Suit appeal

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Suit appeal

Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Mar 29, 2005 12:25 am

This is a bit of a loose diatribe so bear with me.
I just like suits.

Steed aPeel
A dandy though not a fop, Patrick Macnee played John Steed, a spy with panache (timeless) In The Avengers.
From his thin umbrella to his rock hard bowler hat, Steed was a character I leeched onto as one of my cultural icons. Though aside from being a character with true presence (only Macnee could play Steed because Macnee was Steed) John Steed looked like he belonged in a suit. Same with Connery as Bond, or Grant and Stewart in their roles in Hitchcock movies. For all of these actors the suit was the uniform of the day and their suits fit like a suit should fit.

The 60’s were the last era where a man could find a suit that was made for more than the occasional wedding and funeral, the materials used were dense and tough and the armholes were cut high. Sucks to say that today’s men’s suits are a shadowy figure of the past. Many made of Paper thin materials that are super soft with armholes so big you can drive a truck through them (they have been getting better lately). No wonder men hate the restricting feel of the today's suits, they are straight jackets when compared to what you could find 40 years ago at department stores around the world. It’s all about the armholes.

When Steed was on the screen you knew that whether he'd be climbing a wall or taking on an adversary with his sword, his suit was tough enough to take a tumble and was comfortable through the deadliest of sword fights.

In the swing dance scene, I have been told it is the first step in losing your grip on the past. As an avid wearer of clothes that hark back to the 1930’s and 40’s it is sometimes thought of as sacrilege to break the mold and pull out the skinny tie and narrow lapels of a suit that could slide right into the early 1960’s.
So what! I’m interested in wearing clothes that look good – not wearing clothes that lock me into an era. I like it all. That’s all.
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Looking for my Emma Peel.

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Let's kinda remember the context

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Postby Satan's Sin » Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:50 am

Patrick Macnee was indeed no fop.

He was the third-highest decorated soldier in the British army in World War II.

I only know this because I'm friends with a TV writer who worked with Macnee, and Macnee's war-hero status was something he never talked about. In fact, his wartime experiences made him abhor any kind of violence, acted or otherwise, and it was through his insistence that his fight scenes in The Avengers were so stylized.

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Come to think of it

Postby modfan » Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:59 am

The show was not particularly violent-it depended on other stuff to make it
a high rated show. I think you can buy DVD's from the BBC website.
I think critics panned the much later made movie-I did see it once on HBO at a hotel-couldn't match the class of the TV series.

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Re: Come to think of it

Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:06 am

Looking for my Emma Peel.



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Postby SDR » Tue Mar 29, 2005 9:42 pm

"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

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Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Mar 29, 2005 10:29 pm

I'll try to answer your question.

One of my biggest gripes about Current suits is that the armholes are too big and cause the jacket to fit awkwardly. You raise your arms and the whole jacket comes with you... feels more like a straight jacket than a suit jacket.

This photo shows one of the measurements that many tailors neglect to take nowadays.

The measurement goes under the arms and behind the neck... it is a crucial measurement if you want the suit to fit well. Unfortunately I have found that many tailors use a ratio for the armhole size, and it always seems to be several inches bigger than the size of your arm.


Image


I think the whole world believes that a bigger armhole is more comfortable. Sure it makes a jacket easier to put on but it makes the jacket much harder to wear.

Not even made to measure can do a good job in making a smaller armhole nowadays. You need to get a good custom suit if you want to have a jacket that can be worn like Connery wore his in the early Bond films... Connery could stick his arms over his head and the jacket would barely rise. Today you stick your arms out to drive a car and you have wool touching the back of your head.

If you watch the old Connery Bond films you will see that Connery has no trouble doing heavy tasks in his suit, whether it be sitting on the ground clapping to a belly dancer or fighting a spy on a train or hanging from a moving vehicle, when his arms are raised the jacket rises little if any. If you watch Cary Grant in North By North West you will see the same thing... watch these moveies and you'll see what I mean.

Now compare that to Brosnan as Bond in the new films and you will see that Brosnan has to remove his jacket to do anything really taxing. His suits are custom made by Brioni, though the armholes are cut lower and when he moves the suit rides up and heads for the back of his head. Never comfortable.

