or Connect
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › How We Used to Dress
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How We Used to Dress - Page 7

post #91 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Copeland View Post

Kinder, Küche, Kirche (& Kleider)

post #92 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonSox View Post

 

More affluent people have always dressed better, in general, than other classes. 

 

I am not sure that this is actually true. Money does not buy taste and it never has done.

post #93 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

 

I am not sure that this is actually true. Money does not buy taste and it never has done.

Money allows the rich to make mistakes and throw it in the trash. The poor can't afford to make a $1500 suit mistake which really isn't that much money and it's only mid level suits. But if the poor buy the wrong one they're screwed. It's not like they can drink a bottle of Bollinger and buy a Brioni the next day.

post #94 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Upward View Post

Money allows the rich to make mistakes and throw it in the trash. The poor can't afford to make a $1500 suit mistake which really isn't that much money and it's only mid level suits. But if the poor buy the wrong one they're screwed. It's not like they can drink a bottle of Bollinger and buy a Brioni the next day.

I was in Bristol, UK fairly recently, and was looking at the sort of clothes in the stores there, including suits and tailored jackets. And most of what was available in the high street or in malls, seemed to the "trendy" cropped, skinny, tiny lapel things, that appeared to be mostly polyester. Thing is I'm 50 and quite well built, it just wouldn't want to wear anything like that. To buy a nice Brioni, think I'd have to go to London, like Harrods.

In fact the only clothes I did buy in the UK in the end was a couple of George shirts from Asda(Walmart). LOL.
Edited by MikeDT - 7/30/13 at 8:57pm
post #95 of 157

Radcliffe became a part of Harvard University well before the 70's, and Radcliffe students attended classes with Harvard students for a long time. There was a period when the women did the same work, same majors, same requirements, but their degrees said "Radcliffe", rather than Harvard. Then there was a period when Radcliffe ran the admissions, but the degrees said "Harvard". The absurdity was summarized as "admitted to Radcliffe, graduated from Harvard."

 

Students at Harvard, and elsewhere, dress according to local standards. These seem pretty universal in mandating casual dress unless there is a specific reason for being more formal. If a male Harvard student were to show up dressed like it was the '30's, people would assume he had some event that required the fancy clothes. If he dressed like that all the time, it would be taken for an idiosyncrasy. There are lots of people who behave unusually, and people tend to ignore the oddness once they accept that is just part of that individual. 

 

I don't know when the Houses stopped having dress codes in the dining halls. Now that they don't, one sees how students CHOOSE to dress, rather than how they are REQUIRED to dress. 

 

I believe the wealthy have often worn more expensive clothes. They are not necessarily "better." I wear old clothes and newer clothes in old styles. I doubt any of my clothes were ever expensive, and certainly no one could advertise his wealth by wearing such. But they are "good" as in sturdy, durable, easy to maintain, and, IMHO, never go so far out of style that I cannot keep wearing them. Following fashion trends, and buying new clothes when designers tell you to do so is definitely a game for those with lots of disposable cash. That does not mean that everyone who can afford to do this does. I suspect that a very large proportion of men in the 1% pay no attention at all to the designers. Don't know who they are, don't know what they are pushing this year, and don't care. These men may be well to do, but that does not mean they have large clothing budgets.

post #96 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by FlyingMonkey View Post

 

I am not sure that this is actually true. Money does not buy taste and it never has done.

In general only the (higher) middle class and the upper class had the luxury for "style". The lower classes were just looking to keep their head above water, not sparing much money for sartorial statements. If there would be luxury items think of nice pottery, clock, watch, paintings as those kept their value and hardly decay.

 

So Crimsonsox is undoubtedly right, without money style is pretty impossible. And yes, that changed during and after WW2 in the USA and Western Europe, but the era at hand, the 1930's, wasn't the greatest for the proletariat. 

post #97 of 157
The 30s was actually a great decade for menswear, not just for the rich. Bespoke clothing didn't cost as much back then, but people also invested more in quality than quantity. Go look at pictures of the crowd at baseball games. Obviously those in abject poverty couldn't afford to go, but you certainly didn't need to be upper middle class. Especially since teams in that era served cheap food in order to make the experience more affordable. Pretty much all the men are in suits, ties and hats.
post #98 of 157
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbhdnhdbh View Post

Radcliffe became a part of Harvard University well before the 70's, and Radcliffe students attended classes with Harvard students for a long time. There was a period when the women did the same work, same majors, same requirements, but their degrees said "Radcliffe", rather than Harvard. Then there was a period when Radcliffe ran the admissions, but the degrees said "Harvard". The absurdity was summarized as "admitted to Radcliffe, graduated from Harvard."

