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When did we lose it?

post #1 of 111
Thread Starter 
Canvassed vs. fused.
Welted vs. cemented.
Split waistband vs. "jean construction"

These are all distinctions that our fathers' fathers new quite well, but almost noone today has any knowledge of them. Now, everyone I know seems to think $50 will buy you an amazing pair of trousers and $120 will fetch you the finest shoes how can own. We seem to have lost knowledge and interest in a very short amount of time.

As a young person who can't remember it happening, I want to ask: When, and how, did it happen?
post #2 of 111
Blame it on the disco...
post #3 of 111
My Grandfather wouldn't have known any of those terms.
post #4 of 111
Perhaps, it can be said, we met our end the moment we set our eyes on the prize.

Addendum: Seriously, though: Probably in the cheapo '70s, things started on their long decline, with things bottoming out in the early '90s.
post #5 of 111
Wait, split waistband is better than normal waistband? How?
post #6 of 111
I'd argue part of it is that the inferior construction methods have gotten better over the past few decades. A fused suit now is of much higher quality than a fused suit was 30 years ago. Still significantly worse than a fully canvassed suit, but the gap has certainly closed.

Although this goes farther back, it has to do with mass acceptance of RTW clothing as well. Before RTW, you might talk to the man who was going to make your clothes. He could tell you exactly how they would be made. In a RTW shop, you can carry it out with you, and you will talk to a salesperson who might not know these things.
post #7 of 111
Blame it on the boogie.

I think my generation (born before 1960) was probably about the last to grow up wearing suits on a regular basis. The knowledge seems to have begun fading away with the generations who didn't grow up wearing suits regularly.

But I don't think even our fathers or father's fathers actually new much about the terms you list above. Rather, they knew where to shop and relied mostly on brand reputation. My father wouldn't have bought a shoe if Johnston and Murphy didn't make it (back in the days when they built a quality shoe.) Nor would he have bought a suit from anyone other than the local finer menswear shop. Sure, he could look at the finishing of an inside of a coat and notice the way it was finished and it's detailing, but I don't think he could have told you canvassed or not.

That's my personal experience. I'm sure others will vary.
post #8 of 111
I don't think the premise is quite right. We didn't "lose it." My grandfather wore stark, raving mad plaid jackets (and he was a wealthy, Harvard educated man), and dark crimson socks at all times (hence, the Harvard background).

My father - who is a sartorialist at heart - is also a fashion disaster. Wearing blazers that are three and four sizes too big, and jeans that were cut for a bow-legged bull rider. He salivates at the sight of loud, green silk blazers that look like something an early-bird special customer from Tavern on the Green would have worn in the 1980s. Yet, there's not a men's shop that he can pass by without a Pavolian response.

To that end, I love fashion as well, and I am detail-oriented about my fasion (and perhaps no where else in my life), but I don't care about canvassed vs. half-canvassed vs. quarter canvassed. I just know quality when I see it, and when it wears well for years.

I know the names, but to know which Corneliani blazer is fused vs. canvassed is not a luxury that 99.9999% of socieity has to worry about, nor is it something that my grandfather, great-grandafather, or my dear old dad concerned themselves with at any point in time.
post #9 of 111
Originally Posted by onix View Post

Wait, split waistband is better than normal waistband? How?

It simplifies future alteration of the waist.
post #10 of 111
Originally Posted by brainchild View Post

When, and how, did it happen?

When women lowered their standards.

post #11 of 111
Originally Posted by Sanguis Mortuum View Post

It simplifies future alteration of the waist.

I've heard some people argue that it somehow makes the fit of the pants better as well...but also it's more expensive to construct than a normal waistband, meaning that it signals quality in other dimensions
post #12 of 111
Monty Burton kicked off the demise with "suits for the masses" and JFK (AKA Hatless Jack) Made it ok for men to dress without a hat. Between the two of them, we were all doomed.
post #13 of 111
Well for one they wouldn't have to worry about fused construction in suits. This is a relatively new innovation that has come about to drive down manufacturing costs. Your dad's dad wouldn't know what canvassing was, likely, because he would never have worn anything but canvassed suits.

Now to the topic at hand. My grandfather grew up in Italy and has multiple family members involved in the clothing/fabric business. He often wore things of tremendous style and quality by default; it was just the only thing he knew. That said, he was not a tailor or a mill man, he just wore what was given to him or what he liked from my family's offerings. I don't think he would ever have any concept of or care for arguing the things that you listed above. He had more important things to do: like fight wars, immigrate to a new country and provide for his family.

Conversely my father's style is atrocious. He was raised in Chicago and is definitely a victim of the 1970's quality dip. He wore suits every day for roughly 30 years and while he bought the cool labels or got MTM shirts when his colleagues ordered them, he had no concept of what went into making any of it. He'll be the first to tell you he lucked into quality with a lot of the stuff he still has. He'll also tell you he has no idea why his suits still hold their shape or why his pants haven't disintegrated. Just wasn't a priority for him.

I am far and away the only one in my family that knows or cares to know anything about clothes construction. My great uncle, from Napoli, actually told me the other day I was far too concerned with clothing and that I should be a tailor if I had passion. Otherwise, as he said, "You will be seen as vain, or worse, a dandy."
post #14 of 111
My dad had a couple of really nice suits from the late 40s. Never wore them. Worked in a lab coat and VA issued shirt. White T-shirt and jeans outside of work. When he needed to dress up it was a Ward's lime green snap shirt (not western cut) and a corduroy blazer with a brown polyester tie. He was born into a well-to-do family in 1926.
post #15 of 111
Originally Posted by OinkBoink View Post

When women lowered their standards.

And Justin Bieber became the new "ideal man"!
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