Every time I turn around, I hear about a new vintage reproduction company in the UK, which seems to be where I want to spend my dollars-into-pounds lately and the retail climate appears to be thriving for vintage-inspired clothing. Swing bandleader, guitarist, and dancer Glenn Crytzer tipped me off to Oldfield Clothing, “purveyors of fine British sportswear and accessories for ladies and gentlemen,” when he picked up a pair of their 1930’s workwear trousers, wanting something in a heavier weight for loading band equipment in and out at gigs. The Oldfield Clothing collection looks well-suited to incorporating its pieces into modern wardrobes, with vintage takes on standard clothing items like trousers and sweaters.
The trousers really shine – they offer five different cuts, ranging from the most vintage 1920’s golf knickers to the Keaton trousers that look like a standard pair of front pleated trousers (slightly lower rise than their other pairs, but probably higher rise than modern trousers, if you just want to dip your toe into the wading pool of reproduction trousers). There are a range of fabrics, from linen to corduroy and wool, so you can shop and dress seasonally. The workwear trousers Glenn picked are really special, not only for their durable fabric, but also for the details – buttons for braces, button fly, fish tail back, and cinch strap and buckle, to name a few.
Women’s offerings are limited to knitwear (specifically – but knickers, see above), but some really good pieces, like solid sweater vests and beautiful Fair Isle vests and a sweater. Other items that could be unisex include caps, leather goods, and a classic cream long sleeve polo shirt with two collar options.
I haven’t done anything for the gents in a while, so here we go – I have found myself shopping for menswear recently, as I assemble my golf outfit for the Jazz Age Lawn Party. I was on my high school’s golf team, so this is not entirely for show, and definitely about the love for the game and the clothes. That said, I’d more likely be dancing than swinging a club at the lawn party in August, so I’ll need something that can take the sweat and reduce the heat. I asked David Lochner, my favorite sartorialist and go-to for menswear advice, where I should acquire the perfect 1920’s-style golf cap and his immediate and only response was “Monsivais.”
Damian Monsivais, in addition to crafting superb caps, is a collector of clothing and accessories from 1900 through the 1930’s. From the website, a proper introduction: “Caps where all the rage during the early years but are so difficult to find in good sizes. All men of trades owned one, from farmers to the Prince of Wales. Mostly made of wool and lined with silk. Today’s modern caps are nothing like they made in the 1920s and 1930s so I took it upon myself to make some reproductions for myself and now I offer them here to the public whom share the same liking and want a period correct look.”
Right now Monsivais Caps is transitioning from an Etsy page to an independent website, so to get a bigger picture of the business, go look at both, then order from the independent website. The fabric selections are even broader than shown, so if you are looking for something specific, as I was looking for summer-weight fabrics in specific colors, simply start a conversation. You can also supply your own fabric and have it made into a fabulous cap.
Upon consultation with Mr. Monsivais and a mailing of fabric samples, we are going with a nice cream linen with a brown check in a “simple one piece crown” that I am very excited to acquire. I will do a follow-up post once I’ve worn the cap with the golf ensemble.
In the interim, I invite you to take a gander and these gorgeous cap offerings – oh, the seaming!
Two spring sales worth posting about! First, the Original Prohibition Clothing Company is offering a great sale dubbed the “Spring Made-to-Measure Event” – with a focus on spring/summer weight fabrics (hello, tropical weight woolens and linens), the following price cuts:
Unconstructed Jackets were $348, now $298
Full-Rise Trousers were $188, now $159
Fine Cotton Shirts were $88, now $75
Prices valid through March 31st, 2014. There are so many “3 season” suits and heavy suits out there, it seems that for dancing that the most practical splurge would be for a summer suit, no? If you don’t like ironing or wrinkling, my vote is for the tropical weight wool. Remember, wool is a natural fiber that breathes…
Next, a wonderful sale from the I-can’t-believe-this-is-a-thing retailer A Vintage Sole, selling dead stock/never worn vintage shoes – here are the details:
“Enter ‘Benzie’ in the discount box at checkout and receive 15% OFF your entire order. By doing so, you’ll be lending a very helpful hand to those in real need.
