I came across two black 1930’s suits in the same jacket size, 40R, on eBay this week that look to be in great condition! The first has a double breasted jacket with the following description:
“This is a vintage 1930’s, three piece, double breasted suit in good, vintage dry cleaned condition. There are no holes or stains. This suit measures 21″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 16 1/2″ across from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the end of the cuff. The pants are 36 x 30. They have interior buttons for suspenders and a button front closure. They are flat fronted with cuffs.”
The second suit is a regular three piece suit, dated 1933, with the description:
“It is 22″ across the chest from armpit to armpit. The upper shoulder area at the back is 17 1/2″ across the back from arm seam to arm seam. The sleeves are 25″ long from the shoulder seam to the cuff. The pants are 35 x 30. They are flat fronted with cuffs. There is a watch pocket.”
Starting price is $199.00 for each suit – you’d run the same at Men’s Wearhouse for a three piece suit, but something tells me this vintage suit would be more of a standout. 🙂
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.
Sweet Lorain (formerly Suite Lorain, now under new ownership) is one of those rare places where there are entire racks devoted to 1930’s and 1940’s clothing, rather than being relegated to a few rare items on the wall or stuck in the middle of a mound of polyester. In fact, Sweet Lorain skirts the issue by focusing exclusively on “Deco to 1960’s.” It’s a huge store, with tons of furniture, housewares, knick-knacks, clothing and accessories, and maybe some random items from a past era you’ve never even thought about. The dresses, evening gowns, coats, and other swing era garments are comparably plentiful and in an array of sizes. There were so many things to see that my partner in crime, Elizabeth Tietgen, and I spent several hours there, long enough for the store owner to offer us each a bottle of water!
We were told that the store had been hoarding swing era items for the ABW participants and people were dropping off things to sell to the ABW’ers the morning of the day we went to Sweet Lorain, namely a pair of 1940’s low heeled sandals that Elizabeth took home and a green 1930’s raincoat that came home with me.
I have heard stories about Sweet Lorain for years from my vintage tailor/couturier, Laura Boyes, who grew up in Cleveland. She and her daughter have had great luck in this store during their visits and Laura has even seen buyers from Anthropologie using their corporate card to purchase items from Sweet Lorain to copy or as inspiration for their designs. Understandably, I’ve been eagerly anticipating this visit to Sweet Lorain and it did not disappoint.
Did I think to take photos of what we bought? No, of course not, but Elizabeth left with a bevy of blue and white items, including a 1950’s sundress, a 1930’s day dress with matching bolero, black 1940’s shoes, tap shoes, and an aqua velvet 1930’s gown, and I left with a gray 1920’s dress, a seersucker romper of unknown decade, the 1930’s raincoat, a tie for the Boy, and a Bakelite bangle. Quite possibly the best trip to a vintage store EVER. Did I mention the prices here are amazing? This store will be a must-do for all subsequent ABWs.
Here are some of the other goodies I found at Sweet Lorain (I apologize for posting photos from my phone, I forgot my real camera):
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:
In honor of my trip to visit Knickerrocker this weekend and DJ at his and Bill Speidel‘s monthly dance event, The Southside Stomp, I decided to profile golfknickers.com, purveyors of men’s and women’s short pants, fancy socks and other classic golf attire. Arguably, if these knickers are made for a sport, wouldn’t they also be ideal for dancing? I’d like to think so.
Golfknickers.com has a clear purpose: “We specialize in our full line of men’s plus fours or golf knickers (knickers). To complement the knickers our company has a full line of matching socks, caps and shirts; allowing us to deliver the complete outfit to our customer. Our customers’ include Corporations, Golf Courses (outfitting Staff and Patrons), School Golf Teams, Tournaments and avid golfers around the world. We are committed to growing the game of golf by encouraging players to wear the game the way it was meant to be played.”
