Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Not so New Look, for men.


I came across this chart the other day, tucked into a box of patterns I was going through. I found it fascinating, as it's a list of what the fashionable man wears for semi-formal and formal occasions, circa 1948. Keep in mind that in 1948, the New Look was in full swing for the ladies but, as usual, menswear hadn't changed that much.

Patterns for men are difficult to find, especially in this time period. Suit patterns of the 40s are virtually impossible -- I've found lots of shirt patterns, some trousers, but I don't think I've ever seen a full suit pattern for men from the 40s. This could be because in general, fewer men's sewing patterns were printed because a) styles didn't change that much, so the same patterns were used over and over, or b) because of the war -- either because most men were in uniform, or because of rationing of fabric. In either event, if you find a 1940s men's suit pattern, let me know, because I want it.

To make the point of how mens' styles stay the same, think of the Chesterfield coat, seen in the photo above, circa 1840s. The Chesterfield was named after the GQ guy of the 1830s and 1840s, the 6th Earl of Chesterfield. It was popular in the late 1920s, again in the 40s, and you can still see men wearing them today, in single or double breasted style, with that black velvet collar that denotes the style. It'll never go out of style, really, but then again, other than perhaps 70s polyester leisure suits, what in menswear does?

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