When you use the Benzie code, we will donte 5% of your order to the Benzie Food Partners, our local all volunteer food bank.
Visit aVintageSole.com to learn more about our $hop-$ave-$upport program and the huge impact your purchase will make for those in Benzie County, Michigan.”
It’s never too late in the season to pick up a proper summer suit and this vintage Brooks Brothers linen suit is no exception (ignore the ill fit on the model, poor guy) – the seller is dating this as 1920’s or 1930’s, but, regardless of decade, this is a quality suit. Looks to be around a 42/44 jacket with a 36 inch waist and a 30.5 inch inseam with a solid 2 inches to let out. SOLID.
BEHOLD! I give you this glorious new shoe from Johnston & Murphey – the Holbrook Linen Cap Toe! I can’t think of many other shoes more worthy of a linen or seersucker suit. Gents, this is one snappy shoe.
In these warmer days, a Palm Beach linen suit is the perfect way to dress up without sacrificing too much comfort. Right now, eBay has just such a suit from the 20’s/30’s, with a starting bid of $100.00. Check out the action back on that jacket!
This suit is not without issues, but it’s such a rare find that, for the right price, I’d be willing to take a chance. The main issue is that the jacket and pants are slightly different in colors, which the seller attributes to the jacket being worn separately and more often. This suit would be just as fantastic as separates, even if a dry cleaning didn’t work out the color differences.
The eBay gods have offered up this wonderful reproduction specimen by American designer Ralph Lauren, who has created one of the holy grails of male swing dancer shopping, his version of the linen Norfolk jacket. In white, breathable, summer weight linen, this Norfolk jacket has oodles of details, like the square pockets in the front, full belting, and what looks like pintuck detailing in the front. Made in a size 40L, it’s a wearable size for a taller gent. At $375, this grail comes with a price tag I’d not normally post on Lindy Shopper, but it was too good not to share and it’s new, with the tags still attached. I always have hope that, if I watch the item long enough, the price will go down or the seller will entertain other offers.
It’s back to reality, post-Experiment, but while I was away I did have a chance to chat with instructor Bobby White about some of his impeccable garments. He directed me to Magnoli Clothiers as a great source for vintage reproduction three piece suits. I must agree with Mr. Whi-te on this one, as the tailoring and fabrics look spot on.
Magnoli Clothiers is more than just menswear, it “is dedicated to the reproduction of vintage clothing, historic garments and popular film costumes. These reproductions, however, are not costume pieces, but tailor-made, high-quality clothing…any piece of mens clothing that you can provide images of can be reproduced. We can copy a garment you already own, or, by analyzing various images, we can reproduce any article from photograph or film stills.” The sky is the limit, or you can choose from their impeccable sample suits, pants, leather jackets, sport coats, shirts, vests, shoes, hats, and accessories.
The prices are no bargain, but for custom pieces…consider this an investment in looking awesome. Reasonably priced vintage repro menswear is hard for Lindy Shopper to find, but I am on a reproduction kick right now so I thought it best to share. Did I mention shipping is included in the price? That helps a bit.
Here are some of the great pieces you might want to own:
Last month I put out the call for a shopping challenge, asking Lindy Shopper readers to send me on a mission for your heart’s desire, the garment you have been unable to find and add to your wardrobe. My first response was from Rich Werden, a fellow dancer and vintage clothing enthusiast who I met last year at All Balboa Weekend. One of his challenges (email subject line: “You want a challenge!?!?”) was to find a Norfolk jacket, or as Rich more aptly put it:
“The Coup de grace is a belt-back sport jacket that would actually fit me. The naming of this style is difficult: sometimes these jackets are called Action-Backs, Norfolk, or Bi-Swing jackets. The style was popular in heavy wools n’ tweed as an outdoorsman thing for going sport shooting in England, but of course, being a dancer, I wouldn’t want anything so heavy. Really, Nick Williams has an excellent white one that I have been jealous of for years! I can’t even find a place that would do one bespoke!”