Vintage suits from the 60's may be harder to put on, though because their armholes were cut higher into the armpit you had more maneuverability. I hope this all makes sense.

If you want a better example with clothes sold currently, find a store that sells Ralph Lauren Blue Label Polo suits. The armholes on those jackets are higher cut like those in the 50's and 60's, then compare the fit of the Polo suit to that of a jacket you can find at JC Penny's and you will see a marked difference.

I know all the measurements are important for a well fitting suit, though to me the armhole measurement is probably the most important. You can see the difference in how suits fit the men in the movies in the 1930's (more my forte) versus how they fit today as well -- Clark Gable in It Happend one Night; He raise his arms and the jacket stays put.

I'll try to get some Bond and Steed screen grabs to give you a better idea of what I mean. Suits aren't meant to be uncomfortables as they are today. they were a spin off of the military uniform, and those were made for maneuverability and fit. Today's suits are made for drape and people buy two sizes too big.

Here is my old pal Sammy in a cool cat pose.
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If you want another refference that you can see right off the bat, check out the Dean Martin Celebrity Roast infomercial and you will see the contrast between the fit of Deano's suits to those of the host of the informercial, Regis Philbin. Regis's jackets have low cut armholes and the jackt rides around when he moves... Deano's jacket stays put and looks comfortable.
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Postby luke_trash » Wed Mar 30, 2005 11:15 am

Dan, you must be built like me. I'm 5'9" and 135 lbs.

Big armholes are due to everybody sweating buckets out their armpits after eating a supersized Mc Donalds value meal :) Most people are a lot fatter than I am (at least here in Iowa)

What would be a good search term for a nice 1950's suit on ebay? I don't really know what to hunt down, but I imagine I could find something that fits me, because people wore things tighter back then and were smaller in general.

This is my 200 dollar JC Penny Stafford wool suit I purchased in 2003 for a funeral. I was on a really tight schedule, so I didn't have time to have it altered, but as you can see it's almost too big for me. What sort of alterations would you recommend?

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Postby Matt Deckard » Wed Mar 30, 2005 5:50 pm

The suits the late 50's didn't have that tapered in waist like you see in the 30's and 40's, though they were fitted.

Since you look pretty svelt I'd have a tailor take in the back seam and give the suit a bit of shape and more of a fitted appearance. Also the sleeves can be shortened to show about a half inch of shirt cuff while your arms are at rest.

If you're going for that Rat Pack look, the suits made the men look like triangles back then.

The trousers were tapered in and they were worn shorter than you will find men wearing their trousers today. This means no break, the pants were long enough to hit the top of the shoe but did not break the line of the crease going down the front of the leg.

The center buttons were the only ones fastened and the narrow tie was in.

ImageImage

Vertigo 1958 before the really fitted look came back.
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Bond
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Hope that helps.
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Postby SDR » Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:12 pm

I like a man who's really INTO something. . .It's what distinguishes the expert from the dilletante.

There really IS something about a man's suit, isn't there?

["sleeves"]

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Postby Matt Deckard » Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:19 pm

Looking for my Emma Peel.



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Postby SDR » Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:37 pm

"I laugh in the face of danger! Then I hide until it goes away." Bender

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Postby Matt Deckard » Wed Mar 30, 2005 6:55 pm

Looking for my Emma Peel.



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Postby modchick65 » Wed Mar 30, 2005 9:03 pm

Save Wildwood, NJ!!

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Postby luke_trash » Wed Mar 30, 2005 10:21 pm

When it comes to this stuff, I'm a total idiot... Tonight I dug out the two suits I have that fit me somewhat. I found a gray wool suit that was made locally. I got it at goodwill for 5.00 when I was in college. It has a matching vest, but I didn't put it on. I called the store that sold it, and they refused to offer me any tailoring after I told them I bought it at Goodwill. The pants seem too short, and the sleeves a tad too long, but it seems to fit pretty well. Probably needs the coat taken in.

