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Evelyn Waugh BEAU BRUMMELLS on £60 A YEAR. - Page 4

post #46 of 54
To join the debate, in the '20 and '30 people tended to be more frugal than we are! Mostly because "consumer pressure" was lower, and there was not such a difference between "formal and casual" as we have now. The typical wardrobe (if I remember correctly form my grandfather's generation) would had been 2-3 day suits (normally grey), 1-2 afternoon (navy) and one dinner (tuxedo) per season - S/S and F/W plus one half to one dozen white shirts. Informal would had been some 1-2 sport coats (maybe, in continental Europe that had been an "sportsman" or "anglophile" affectation. You add to that one trench coat, one overcoat and one great coat, plus 2-3 hats and 4-5 pairs of shoes. Look at the travel attire in the old GQ/Apparel Arts - and compare it with our travel necessities! On the other hand the difference between blue collar and white collar wages was a lot bigger than now - two different lifestyles!
post #47 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pennyfeather View Post
I'd be interested in knowing how many well-dressed men in 1929 managed on such a meager diet as Waugh lays out. One pair of shoes a year? Two suits? One overcoat every three years? If I could only buy one pair of shoes a year, I think I'd start to feel a little shabby no matter how well made the shoes. I wonder if dressing well in 1929 was widely practiced (amongst the class of people who dressed like Waugh) in such a thoroughly practical way, or if Waugh's advice really was targeted at the unfortunate few who couldn't afford the clothes they longed to wear.

Once you have a shoe wardrobe, a pair every other year is plenty. Three suits is a bit tight but manageable, particularly since men of Waugh's class didn't go to offices every day and their entire wardrobe needed only to be appropriate for lunching at one's club and staying in someone else's home for the weekend.
post #48 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by Will View Post
Once you have a shoe wardrobe, a pair every other year is plenty. Three suits is a bit tight but manageable, particularly since men of Waugh's class didn't go to offices every day and their entire wardrobe needed only to be appropriate for lunching at one's club and staying in someone else's home for the weekend.

I don't think Waugh was quite as rich and idle as Bertie Wooster

As the original post suggests, he was a journalist, and he had already finished Decline and Fall and was working on his next novel.
post #49 of 54
Waugh's article is dated 2/29. If the market crash that ushered in the Great Depression in the Fall of '29 had any effect on the UK, this article was probably woefully out-dated within 7-8 months for most citizens. I wonder if he did a follow-up when everyone started frequenting the 3rd rate tailors?
post #50 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by koolhistorian View Post
You add to that one trench coat, one overcoat and one great coat, plus 2-3 hats and 4-5 pairs of shoes.

I'm late to the party but I'd love to hear a discussion of the difference between a great coat and an overcoat. I just purchased a thick BB camel polo which I think may qualify as the former.
post #51 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by sellahi22 View Post
I don't think Waugh was quite as rich and idle as Bertie Wooster

As the original post suggests, he was a journalist, and he had already finished Decline and Fall and was working on his next novel.

What does that have to do with going to an office? He would have written while at home. He only needed the aforementioned clothing for appearances in public. Like most writers, he probably worked in a robe and ratty pajamas.
post #52 of 54
Here is a bit of truth instead of the timeless or your own style. "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." Fashions are always changing. Savile Row walked away from what it was if they are pushing timeless today.
post #53 of 54
Quote:
Originally Posted by KObalto View Post
I'm late to the party but I'd love to hear a discussion of the difference between a great coat and an overcoat. I just purchased a thick BB camel polo which I think may qualify as the former.
I think that in this context an "overcoat" probably refers to a lighter weight full length coat--what might also be called a "topcoat." A "greatcoat" would be for more full-on deep-winter wear.
post #54 of 54
We don't live in the horse and buggy days. My grandma would tell me of granddad riding off to market with a wagon load of wheat in the dead of winter. It was about 30 to 40 mile ride. A night in town and then a cold ride back. A great coat would be very handy when sitting upon a wagon bench. He probably sat on a folded blanket and had a couple of other blankets and some heated bricks or rocks to keep him warm for the first half mile. Today some of us, those who don't have a garage, dash out to the car and a couple of miles we are nice and warm and when we get there we dash inside some other warm building briefly feeling any cold on those cold days. How lucky we have it today. Few need a great coat anymore.

Regular over coats is enough for so many, and some top coats is plenty for others.
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