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Evelyn Waugh BEAU BRUMMELLS on £60 A YEAR. - Page 2

post #16 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennyfeather View Post
If it's an economy to buy your hosiery at an expensive shop, why does he later state? ... Wouldn't that suggest that cheaper socks from a less expensive store were a bargain? Or was he not referring to socks when he mentioned hosiery? Surely hosiery meant the same thing in Waugh's day as it does now?.
My best guess is that there was a semantic distinction between "socks" and "hose" in his day. Hose were probably dress stockings of some sort, while socks were closer to what we currently think of as socks/hosiery.
post #17 of 54
so you think thrift stores would fall under "mis-fits?"
post #18 of 54
I feel that trying to compare any sort of value, even from 1929 to now is simply not possible. There are so many factors which one has to consider now which existed then and don't exist now and vice-versa, that it is simply impossible.

Brummell's ability to find a tailor was far easier than it is today. There were so many more skilled tailors in his era. The ability to find certain finished cloths was far greater in his time than ours (consider Harris Tweeds), and both tailors and cloths were cheaper in his era than ours. We pay a very high premium for handwork today; handwork which was the norm in 1929. Comparing car prices as well from the 20's is also quite impossible; as are home prices.
post #19 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by imageWIS View Post
I feel that trying to compare any sort of value, even from 1929 to now is simply not possible. There are so many factors which one has to consider now which existed then and don't exist now and vice-versa, that it is simply impossible.

Brummell's ability to find a tailor was far easier than it is today. There were so many more skilled tailors in his era. The ability to find certain finished cloths was far greater in his time than ours (consider Harris Tweeds), and both tailors and cloths were cheaper in his era than ours. We pay a very high premium for handwork today; handwork which was the norm in 1929. Comparing car prices as well from the 20's is also quite impossible; as are home prices.

I think this is very true.

As an analogy: a custom bicycle frame now is considered "high art", etc., etc. There are some very good current practitioners and some not-so-good ones, but either way there aren't so many. In Waugh's time and even until after WWII and the rise of production on a factory scale, hell, if you owned a bicycle shop in a big city, small town, no matter...you made the frames you sold. Good ones. Lots of them. Not expensive. Hundreds of "brands"; that is, hundreds of extremely capable one-man shops. It was still a local craft era.
post #20 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennyfeather View Post

Quote:
Another disadvantage of the small tailor is that he never knows what is fashionable. At least once every eighteen months you should spend fifteen guineas in getting a suit in Savile Row, which will serve as a model for him.

This sentence absolutely leaped out at me! So how "classic" can classic clothing be if Waugh found it necessary to update his suits every 18 months in order to stay fashionable?


It means that the idea of Eternal Style that is pushed on internet clothing fora is complete nonsense. In 1929 you would have been laughed at if you wore the fashions of the 1890s on the grounds that it represented the victory of permanent style over fashion.

In fact I would go so far as to say fashion is the essence of style and is not possible without it. Many of the catwalk freakshow stuff that gets rightly ridiculed are failures because they are neither fashionable nor wearable. For in order to be fashionable something has to be wearable first and foremost. In fact, the real problem is that fashion "designers" (so called) don't really have any idea about what is fashionable in the real world. That is why they have failed so miserably in getting any new tailored fashions (beyond minor fluctuations changes in style) become mainstream and widely accepted for any prolonged period of time. Most of their novelties disappear forever once the model walks off the catwalk. And if the odd fashion victim gets conned into wearing this crap it hardly represents a seismic change in real world fashion that is widely accepted and admired.
post #21 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by mic View Post
^Thanks. And everyone on this forum should read a little Waugh.

Snarky, he was.


QFT. Best advice in this thread yet. Sure, it's popular to mention Brideshead Revisited or Love Among the Ruins.

My fave? THE LOVED ONE. <3.
post #22 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anthony Jordan View Post
This reads like advice I would love to follow... I seem to recall that Waugh was known (and possibly slightly looked-down upon in some circles) for having his country suits made up in cloths popular with officers of the horse guards for the overcoats, so it sounds as though he practiced what he preached, in this regard at least. It is an interesting reflection on the changing of the times that, even given the heavier cloths and more robust construction of 1929 (leaving aside his advice that evening trousers should be of heavier cloth than the coat), he should have anticipated needing a new dress suit every three years.

Many thanks, Archivist, for posting this!

Anthony, so nice to see you here. Hope all is well.
post #23 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sator View Post
It means that the idea of Eternal Style that is pushed on internet clothing fora is complete nonsense. In 1929 you would have been laughed at if you wore the fashions of the 1890s on the grounds that it represented the victory of permanent style over fashion.

In fact I would go so far as to say fashion is the essence of style and is not possible without it. Many of the catwalk freakshow stuff that gets rightly ridiculed are failures because they are neither fashionable nor wearable. For in order to be fashionable something has to be wearable first and foremost. In fact, the real problem is that fashion "designers" (so called) don't really have any idea about what is fashionable in the real world. That is why they have failed so miserably in getting any new tailored fashions (beyond minor fluctuations changes in style) become mainstream and widely accepted for any prolonged period of time. Most of their novelties disappear forever once the model walks off the catwalk. And if the odd fashion victim gets conned into wearing this crap it hardly represents a seismic change in real world fashion that is widely accepted and admired.

