Tuxedo Fabric Choices

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Axelman 17, Oct 12, 2008.

  1. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    You are entitled to your tastes and you have your own look but the Lesser Formal book is a little too retro for most unless one wants to stand out as remarkable for dressing in the mode of La Belle Epoque. [​IMG]

    What is so retro about it? Can you explain why Lesser's plain black cloth somehow looks 100 years old whereas H&S's looks current? With specific examples?

    I agree with Sator that Lesser is much better quality than H&S. My problem with the Lesser formal book is that, as I recall, the lightest weight stuff in it is 12 ounces, and that is not really practical unless you intend to own more than one bespoke DJ. And, even in winter, black tie events tend to be overheated and overcrowded. Since you can't take your coat off, heavy cloth is not a great bet.

    The Smith formal book has lighter options that are just as, or close to, as good.
     


  2. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Yes.

    And what, pray tell, does the rule specify, and what is the justification for it, to the extent that there is any? I just want to know so that when you mock my tuxedo, I can appreciate the reasons.
     


  3. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    You are entitled to your tastes and you have your own look but the Lesser Formal book is a little too retro for most unless one wants to stand out as remarkable for dressing in the mode of La Belle Epoque. [​IMG]

    It all looks black as night to me, making it impossible to date the cloth. The thing about the Lesser 14 Oz is that it feels lighter than the H&S barathea (many of their clothes aren't woven in England or even Europe - big company, cost cutting). The H Lesser is wonderfully lush and soft. You could easily mistake it for something half the weight.
     


  4. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    What is so retro about it? Can you explain why Lesser's plain black cloth somehow looks 100 years old whereas H&S's looks current? With specific examples?

    I agree with Sator that Lesser is much better quality than H&S. My problem with the Lesser formal book is that, as I recall, the lightest weight stuff in it is 12 ounces, and that is not really practical unless you intend to own more than one bespoke DJ. And, even in winter, black tie events tend to be overheated and overcrowded. Since you can't take your coat off, heavy cloth is not a great bet.

    The Smith formal book has lighter options that are just as, or close to, as good.


    If I could, I would get a 24 Oz barathea. 12 Oz is just pathetic tissue paper. Even 14 Oz is barely adequate.
     


  5. Axelman 17

    Axelman 17 Senior member

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    I can definitely ask Chan if they have something out of the Smith formal book in a fairly light weight. It sounds like the H&S isnt a bad option though, which is reassuring.

    Is the point of the fishtail comfort? I had thought about avoiding braces because I dont find them particularly comfortable and they like to fall off or slide down my shoulders. Would side tabs be a major faux pas?
     


  6. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    And what, pray tell, does the rule specify, and what is the justification for it, to the extent that there is any? I just want to know so that when you mock my tuxedo, I can appreciate the reasons.

    Barathea is the traditional weave for evening clothes. Other options are minature herringbone (so miniature, you almost need a magnifying glass to tell) and hairline stripe (a/k/a "tricotine"). The idea, I suppose, was that plain worsted was too businesslike and/or funereal for evening clothes, which were supposed to me more "fun." Also, a minute textured weave was one of hte rare ways to introduce some character into an all black and white ensemble.

    Look at the English formal books, and you will see these weaves, as well as mohair and silk for summer and/or resort evening wear.
     


  7. grimslade

    grimslade Senior member

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    Barathea is the traditional weave for evening clothes. Other options are minature herringbone (so miniature, you almost need a magnifying glass to tell) and hairline stripe (a/k/a "tricotine"). The idea, I suppose, was that plain worsted was too businesslike and/or funereal for evening clothes, which were supposed to me more "fun." Also, a minute textured weave was one of hte rare ways to introduce some character into an all black and white ensemble.

    Look at the English formal books, and you will see these weaves, as well as mohair and silk for summer and/or resort evening wear.


    See, I don't "look at books." I "shop in stores."

    Thanks for the explanation.
     


  8. Sator

    Sator Senior member

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    Other options are minature herringbone (so miniature, you almost need a magnifying glass to tell)

    [​IMG]

    H Lesser 12 Oz #29906
     


  9. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    Is the point of the fishtail comfort? I had thought about avoiding braces because I dont find them particularly comfortable and they like to fall off or slide down my shoulders. Would side tabs be a major faux pas?

    The fishmouth (it's not really a fishtail) back has three purposes:

    1) It raises the height of the trouser in back, making sure that the vest's overlap comes down quite far, ensuring that you will never show shirt between the trouser waist and vest bottom no matter how you bend your torso.

    2) It improves the trouser balance. This is rather hard to explain further without diagrams. Suffice it to say that all well cut trousers are higher in back than in front. But with belted trousers, this extra height is much less (and hardly noticiable unless you are looking for it).