Students at Harvard, and elsewhere, dress according to local standards. These seem pretty universal in mandating casual dress unless there is a specific reason for being more formal. If a male Harvard student were to show up dressed like it was the '30's, people would assume he had some event that required the fancy clothes. If he dressed like that all the time, it would be taken for an idiosyncrasy. There are lots of people who behave unusually, and people tend to ignore the oddness once they accept that is just part of that individual. 

I don't know when the Houses stopped having dress codes in the dining halls. Now that they don't, one sees how students CHOOSE to dress, rather than how they are REQUIRED to dress. 

I believe the wealthy have often worn more expensive clothes. They are not necessarily "better." I wear old clothes and newer clothes in old styles. I doubt any of my clothes were ever expensive, and certainly no one could advertise his wealth by wearing such. But they are "good" as in sturdy, durable, easy to maintain, and, IMHO, never go so far out of style that I cannot keep wearing them. Following fashion trends, and buying new clothes when designers tell you to do so is definitely a game for those with lots of disposable cash. That does not mean that everyone who can afford to do this does. I suspect that a very large proportion of men in the 1% pay no attention at all to the designers. Don't know who they are, don't know what they are pushing this year, and don't care. These men may be well to do, but that does not mean they have large clothing budgets.

If you are correct on the default coeducational environment you describe,
what explains the lack of women in the Harvard classes from the 30s shown in the pictures?

If Wikipedia is correct, for most of its' existence, Radcliffe offered separate classes to women,
by Harvard faculty.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radcliffe_College
post #99 of 157

Well, that was a long time ago, but I have heard it said that that the instructional classes became coed "sometime around WWII". So photos from the '30's would have been during the time when many Harvard faculty taught Radcliffe students, but in classes separate from the Harvard students. Remember that the male undergrad student body was much larger than the female, even once joint instruction began. Add that to the very gender-aware distribution of students by courses and concentrations and it would be easy to find classes with all male students, even well after the '30's. It would probably be possible to find some all-male classes even today, if you searched among the physical sciences. They would be the exception, but with, perhaps, 4 times as many men as women majoring in things like computer science, it could be done.

post #100 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by MikeDT View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollotrader View Post


Oh boy, some of the more humorous on these boards could absofuckinlutely knock it out of the park on the comments section of this PRICELESS article (Why I Wear Skirts). Please share with the class if you do!!!

You never meet Plymouth Brethren and had to work with them? That''s why I saw that blog, and immediate though this is Brethren. If you're not familiar with them, it might seem "priceless".....see also Amish, Darbyites or Mennonites.


Yes Mike I am quite familiar with the Amish etc........it was merely an attempt at humor.

post #101 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

The 30s was actually a great decade for menswear, not just for the rich. Bespoke clothing didn't cost as much back then, but people also invested more in quality than quantity. Go look at pictures of the crowd at baseball games. Obviously those in abject poverty couldn't afford to go, but you certainly didn't need to be upper middle class. Especially since teams in that era served cheap food in order to make the experience more affordable. Pretty much all the men are in suits, ties and hats.

Granted I'm not an expert on specific social economic circumstances in the States, but at the university as Social Economic Historian I had to do a study of the clothes industry and write a pre-grad paper (either that or counting spoons on transatlantic liners, and no, I'm not kidding). That was pretty much seen from the industries viewpoint, but there are quite a few basics: luxury clothing is in general pretty low on the expenses ladder, especially considering there was no such thing as cheap credit. People owned perhaps a good coat/sit/dress for special occasions, but that's at best. 

 

Keep in mind that you see these people dressed at their best, going to a social event. What we see on pictures is not representative of what people wore day to day. To put it into perspective: consider photographing a congregation at sunday, you might think that people generally dress pretty decent.

 

Then the bespoke comment: This will be shocking, but in general machined goods are much better quality than handmade, unless astronomic amounts of time are invested. Even then is the ability to produce solid consistent quality something handmade simply can't do as well. => Clothing was one of the first mechanized industries and was hugely important. Cheap clothes are one of the characteristics of the industrial era. I'm 100% positive most people you saw on those pictures are wearing low grade machined coats and suits.

 

Another quality issue: The materials used were less refined but that also made them stronger. So quality wise at best you can say there is a shift towards refinement at the cost of endurance. 

 

 

Lastly, the price issue, what I see from the bespoke prices nowadays I wonder if comparable quality was relatively cheaper back then. The reason I say this is because bespoke is nowadays pretty cheap considering the procedure involved. Yes, a few bespoke operators are doing well, but many are floundering, even at Saville Row.