The way it was meant to be played. I’m already a fan – promoting dressing well and in a classic way is just what we do on this blog, as well. 🙂
Now for the goods! Just about everything on this site is vintage inspired and could be worn at a dance. Obviously the knickers are the highlight, with the men’s models in 20 colors of microfiber gabardine and cotton/linen, 6 plaids in cotton/linen, 4 plaids in a wool blend, and some models with matching caps. The microfiber knickers are a steal at $69.95. Ladies can choose from 6 colors and 3 plaids (although shouldn’t they be offering some lovely 1920’s-inspired golf dresses and cloches, a la Jordan Baker? *sigh*)
Having trouble deciding? Golfknickers.com anticipated that the unlimited combinations could be overwhelming, so they have collections of ready to go outfits, that include knickers, shirt, sweater vest, socks and cap already expertly matched – just pick a color. If you’d like to create your own look, but aren’t sure how the pieces will look together, the site offers a virtual model where you can try different color combinations.
My Valentine’s Day debacle could be your new treasure – I bought this great reproduction vest on eBay for my husband, but when I gave it to him on Valentine’s Day it turned out to be too small. I was so disappointed because I had searched a long time to find the perfect vest – something that could be paired with grays, blacks, and any color tie; something that had a subdued pattern; and something that either was vintage or looked vintage that could withstand the wear and tear my husband would put it through (i.e. Lindy Shopper carefully hangs and launders her vintage, while the Boy leaves his clothes in a mound on the floor, which doubles as a cat bed). THIS was that vest.
If this all sounds like your life and fulfills your needs, consider placing a bid on my eBay auction. I love the tiny dot pattern, all the wonderful buttons, and the shape of the front of the vest. This fabric is durable and new, but looks like it could have stepped out of another decade. Estimated at a size 40 chest by the previous seller, and confirmed by the 2 inch gap in the front when the Boy tried it on.
Etsy seller Raleigh Vintage has an adorable matching plaid skirt and vest set from the 1940’s. While I’ve been pining for spring, let’s be realistic – it’s going to be cold for at least another month, which should give you plenty of time to get in a couple of wearings of this adorable set. I love the rhinestone-studded buttons, the pleats in the skirt, and the scoop neck on the vest. Pair with a pretty blouse and some wedges and you’re set for the dance!
I am intrigued by this vest. Most of the vintage menswear I find is in shades of gray and brown, so when something green (my favorite color) popped up, it got my attention. EBay seller johnsartifactorium is offering this rare dark green 1930’s vest with the original store tags still attached! It looks black in the photo, but the seller states that the photos are dark and the vest is a lovely hunter green. The seller has the vest listed as small, and the tags say 37, so I’d ask the seller for more specific measurements if you are interested in this item.
You could be dressed up like a million dollar trooper this holiday season in this fantastic 1930’s tuxedo, available on eBay from seller catalpa1961 with a starting bid of only $9.99! I do wish the seller had pressed the tuxedo and shirt before taking the photos, but you’ll have to imagine it after a pressing. Even with wrinkles, it’s easy to see that this tuxedo has some wonderful detailing, like the satin lapels, satin stripe down the leg, double breasted coat and vest, and, my favorite detail, checkerboard satin covered buttons on the coat and vest. This tuxedo has the rare added bonus of a period Arrow tuxedo shirt in good condition. Just add socks, shoes, studs, and cufflinks and a bow tie and you’re fit for any fête.
It’s been a while since anything gentlemanly crossed my path for the blog, but here’s a wonderful double breasted navy suit from the jazz era, listed on eBay by seller privatescreening. From a “high quality prominent Seattle estate,” this suit has wonderful details, like pants cuffs, peaked lapels, a matching 6 button vest, button fly, and lots of pockets. A great investment for your wardrobe, as any of these pieces could be worn separately or together. The price is a bit up there, but comparably much less than the other three piece vintage suits popping up on eBay as of late.