    3) It raises the rear fork of the suspenders, moving the two straps closer to your neck, making it much less likely they will slide down. The more your shoulders slope, the more you need this extra height in back.

    Don't get side tabs. Get the fishmouth back. That alone will probably prevent the slippage that is bothering you. Then get a pair of black or white silk moire braces with braided ends from Thurston.
     


  10. voxsartoria

    voxsartoria Goon member

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    I don't know if Chan carries it, but if they do, have a look at the Thomas Fisher formal book, which is a bunch of Huddersfield cloth. I had a DB dinner suit made up in Fisher 11oz barathea. I compared this in different indoor, and also outdoor, lighting conditions with the H&S and Lesser blacks...my conclusion was that the Fisher was more successful staying jet black under all lighting conditions (e.g., incandescent, flourescent, candlelight, direct sunlight etc.). It's that attribute of the Fisher that swayed me from midnight blue.

    It also made up quite well and wears comfortably.



    - B
     


  11. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    A slight topic change, but useful to the OP:

    Has anyone ever tried getting trousers in, say, 14 or 16oz and a the coat in something like a 10oz. The benefits, for me, are obvious - trouser weight makes little difference to me in how hot I get, and there is a huge payoff in terms of weight for trousers: the heavier they are, the better they hang and hold a nice line and center crease and the less likely the are to get wrinkly around the crotch area from sitting in place while people drone on and on about the wonders of the groom, honoree etc. On the other hand, I would gladly take a little wrinkling on the coat for a lighter weight. Black tie, while not as frequently worn, is usually worn in the most sweltering of circumstances - lots of dancing and stuffy overcrowded rooms.

    The obvious problem is color matching, but I wonder if merchants do a good enough job to keep the dye lots consistent.

    The only way I would even try to do this is if I went to a place like A&S, Huntsman, Poole or Davies that has large piles of cloth on hand and I could actually take the stuff out into good light (and bad light) and see how the two bolts looked next to eaah other. But perhaps someone else has tried this already.
     


  12. mafoofan

    mafoofan THE FOO Dubiously Honored

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    I like the midnight blue suggestions. FNB, I also don't get why Lesser would be more 'retro' and H&S.
     


  13. Film Noir Buff

    Film Noir Buff Senior member

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    It all looks black as night to me, making it impossible to date the cloth.
    The concept of "finish" on cloth is crucial but it takes time and eye training to be able to distinguish them. Finishes have an effect on the observer but that does not mean it is understood by that person that the finish of the cloth is what makes something look more current, retro or modern. Like many other things, until you are trained to observe it, it goes unnoticed or unappreciated. Being able to see the differences in cloth finishes is essential to understanding why some cloths which might be very good quality are unsuitable for a particular purpose. We can all see the differences between a flannel and a smooth worsted but what about the differences amongst smooth worsted? There are textural differences and diferences in in the water, resins and methods they are "finished" with. To my eye, A Lesser tuxedo looks like a high quality garment from 75 years ago. SOme people like that, some people want to look like an anachronism and some people think the past is better than the present. However, most men do not think this and want something contemporary, which is why I can speak about "Suitability" of purpose. Can I appreciate someone driving around in a car from 1925? Absolutley. Would I get one or drive around in one myself? Never.
    The thing about the Lesser 14 Oz is that it feels lighter than the H&S barathea (many of their clothes aren't woven in England or even Europe - big company, cost cutting). The H Lesser is wonderfully lush and soft. You could easily mistake it for something half the weight.
    Although I don't know which H&S cloth you are comparing to which Lesser one, I wouldn't say that Lesser's formal book feels lighter than H&S', if anything I think the Lesser formal cloth is heavier feeling, partially due to its "quality" which makes it denser. I have seen both H&S and Lessers formal book cloths made up and H&S has a more contemporary feel. While H&S might be heading towards cost cuttings, for the moment their cloth is still very good quality. Maybe Lessers lasts 150 years and H&S' only 100 but I suppose only time will tell [​IMG]
     


  14. Manton

    Manton RINO Dubiously Honored

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    The concept of "finish" on cloth is crucial but it takes time and eye training to be able to distinguish them. Finishes have an effect on the observer but that does not mean it is understood by that person that the finish of the cloth is what makes something look more current, retro or modern. Like many other things, until you are trained to observe it, it goes unnoticed or unappreciated.

    Ah, of course, the usual FNB dodge. "I am upper class and so I notice these things. You, poor peon, with your outhouse background cannot, and they cannot be explained to you."

    What is it about the "finish" then? Can you even say, as a general matter, what factors constitute what "finish" is?
     


  15. dopey

    dopey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Ah, of course, the usual FNB dodge. "I am upper class and so I notice these things. You, poor peon, with your outhouse background cannot, and they cannot be explained to you."

    Midnight blue looks blacker than black in an outhouse.
     


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