 

Let's do a rough guess, not to argue with you, but simply because I'm very curious if you are right (could very well be!)

 

=> Keep in mind this is very skewed as we should use median, but I could only find the avg of 1930 and can't be bothered right now. Also, spending patterns are completely different as people didn't buy flatscreens, didn't go to Hawai etc. But I think it's an interesting excercise:

 

2013 Average annual income= $69.000/year

1930 Average annual income= $1368/year

 

Bespoke suit SR:

 

2013: 5000$ *Ballpark*

1930: 357,60$ *CPI corrected from 5000$ => No idea how close to the real prize it was at the time, but at least it's a direct translation of current pricing back to 1930.

 

So we can buy 14 SR suits nowadays, whereas the average American could buy 4 SR suits in 2013 (if prices developed somewhat close to inflation). Of course we could go with cheaper bespoke in the 1400 range, which would be the equivalent of 100$ in 1930. Again, no idea but that seems like a reasonable figure for a handsworkman, so perhaps your statement is valid. Doesn't change that it seems that bespoke actually became cheaper than it was then.

 

We do NOT know how correct my 1930 scenario is (we know it's probably not accurate), but on the other hand there is some interesting data here. An SR suit probably has pretty much the same time to completion, so manhours are similar. It seems extremely unlikely an average SR suit in 1930 would cost a measly 100$, so at a glance it seems a bespoke suit is actually a decent deal nowadays

 

Due to the lousy data and pretty much flawed methodology I displayed here it's hardly conclusive, so I fully understand people disagreeing here. But I do think there is a decent argument to be made that the current bespoke prices and conclude they are actually pretty low considering the unchanged proces.


Edited by Jackinthebox - 7/30/13 at 1:54pm
post #102 of 157
^The calculation you did there has nothing to do with SR suits, or any one good or service for that matter. All you did was compare the growth rate of average per capita income to the growth rate of the CPI. The whole point is that you could get a good suit for much less than $350 in 1930 - that is, price inflation for bespoke suits has been much greater than the overall price level since 1930.

On your first point, I agree - men might be in their "Sunday best." My point is, 1) everyone had a Sunday best, and it was pretty good. 2) They wore it fairly often, not just weddings and funerals, like today.
post #103 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by unbelragazzo View Post

^The calculation you did there has nothing to do with SR suits, or any one good or service for that matter. All you did was compare the growth rate of average per capita income to the growth rate of the CPI. The whole point is that you could get a good suit for much less than $350 in 1930 - that is, price inflation for bespoke suits has been much greater than the overall price level since 1930.

On your first point, I agree - men might be in their "Sunday best." My point is, 1) everyone had a Sunday best, and it was pretty good. 2) They wore it fairly often, not just weddings and funerals, like today.

I bolded the part I just don't agree with. Of course there was cheaper bespoke than SR back then, but that's also true nowadays. Everything indicates that indeed bespoke clothes have become relatively cheaper. It has become much rarer and a big part of the low-end fell away, but the low-end fell away exactly because it could not compete quality wise with machined clothes.

 

I know that's very controversial, but handmade stuff, if done with a similar amount of manhours, is simply not as good as machined stuff. And consider the low end tailor had to live he had to get his margin somewhere and for tailoring that means manhours (I doubt a small tailor has any chance to create profits by smart buying of cloth). 

 

So for your sundays best: I contend that their sundays best probably is much less refined than people here seem to argue. Yes, they wore suits and ties, but the quality of their goods almost certainly is incomparable of what we wear now. Note that the quality slides a bit due to endurance, I do not deny clothes were stronger back then due to thicker cloth. But we do not think thick rough cloth is very stylish, now do we?

 

=> And as everyone tends to be rather combatitive at this forum; you certainly make valid points and I'm the first to point out the anachronisms and roughshod method I used here. I still think it's pretty clear bespoke became relative cheaper for us. And that's hardly strange considering everything has become relatively (MUCH) cheaper. All a symptom of our dramtically improved (economic) living standards. What I try to say is I like this kind of thought experiment and ensuing discussion ;)

post #104 of 157
Ok, well, this post:

http://asuitablewardrobe.dynend.com/2012/01/beau-brummels-on-14000-year.html

states the 1929 price of a SR suit to be ~13 pounds.

This site:

http://www.measuringworth.com/exchangepound/

gives the average price of a pound in US dollars as $4.86.

So the 1929 price of a SR suit in dollars was 13*4.86 =$63.18.

63.18 < 357.60.

QED.
post #105 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jackinthebox View Post

But we do not think thick rough cloth is very stylish, now do we?

Clearly you haven't visited The London Lounge.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Classic Menswear
Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › How We Used to Dress