Someone posted on Yehoodi this week asking about where to find skirts for a dance team, either to be made or to order. This post jogged my memory and I immediately thought of Swing Outfits, a website that sells custom, made to order clothing for men and women from 1930’s and 1940’s patterns. Swing Outfits offers some wonderful options for just about any basic swing garment you could think of in an almost endless selection of fabrics.
Swing Outfits has a section of their website devoted to dance team shopping. I understand that selecting an outfit that everyone agrees on is nearly impossible; however, Swing Outfits offers some sound advice on selecting a team or couple’s costume:
“For couples that dance regularly in competition or performance it is especially important to have a costume. It is one thing to dance at a party, and a different thing to dance on a stage before an audience. It is not enough to just have nice clothes on each individual performer – you need to look like a unified couple.
What makes a good stage costume for a couple? First of all, your costume must be tailor made for you – we will need measurements from both dancers. You will also need to select a fabric and a design for your costumes. Pictured below are three sets of costumes: Silk, Polka Dots, and Plaid/Stripes. Within each set are a number of elements that you can select for your costume, and each will be made from the same material you have chosen.”
The website then walks you through three easy steps to select pieces for your performance outfit. The beauty of these pieces is that they can be mixed and matched with anything – with each other or with something you might find at Target or H&M.
Another great thing about having team costumes made for the team members is that you avoid the one-pattern-fits-all problem that you encounter when purchasing something from a retail store. Having personally experienced the pain of not fitting into the mold of a chosen team costume, I would personally rather pay more and get something that fits perfectly, that I don’t have to pay someone to alter, and that I might actually wear again dancing.
Which leads to my next point – you don’t have to be on a dance team to wear and enjoy an outfit from Swing Outfits! Make sure to browse their selection of patterns, then their selection of fabrics, and think of the endless possibilities. The Libra in me may never be able to decide…
Polish up the nine iron because it’s time to get your knickers on and hit the links…or the dance floor. EBay seller hotclubduparis (location: Savoyville, Italy) has posted a matching vest and knickers set in a lovely menswear stripe with a little red in the stripe. Knickers are perfect for showing off your clever socks, no? Whoever wins this auction will be my hero.
I am very impressed with the selection of clothing that eBay seller Emerald City Vintage has posted, for both men and women. If Emerald City is from Seattle, then it comes as no surprise to me that this seller has excellent threads, as my own excursion to Seattle last year yielded three critical wardrobe items.
The selection is primarily 1930’s through 1950’s clothing and the starting prices are generally around $20.00. Some of the items for sale are buy it now – whether or not some of these items are reasonable is open to interpretation, but some of the buy it now items are what you would pay in a decent vintage store and others are a bit pricier.
Randomly, there are also several dirndls in the store, if you are looking for something befitting Oktoberfest.
Overall, this is a very focused selection of garments for swing era ladies and gents, with lots of great basics for both men and women. Here are my favorites from this week’s selections (but I would encourage you to browse the eBay store, as there are lots of different sizes available in similar items, such as pants):
I can’t resist posting a tuxedo on here, even though most of you will probably never be seen in a tuxedo at a dance; however, in the off-chance you are feeling dapper and festive, here’s a lovely tuxedo that popped up on eBay from 1932. It looks pristine. The tag on this tux reads “Kennedy’s” and is dated October 10, 1932. I wonder who was buying a tuxedo in the middle of the Great Depression…
Check the measurements for sizing, but the seller is posting this is approximately a 33 inch waist on the pant and a 36 jacket. Note that the seller will not re-list the item if not sold. With two days left on the auction, no bidders, and a $49.99 start price, this could be a fantastic deal!
Up for grabs on eBay is this great tweed vest and pair of pants in a lovely tweed with hints of orange, green, and rust. The vest has four pockets and the pants have buttons for suspenders and a high waist. The seller, timeless, has not guessed at a size, so check the measurements carefully for fit. To give you a hint as to size, the seller believes this set was made for someone “tall and lanky.”