Glad to see you have decided to prolong your visit.
post #24 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoHu View Post
Glad to see you have decided to prolong your visit.

I've never really "left" like others. I just don't have the time to spend here because I have my own forum to run and that takes up most of my time.
post #25 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sator View Post
It means that the idea of Eternal Style that is pushed on internet clothing fora is complete nonsense. In 1929 you would have been laughed at if you wore the fashions of the 1890s on the grounds that it represented the victory of permanent style over fashion.

This has to be true. What the 'eternal style' and 'permanent style' school is doing is choosing a fairly stable section of fashion history, drawing a circle around it and calling it 'eternal'. With tweaks here and there to suit their taste. Crompton does that on his blog, contradicting himself all over the place.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sator View Post
In fact I would go so far as to say fashion is the essence of style and is not possible without it. Many of the catwalk freakshow stuff that gets rightly ridiculed are failures because they are neither fashionable nor wearable. For in order to be fashionable something has to be wearable first and foremost. In fact, the real problem is that fashion "designers" (so called) don't really have any idea about what is fashionable in the real world. That is why they have failed so miserably in getting any new tailored fashions (beyond minor fluctuations changes in style) become mainstream and widely accepted for any prolonged period of time. Most of their novelties disappear forever once the model walks off the catwalk. And if the odd fashion victim gets conned into wearing this crap it hardly represents a seismic change in real world fashion that is widely accepted and admired.

Not sure about this theory though. Oxford Bags couldn't have been particularly wearable in reality, but they were definitely the height of fashion for a time. Also, if 'fashion is the essence of style', then stylish clothes that are not particularly fashionable (as tweed jackets have been on and off) would automatically lose their stylishness as they pass out of fashion. The logic of the argument collapses here.
post #26 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaoHu View Post
Anthony, so nice to see you here. Hope all is well.

Very much so, thank you, and it is nice to be back!

Apropos of "misfit suits", I think we are, as others have correctly suggested, in the teritory of "Porks and Pigs and Kills"* and those who bought them from tailors to resell to members of the public, which is of course where the famous British hire firm Moss Bros got their start.

* respectively, a misfit rejected by a customer but suitable for resale elsewhere and an unclaimed garment. A "Kill" was a spolied garment to be trown away, which one assumes would not regularly be resold, but who knows!
post #27 of 54
A quick google for the average UK wage in 1929 didn't throw up much, but there is report (http://privatewww.essex.ac.uk/~alan/family/N-Money.html) which gives a farm labourer's wage at £1.5 a week or £80 a year. Oct 1929 - Sep 19301/11/850.6 l/s/d (and basic weekly hours). Someone in the UK working a 40 hour week on the minimum wage today would be on £12334 a year, with (I would estimate) most young professionals in London earning between £20 - 50k. If professional wages were at a similar level above the lowest paid in 1929, a young man in London in 1929 could expect to be earning perhaps 3 times a farm labourer or £240, still making £60 a very big chunk of net income on clothing.
post #28 of 54
Interesting post by fxh on clothing expenditure from 1929 to 2010. http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/viewtopic.php?id=8076
post #29 of 54
Fascinating essay. Two notes: Waugh omits at least one economy measure, one practiced most by those who needed it least: the aristocratic habit of delaying payment as long as possible. As the narrator was advised in BRIDESHEAD REVISITED: "Go to a London tailor; you get better cut and longer credit. . . ." "Mis-fits" were clothes rejected by the tailor's client because they did not fit. In London, there was an active secondary market for these. Dealers would advertise the famous names. The mis-fits were slightly higher class than second hand clothes from the same tailors, but the same kind of businesses worked in both....In the history of London's Moss Bros, one finds this sentence: "From the earliest days, Moses had shrewdly bought spare suits from fashionable Savile Row tailors." Why would a bespoke tailor have 'spare' suits? These were mis-fits.
post #30 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by aKula View Post
Interesting post by fxh on clothing expenditure from 1929 to 2010. http://forums.filmnoirbuff.com/viewtopic.php?id=8076
Very interesting! So if you can compare the UK and USA in 1929 (probably quite similar in many respects) 11% of disposable income spent on clothing looks the average. Rough maths gives a figure £580 disposable income for 11% spent on clothing, so maybe an income of £1200 pa would be the average required for someone who typically spent £60 pa on clothing. Of course a younger person interested in clothes would likely spend a lot more than 11% of disposable income on clothing, though it doesn't seem £60 pa in London in 1929 would be affordable to most young people working in clerical / entry level professional jobs. I may have got my maths (and based them on a guess as to middle class and professional wages) very wrong, and have ignored all sorts of issues that would affect the comparisons, but it still seems £60 a year on clothing on 1929 would be for the very few not the many.
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