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#1 2008-05-24 19:08:38

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

No brown in town?

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/3/iws0015zb9.jpg

Narrow lapels, narrower fitting jackets, covered button with matching material, square front to the jackets. This photograph shows : Double-breasted suit in brown chalk stripe woollen flannel (15 ozs.) The main feature of the jacket are side pleats and welted slanting pockets and semi-double-breasted lapels. In matching material, the waistcoat has double-spaced buttons. Minus turn-ups, the narrow trousers have one deep pleat and slanting pockets.

Kilgour, French and Stanbury


Back with a vengeance.

 

#2 2008-05-24 19:25:57

Cruz Diez
Member
Posts: 1950

Re: No brown in town?

Awesome.


"Luxury is a necessity that begins where necessity ends" Coco Chanel
"A man cannot be born a tailor, but he can be born rich. The patrimony can be inherited, but not the art." Giancarlo Maresca

 

#3 2008-05-24 20:04:46

The_Shooman
A pretty face
From: AUSTRALIA
Posts: 11985

Re: No brown in town?

Awesome. Been waiting for someone to start about this.


Anyone abide by all the old rules? Anyone avoid wearing brown/shades of brown clothing in town, or anyone who won't wear brown shoes after dark? Anyone who won't wear brown shoes at all?

Last edited by The_Shooman (2008-05-24 20:08:50)


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#4 2008-05-24 21:16:30

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

Re: No brown in town?

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/5428/iws0107po7.jpg

Business suit of worsted flannel, brown with tennis stripes. Coat double breasted, four button front, two of which fastening, with display button. Straight side pockets without flaps. Hand stitched edges. Trousers narrow and without turn-ups, bottom of medium width.

These cads do not know the rules. (1962)


Back with a vengeance.

 

#5 2008-05-24 21:20:57

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

Re: No brown in town?

http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/7539/iws0084at5.jpg

British men's style will be seen in Munich at the end of August 1962 in a 15 nation style show put on by The International Master Tailors' Federation. Photographs will not be released until the show but here is an indication of present trends in British men's clothes. Waisted jackets, natural sloping shoulders, slim trousers are the key points. This picture shows: town lightweight suit in 9-oz blue/brown check wool worsted. Jacket is single breasted, slightly waisted, button two, with centre vent and 4-button cuffs. the pockets, including the ticket pocket, are jetted and flapped. Narrow trousers with turn-ups.

Hmmmm...


Back with a vengeance.

 

#6 2008-05-24 21:30:31

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

Re: No brown in town?

http://img102.imageshack.us/img102/4485/iws0297sq1.jpg

Well and warmly equipped for the winter in this double-breasted Chesterfield town overcoat in a brown shadow check 18 oz. twist wool worsted, worn knee-length over matching town suit. Double-breasted lapels, single-button fastening, flap pockets.

Why don't they just follow the bloody rules?


Back with a vengeance.

 

#7 2008-05-24 21:35:52

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

Re: No brown in town?

http://img412.imageshack.us/img412/306/iws0094bn1.jpg

The outstanding tailors of 13 countries have been showing their latest styles in woollen and worsted suits for men at an international presentation held in Brussels on the occasion of the 9th Congress of the International Federation of Master Tailors. Countries participating are: Austria, Belgium, France, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The International Wool Secretariat, in co-operation with the International Federation of Master Tailors, held a fashion show of these clothes in Le Concert Noble, Brussels on Friday, July 29. The classical art of the world's tailors was seen at its best in the programme of about 90 garments (which included a number of tailor-made costumes for women). The previous Congress was held two years ago in Athens. This single-breasted three-piece town suit has a two button front (top fastening), jetted and flapped cross pockets, an out-breast pocket and three-button cuffs. The lapels are single-breasted. The waistcoat has five buttons, the lowest being set to remain unbuttoned. The tapered trousers have no turn-ups. The cloth is blue, brown and green Glen-check worsted.

Stand back, gents.  Mind the credibility gap.


Back with a vengeance.

 

#8 2008-05-25 01:51:22

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

Welcome to London!

There is a class element here too (of course). 'The rules' are middle class wannabe indicators. They always were over here.

There's an old expression that it's always Sunday afternoon on the Brompton Road (or something like that) meaning that the dreary middle class you see around Brompton Road are always in their boring 'Sunday best' whilst in Belgravia yer real Gents are rocking their wardrobes any way they choose. And why shouldn't they? They don't have to worry about losing their job at the bank...

Equally the working class just like the upper class had more freedom too.

It's a nice point which the writers of encyclopedias of how to dress often miss out: To dress according to 'the rules' is to dress like a drone, a dullard, a pretentious pleb. Which is how the rest of the world will see you even if you don't see it yourself.