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My JC Penny special revisited... This suit just seems too big.. I'll probably take it in somewhere, once I find a place that would do both suits, and see if they can get them both fitting similarly.
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I wear a suit about twice a year, because my day job just requires khakis and I usually go with old reliable white button down shirt.. I'm pretty boring that way.
old beats new

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Postby sky » Thu Mar 31, 2005 7:59 am

Personally, I resolved the armhole problem by going short sleeve. But I was thinking about going sleeveless altogether. What do you think?

If the suit fits, you must admit.
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Postby Matt Deckard » Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:37 am

Looking for my Emma Peel.



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Postby sky » Thu Mar 31, 2005 8:47 am


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Postby Matt Deckard » Thu Mar 31, 2005 10:12 pm

Luke, the grey suit looks swell. I'm still working on losing weight so I can pull off more of the look I want. I've always loved the 30's and 40's, though when I hit a lower waist size I'm heading for the Bond look.

Goodwill, Ardvarks, Salvation Army are the places to go when looking for old school clothes, I found a fantastic narrow lapelled jacket that fell right out of Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I do like some of the stuff I am seeing from Banana Republic.
Check this out -- this is their "Modern suit". The lapels are narrow like they were in the early 60's, and the cut for the trousers and jacket is pretty right on. I may just buy one. I have tried it on in the store many times... though you can't beat vintage.

One pro for me because I am an odd size is that they sell the pants and jacket in seperate sizes.

Check it out.
http://www.bananarepublic.com/browse/pr ... id=5480137

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Postby freddiefreelance » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:24 pm

Rev. Dr. Frederick J. Freelance, Ph.D., D.F.S.

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Postby Matt Deckard » Fri Apr 01, 2005 12:28 pm

Speaking of what's worn to work, call me a bit of a rebel, I wear suits to work... the hat was on for the pic.
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Postby luke_trash » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:08 pm

Hehe, I've always been told to dress as if you have your boss's position. If I showed up in a suit I'm not sure how it'd go over. I mean I wouldn't mind wearing one all day, but even the director here simply has blazers he has hanging in his office, if something important crops up. When I get the courage to start my own business, it's suits every day!
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Postby luke_trash » Fri Apr 01, 2005 1:10 pm

old beats new

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Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Apr 05, 2005 3:24 am

I was at the Club au-go-go dance on Saturday and noticed a few suits in the undulating throng.

Very fitted and very 60's, I gotta find out where they get their clothes. More of the mod ankh wearing 60's and less of the psychadelic peace sign wearing 60's.

few more pics. Connery sporting an English spread collar with a skinny tie and skinny lapels
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check out his handkerchief... business all the way.
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Some Peter O'toole for good measure... he always had style and rakish hair allways.
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Postby SDR » Sat Apr 09, 2005 4:25 pm

Cary and "friends". . .

www.nobby.de/e_mnbn.htm

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Postby Matt Deckard » Sun Apr 17, 2005 9:52 am

I'm not as much about suits being a mode of dressing up as I am about suits being clothes for every occasion.

About to step into a fight
\/
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Entertaining the ladies
\/
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Chewing out one of my writers
\/
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Wondering who poisoned me
\/
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Searching below decks of the QM for more 1930's furniture and... well, stuff that's not on the tour.
\/
http://tinypic.com/m1nyv
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How did Steed do it?

Postby PhilR » Tue Apr 26, 2005 5:48 am

I have always thought that Patrick Macnee retired the prize for looking good in a suit. There was rarely a bulge or telltale crease yet he seemed to be almost poured into them! Those wasp-waisted ones were especially sharp.

How would you describe the style of his suits and how did they get them to fit so well? (I have wondered if he sometimes wore a waist-cincher of some sort.)

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Re: How did Steed do it?

Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:00 am

Looking for my Emma Peel.



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More Steed

Postby PhilR » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:12 am


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Postby Matt Deckard » Tue Apr 26, 2005 9:41 am

You see his suits change style from the early 60's to the late 60's. The lapels and ties start out narrower and the fit is tighter.

Late 50's early 60's UK. Very fitted and the bowler showed here and there, though was out of fashion.
Image
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late 60's early 70's UK. Looser fit and bit of a longer jacket. Wider lapels and ties.
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