We should just start giving all our clothing money to the UK because I’m convinced this is where the giant hub of vintage reproduction clothing is located. Thanks to a Reddit thread about trying to find suits for swing dancing, I’m now hip to Chester Cordite, which offers “a modern take on classic styles from the golden age of 1930s and 1940s, producing limited edition suits and shirts with period influenced fabrics at splendidly affordable prices and all suits made in England.” Chester Cordite got its start with that same frustration of not being able to find the right suits in good condition, and since necessity is the mother of invention, we have this company producing wonderful suits and shirts.
The suits are definitely custom, in gorgeous fabrics, perfect vintage-inspired cuts, and are fairly reasonably priced for custom work. On an even more accessible level are their spearpoint collar shirts, which will give you an immediate vintage look (compare to modern shirt collars) for only 60 pounds (roughly $75 as of the date of this post), about what you would spend for a shirt at a nice menswear store in the U.S. The shirts also come in an array of solid colors and stripes, which I love for dancers because most menswear-wearing dancers I know don’t commit to a jacket the whole night and it’s nice to have something classic other than a white dress shirt to complete your look. All of the suits and shirts are paired with vintage ties in photographs on the website to give you an idea of how your vintage look will work.
I am still hunting three piece suits for my husband and I came across this lovely gray specimen today on eBay – it’s not vintage (in a swing era sense), but I thought the lines on this suit were really nice. Specifically, note how the jacket has a waist – I find it remarkable that American menswear has digressed to the point that it is so relaxed that it no longer appears to have a waist. I can imagine that no one wants to look like a giant rectangle, regardless of gender. It’s so nice to see a jacket with a defined waist, something that shows the fit and perhaps adds a slimming effect. It’s not a bad price either, with a buy it now of $175.00.
It is not often that my husband contributes ideas to this blog, but I must give him credit for this find. We’ve been looking for a vintage or new three piece suit for him for a while now and, with his birthday coming up, I guess he kicked his part of the search in gear and found this three piece suit at Men’s Wearhouse to add to his wishlist. It looks pretty nondescript in terms of era, but could easily be enhanced with details, like a vintage tie, pocket square, or tie clip, to give it that swing era feel. It could also double as just a regular suit by removing the vest and adding modern accessories for work, job interviews, or whatever else you may need a suit for. At $199.00, the price is right for this versatile three piece suit, which comes in black, a fine black/white pattern, brown pinstripes, a fine brown pattern, and charcoal gray.
Another classic three piece suit has popped up on eBay. This one appears to be pretty standard, a few mended places, a few places to be mended, but overall in fine appearance. The seller says the jacket is about a 42 and the pants have a 42 inch waist, but check the measurements in the auction carefully, as the seller’s estimate of size is not always spot on.
This three piece 1930’s suit definitely has potential – if you look at the close-up photographs, the herringbone is blue and gray, which creates an interesting visual effect. Size 40R and priced to move at a $24.99 starting bid on eBay.
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…