J.

 

#9 2008-05-25 05:41:54

Kingstonian
Member
From: sea to shining sea
Posts: 3205

Re: No brown in town?

In all these old photos I notice there is no break in the trousers, though they are never too short either.

Requires effort to get it just so, but a great look.

 

#10 2008-05-25 14:40:09

Incroyable
Member
Posts: 2310

Re: No brown in town?

Kingstonian wrote:

In all these old photos I notice there is no break in the trousers, though they are never too short either.

Requires effort to get it just so, but a great look.

That's one of the elements that struck me as well--it's a very nice look that unfortunately, isn't seen at all these days even on the internet.


Jukebox Babe

 

#11 2008-05-25 23:14:38

Horace
Member
Posts: 6068

Re: No brown in town?

Kingstonian wrote:

In all these old photos I notice there is no break in the trousers, though they are never too short either.

Requires effort to get it just so, but a great look.

I know. 

Last time I was at Brooks so douche bag tailor was telling me that the break so fashionable again.  I've no idea what he was talking about, but he had a puddle of fabric around his legs.  And it wasn't from dropping trou.


""This is probably the last Deb season...because of the stock market, the economy, Everything..." - W. Stillman.

 

#12 2008-05-26 05:22:46

Sator
Member
Posts: 283

Re: No brown in town?

Actually, I will dare to dissent here. Call me a cad if you wish (cad being an old fashioned term for a middle class wannabee).

Firstly, even today you will struggle to see a brown suit or a brown check suit on a member of the British House of Parliament - or for that matter on any politician in a sitting of parliament in any OECD country. The Rule, if you will, seems to have survived intact.

Take a look at these two old pictures of the House of Lords:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/HouseofLords.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/LordsDivision.jpg

You can tell by the colours or by the type of garments worn (such as frock coats) that nobody would have been wearing brown or checks.

Many of the Rules are very old. Some would say archaic and ancient. Either way you look at it, there is no doubting that historically there were very strict Rules which governed what could be worn when. When the aspiring middle classes in the Victorian and Edwardian era started to follow these Rules (with countless books on etiquette being churned out for mass consumption), the upper classes raised the bar by changing dress up to six times a day, with strict rules accompanying each change of dress to help them distinguish themselves from the middle class wannabees.

It is very clear that come mid-20th century, this sort of thing was starting to die off. By the 1950-60s, we are very much in the midst of the modern era. The atom bomb had been invented and women were wearing bikinis. Many of these Old World Rules were already being ignored. Either you can say that the Stupid Old Rules were beginning to die (the Duke of Windsor certainly takes that attitude in his manner of dress) or you can say that we were well down the slippery path to t-shirts and jeans.

Secondly, in those days everyone wore lounge suits everywhere. It was the slobwear of its time. If you went to a Manchester United football game, even the commonest of the common would have been wearing one - hooligan or otherwise. Tailored clothing was clothing for the masses, as much as it was for the aristocracy. It surprises me not one iota to learn that amongst the working class of Manchester or London one of these types would have been wearing a brown or check suit as townwear. And who were the creators of such brown and check townwear? - tailors ie trades people. They were hardly aristocracy. Not, of course, that there was anything in the least bit wrong with that, but it is simply a statement of bland fact.

Last edited by Sator (2008-05-26 20:31:01)

 

#13 2008-05-26 05:49:00

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

Hmmmmm - Lots of problems here...

The Houses of Parliament aren't really representative of anything. Politicians are just people doing a job in England. They have no exalted class or status over here. If anything they are viewed as a bunch of misfits. Who would do such a crappy job for such low pay? They wear cautious clothes as they don't want look like anybody the masses wouldn't vote for.

The House of Lords is unrepresentative of anything as well. It's a place of work. Increasingly the Lords there aren't real Lords at all. In the past they just dressed up in regalia to do their stuff. Photos of them off duty would be more revealing.

Yeah, there was a time when everybody wore suits with a whole inbuilt class stystem of cut, cloth & colour. The most colourful stuff was worn by the Aristos, the Middle class were cautious as ever & the Working class enjoyed a little more freedom. Brown in Town is far more Aristo than Working Class, and Middle class types like our politicians wouldn't touch it.

More bland facts I'm afraid.

 

#14 2008-05-26 06:28:34

Nemesis
Member
Posts: 430

Re: No brown in town?

Sator, your points are well taken, but my proposition here is that brown was not alien in town, and these brown "town suits" were sufficiently commonplace that their color was not remarked upon.  There is a clear inference that in the post-war era brown suits were acceptable in town.  I speculate that they were less acceptible in "the city", and in parliament, court rooms and so on.  Clearly, however, brown suits were acceptable wear not only in the country.


Back with a vengeance.

 

#15 2008-05-26 06:45:42

Sator
Member
Posts: 283

Re: No brown in town?

The pictures I posted do date from a time when the House of Lords were full of Lords. Morning dress was also required as Court Dress for the most part (proper Court Dress having become increasingly rare in the latter half of the 19th C). If you look at pictures of business dress around the Edwardian era, morning coats and frock coats ruled everywhere. Nowhere were there any navy or brown coat seen. Even charcoal grey was relatively uncommon. Victorian funereal black was everywhere.

http://www.time-has-passed.com/mussolini-14cm.gif

http://www.battlefieldanomalies.com/moltke/images/kaiser_wilhelm.jpg

Whenever you see the Duke of Windsor in brown and checks in town, you can feel that he was rebelling against the Old Order which barked "no brown in town" at him. He is also dressing down to the level of the masses, by rejecting morning dress as the standard daytime dress of the aristocracy and upper class of his time. Hard liners nonetheless persisted in wearing tailcoats and top hats for some time after him. The No Brown in Town Rule belongs to them.

For the masses, morning dress - along with proper Court Dress - represented the costume of the Enemy of the People. Whenever you see a scheming capitalist depicted in cartoons he will be wearing a morning coat and top hat:

http://paulitics.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/capitalist.jpg 

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/lenintovarish.jpg

By wearing brown lounge suits and checks, the Duke of Windsor was obviously trying to avoid these negative stereotypes

 

#16 2008-05-26 07:33:10

Tony Ventresca
Member
Posts: 5132

Re: No brown in town?

Brown in town? But the rules, the rules...

Nemesis, when you are done mining your source for those photos please pass it on to the rest of us.


"Clothes make the man only if they fit." Carole Jackson
"Once upon a time, life was not better. It was just different." William Norwich
"This is one of the testimonial pictures that Satan uses in his brochures." Anonymous

 

#17 2008-05-26 07:39:45

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

I do hear what you're saying, but still feel it's all a bit more subtle than that.
You also are moving your time line around quite a bit. You start with the current Houses of Parliament then go back to the 19th Century House of Lords in your first post & now in the second you are contrasting the Victorians with the Duke of Windsor.

Just one silly example of Brown in Town: There has always been riding in the London parks and your Edwardians rode in the middle of London in Country clothes. Brown in Town has a fine old history in London.

The House of Lords, the City of London, the Inns of Court, the Royal Court - all of these and more required specific 'uniforms' which were just as you describe. But they don't make up 'Town' in the London sense - If anything they are add-ons to London, not the place itself. Life there is removed from the life of the City elsewhere.

You have to look at who was saying "No Brown in Town" and when and also who was listening I think.

The Duke of Windsor is great because he outclassed all the 'Old Guard' you mention just by virtue of being the Duke of Windsor and so his rule breaking is more aristocratic than their rule following. And That is the spirit of wearing Brown in London - and indeed it is far more the tradition of the real London than the London you evoke by mentioning Parliament & the Royal Court.

Post WWI Brown was fine if you could pull it off in London. Pre-WWI it was more tricky and activity specific (riding etc). Being able to pull off wearing Brown in London Post WWI depended on what you were doing & what social class you were. Being obviously idle was (and remains still) the most aristocratic occupation in London and so wearing non-business dress in Town demonstrates your status nicely to all around you.
Post WWII this became even more pronounced with even more Country touches being worn in Town to prove the same point.

Funny place London. Even in England no other city has quite the same sartorial rule book. A rule book with entirely its own rules.

(The bit I've not bothered with is rewinding back before the Victorians to when London was a riot of colour)

Best -

 

#18 2008-05-26 07:54:12

Tony Ventresca
Member
Posts: 5132

Re: No brown in town?

Russell_Street wrote:

(The bit I've not bothered with is rewinding back before the Victorians to when London was a riot of colour).

Yes we musn't be fooled by the black-and-white photographs.


"Clothes make the man only if they fit." Carole Jackson
"Once upon a time, life was not better. It was just different." William Norwich
"This is one of the testimonial pictures that Satan uses in his brochures." Anonymous

 

#19 2008-05-26 07:55:55

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

Tony Ventresca wrote:

Russell_Street wrote:

(The bit I've not bothered with is rewinding back before the Victorians to when London was a riot of colour).

Yes we musn't be fooled by the black-and-white photographs.

True. Georgian & Regency photography was notoriously tricky!  wink

 

#20 2008-05-26 08:07:52

Sator
Member
Posts: 283

Re: No brown in town?

Russell_Street wrote:

The Duke of Windsor is great because he outclassed all the 'Old Guard' you mention just by virtue of being the Duke of Windsor and so his rule breaking is more aristocratic than their rule following. And That is the spirit of wearing Brown in London - and indeed it is far more the tradition of the real London than the London you evoke by mentioning Parliament & the Royal Court.

Post WWI Brown was fine if you could pull it off in London. Pre-WWI it was more tricky and activity specific (riding etc). Being able to pull off wearing Brown in London Post WWI depended on what you were doing & what social class you were. Being obviously idle was (and remains still) the most aristocratic occupation in London and so wearing non-business dress in Town demonstrates your status nicely to all around you.
Post WWII this became even more pronounced with even more Country touches being worn in Town to prove the same point.

Well, admittedly this has been going on for the whole of the late 18th - 19th century anyway. When gentlemen first started to wear their coats into town with cutaway fronts (for riding - no less) people raised their eyebrows. Horror of horrors - riding attire in town, and equestrian top boots to go with it!

Here are early 19th century examples of gentlemen wearing a brown coat with cutaway front - most likely intended as town wear:

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/BuckFamily180x.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/Coats_April_1809.jpg

http://i201.photobucket.com/albums/aa284/Satorarepo/PromenadedeLangchamps_1802.jpg

I suspect that brown didn't have a lot of its country connotations in the Regency era. It was only later in the Victorian era that for any formal business in town, a black frock or morning coat became de rigeur. Prince Albert always wore a black frock coat on business - hence the alternative name for that garment is the Prince Albert. He was sartorial leader in a Victorian era which turned the dress coat from a sporty equestrian styled coat into a formal black evening coat. 

There is no doubt in my mind that the Duke of Windsor is rebelling against the Victorian protocols established by Prince Albert. He seems to always wear lounge coats (unless forced to wear tails) - a very democratic dress if there ever was one. I still strongly feel that he is dressing down to the level of the people on the one hand (to make the aristocracy seem in tune with the people) but also affecting an idle rich look - one which never needs to wear proper town wear (ie morning dress) but always wears country play clothes instead. I doubt that Prince Albert would have approved.

 

#21 2008-05-26 08:20:45

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

I absolutely agree that Albert was the great English turning point from 18th century ideas of Aristocratic dress to what were to become 19th Century norms.

... And I also (oddly) agree with you about the DOW - He dressed down by early 20th century standards, yet he was at the same time evoking an 18th century Aristocrats pose of forever being at play. A really double-edged ploy - He looked democratic in his dress, but he was in fact evoking an earlier world of endless Aristocratic leisure.

Albert would have hated him!

 

#22 2008-05-26 08:29:05

Sator
Member
Posts: 283

Re: No brown in town?

I must confess that my admiration is all for Albert. It is his legacy of serious minded (Germanic actually) hard work for his adopted country that the modern day British family have adopted - and from this stems their disdain for the DOW and his foppish frivolity.

 

#23 2008-05-26 08:37:24

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

Sator wrote:

I must confess that my admiration is all for Albert. It is his legacy of serious minded (Germanic actually) hard work for his adopted country that the modern day British family have adopted - and from this stems their disdain for the DOW and his foppish frivolity.

I did guess as much! wink

I wonder where the Royals will go next? When we lose the current Queen what will the next generation bring us? Will it be something more like the DOW than Albert?

... Change & decay, eh?

Just for fun: Would you ever wear Brown in Town, Sator?

Best -

 

#24 2008-05-26 09:21:37

Taylor McIntyre
Son of Ivy...
Posts: 342

Re: No brown in town?

Fun to think about is the time when Albert was the 'New Guard' and how he must have looked to the colourful 18th Centrury style Old Guard of his day. Or even how Albert must have looked to the Brummell inspired Dandies who also preceeded him. Because their sober palette was very different in intent to his.

Post-Albert we all think that rigid sartorial rules are "Traditional", but there is a sense in which he was just a rather sober blip in the history of menswear when you look at what came before him & what came after.

Gentlemen, I give you Two Men In Black: Beau Brummell & Prince Albert. Very different coves.

Who do you vote for?

J.


(Or instead of voting you could get the thread back on track?)

 

#25 2008-05-26 09:53:35

Admiral Cod
Member
Posts: 411

Re: No brown in town?

A former resident of Albertropolis, I vote for the Prince. wink


"You will find that men of style and their adherents are considered either political enemies of the people or reckless, gluttoness consumers while most live in squalor" - FNB

 

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