastic viscose or silk twill with classic striped sleeve liners, this is a special piece. I’ll be listing this on eBay tonight.

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Well, this is one of the jewels of my collection. I can’t overstate how rare it is to find a suit like this. This is an absolutely glorious suit, made in Reading in the late 19-teens or early 1920s. The jacket is very Edwardian in style, high buttoning with 4 buttons to close, small notch lapels, shoulder seams very displaced in the old style, a long rear vent, front facings that extend into the upper chest/shoulder region, and quite but not overly fitted. I love the double top-stitching all around the edges of the jacket and waistcoat, a classic feature of the era. The trousers are flat fronted with a very high rise, “fishtail” back, taped top edge, and narrow cuffs with permanent turn-ups. The suspender buttons bear the brand of the tailor. The suit is made of classic blue serge, and was made by H. J. Tutty of Reading, who were a firm of credit tailors. With only a few scattered moth holes and a bit of wear to the bottom of the trouser cuffs, this is a truly exceptional example of a suit that’s almost 100 years old. It pains me to sell this suit, but it’s just too big for me. I’ll update this post later today with the link to the ebay auction for this suit. Done – the ebay item number is 301827125639, and the link is here:1920s Tutty suit eBay

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I almost forgot the bus ticket! This ticket from the Thames Valley Traction Co. Ltd. was (after much research in the lower depths of bus ticket enthusiast websites) issued in the 1960s. 5 and 7! That’s a bloody expensive bus ticket. must’ve been a very long journey or a season ticket, I guess. Anyhow, this suit was still being worn in the 60s!

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Vintage “western-style” Japanese vintage clothing is quite scarce, even inside Japan. Despite the long-standing practice of Japanese men to wear western clothing, particularly for business, the cultural cringe about old clothing is still particularly strong in Asian countries. So, while a spectacular number of very, very old kimonos are held onto by families in respect to the dead former owners, the suits etc. are tossed into the bin or go to the rag trade. A few things turn up in Europe and the US, and I’ll bet there’s lots in Chile, but not much at all.

I bought this suit from a Japanese dealer at Spitalsfield market the other day. It probably dates to the late 40s or early 50s, strongly resembling suits in Japanese film of that era. I’m thinking particularly of Kurosawa’s detective films, like Stray Dog, where the suits are cut very much like this one. It’s made of very rustic wool – almost a boucle effect in the very slubby tweed fabric. It’s just the kind of fabric I’d expect from Japan at the time (don’t know why), very homespun and rugged with lots of flaws in the weave and colour variation etc. I’d pin the style at a hybrid of mostly American features with some Euro influences. I love the fabric used to create the double curtains in the trousers. Very snazzy. Paint spplatters on the trousers, while also reducing the price nicely, probably explain why this has survived – being put into service as a “work” suit after its style or business-usefulness was on the wane.

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This is another of the 1930s belted back suits I’ve owned that just didn’t fit. What a bummer. It’s made of a very conservative worsted suiting, unlike the typical sporty fabrics I expect from belted back suits. This is awesome. It was made by JJ Kirk of Barnesville and Martin’s Ferry, Ohio. I really love the very green buttons that contrast well with the dark blue of the suit.

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Most British vintage suits I find from the 1940s and earlier are in sober dark blue worsteds, sometimes with pinstripes. It’s rare to find flannel, and even rarer to find a suit in a light colour. This particular one probably dates to the 1930s (There’s no watch pocket to the trousers. Almost all 40s suits would have a watch pocket, usually wide and flapped, below the waistband on the right side. In the 30s this was less common). It’s made of a beautiful shade of grey/blue, almost RAF blue in hue, flannel and has cream/white chalkstripes. The fabric feels much higher in quality than the typical British suiting, and is extremely well made. The jacket has hard square shoulder pads, and lots of drape in the chest – another late 30s indicator, along with the tightly clustered and relatively high set closure buttons and lapel shape. The trousers have side adjustor straps, a nice feature which while relatively common is by no means the standard configuration for British trousers. There are no maker’s labels but it’s really a fantastic, very high quality, suit that I wish fit me, but it’s too long.

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