Out of my element and, perhaps, out of my league, I set forth my online quest for this belt-back jacket. My first stop was eBay, to look for the right key words for my eBay searches, as the plan was to look online, but also have searches sent to me daily using the key words Rich gave me for this particular jacket. The term “Norfolk jacket” yielded the most results, almost all of them in tweed.
One of the jackets caught my eye, as it was in a lighter color and sans tweed, so I clicked through to view the auction description. The auction was for a vintage 1970’s Norfolk jacket, offered for sale by Bookster, a British company that sells vintage menswear, but also has their own retail web site for custom menswear – “Home of The Bookster Range, Craft Tailored in England from the Finest British Tweed, Wool and Linen Cloths at Accessible Prices.”
A promising start. I honed in on the word “linen” – yes, here’s a dancer-friendly fabric!
I messaged Rich with the link, hoping that this was even close to what he wanted. Rich agreed that the linens would be the way to go. 🙂
The price is where things get squirrely. Everything is so customized and “bespoke,” down to the number of buttons, vents, regular v. comfort waistline, sleeve length, back length, pockets, shoulder pleats, yowza…I did a sample order, pretending to order a linen Norfolk jacket for my husband and the cost came out at around $550 U.S. This seems like a lot, but if this is THE piece you are missing and you will wear it until you are old and gray, I’d say it would be worth the investment. We do want to invest in some quality pieces, even though Lindy Shopper is always looking for a bargain. Or you could always settle for the disco-era Norfolk jacket they listed on eBay for $65.00.
As a side note, you can also order knickers from Bookster as part of your tweed or linen suit.
Rich upped the ante and found another website, Matt Deckard Apparel based in Los Angeles, offering several versions of the action-back jacket from this side of the pond. The photographs on this site give you an excellent idea of how the pieces will look in an ensemble – such classy gents! Prices range from $800 to $1,500 for a bespoke suit, so maybe the Bookster jacket isn’t looking so bad as an investment.
I’d like to thank Rich for this wonderful foray into menswear – I hope this information will help some of you in your searches as well!
As mentioned in my last post, I went to an outdoor wedding in June, with the oppressive North Carolina humidity and heat in full effect. A gentleman at the wedding, serving as both emcee for the wedding, friend of the family, and fashion inspiration for all of the aspiring Southern gentlemen present, was wearing a tan seersucker suit, a glorious coral dress shirt, a candy colored necktie, a coral pocket square, and a most amazing pair of tan linen and brown leather shoes that perfectly complimented the ensemble. It was great to see a variation on the traditional white bucks. The gentleman said the shoes were Joseph Abboud for Florsheim (if I remember correctly), purchased a few years ago. I almost asked if I could photograph his outfit, but decided that would be too creepy, under the circumstances.
I searched for these shoes online, wanting to find these stylish shoes that looked like they would be great for dancing, but came up empty handed. I’ve had searches running for these shoes on eBay and nothing close to these shoes has come up. I will continue my mission for these shoes, but in the interim…
…eBay searches have yielded another Joseph Abboud linen and leather combo, pictured here. They are more casual than the other pair I’m looking for, but perhaps more functional for dancers who aren’t the seersucker suit wearing types?
They just aren’t as great as the ones worn by the Southern gent. *sigh* I will keep looking.
My heart be still…any man who dons this gorgeous three piece linen suit and asks me to dance will definitely get a spin on the dance floor. At $325 it’s as much as you’d pay for a new suit, but definitely less than this version in Irish linen from Brooks Brothers for $598…
I’ve been getting a lot of requests for vests lately, but vests are hard to come by in the men’s stores I’ve been to with my dad and in vintage stores, or at least the ones I am frequenting. EBay has a few right now, so here are some vests in linen, an ideal summer weight fabric: