Formal daywear

Defining Terms — The Reefer vs. The Lounge

reefer[1] Location: New Toulouse

The word “reefer” has a completely different meaning in contemporary parlance, but at one time it was the term employed to refer to the double breasted gentleman’s jacket. Our last post featured a reefer jacket with gilt buttons, referred to as a “blazer” because of the strong references to the nautical and sporting origins of the reefer jacket, in general. 

In Vincent’s Systems of Cutting, tailor W.D.F Vincent described the reefer thus: 

The double-breasted Reefer is a standard style of garment always worn by certain classes, and occasionally becomes fashionable for all. It is one of the regulation garments worn by the officers of his Majesty’s Navy, and is generally popular with yachtsmen and others leading a seafaring life…

Indeed, in nautical terms, a reefer is the person on a sailing ship who reefs the sails, that is to say, someone on a boat who does this or that, pulling and yanking, to adapt the size of the sail to the force of the wind. Makes the thing go, and what not. The pea coat, so strongly associated with rugged men of the seafaring sort, is a reefer cut. 

Mr. Wooster occasionally joins his Aunt Dahlia on her yacht, and books passage now and again to New York or France, but is otherwise not a seafaring man. That doesn’t stop him from wearing a very nautical looking reefer-cut blazer, however, and he’s partial to a reefer suit (sans shiny buttons), but has had some trouble finding one in world that is suitable in all its details. Frequently the lapel is not adequately peaked, the buttons are too prominent and/or one is forced into wearing a bow tie as neckwear when one really wants to wear a tie.  

stroller[2] The reefer jacket from Hoorenbeek’s double breasted suit, paired with houndstooth trousers, makes for a more polished stroller ensemble than the somewhat slapdash Stresemann approximation presented earlier.

It should be noted here that Mr. Wooster is wearing the shirt/tie combination from the Hoorenbeek lounge suit pictured below with the reefer suit, because the tie that comes with the latter has far too fat a knot for our taste. Gentlemen’s ties in the 1920s were not skinny, but they tended to be knotted tight and thin in the four-in-hand fashion. That said, there were many innovations in tie knotting the the ‘20s, because of new construction methods, but the wider Windsor knot didn’t come into vogue until later in the 1930s.

Lounge[3] We are not please with the low-slung waist on these trousers, and the concomitant appearance of both the waistband (and belt, if worn) and shirting. It has to be said. 

The lounge is a single breasted jacket, usually associated with matching trousers (and vest) in a suit of clothing. The lounge’s relatively ‘simple’ cut (we must interject here — gentlemen’s tailoring is never simple) and relaxed fit has its origins in sportswear, particularly the riding habit, and is actually a 19th century, middle class adaptation of such. So says fashion historian, Caroline Cox, although other sources indicate that its origins were somewhat more varied, coming together in a great confluence resulting in the lounge suit. 

The lounge is more commonly referred to today as the “business suit.” The Economist referred to it as the “battledress of the world’s businessmen,” as it happens, but Mr. Wooster is not a man of business. He is, however, a man who frequently lounges. 

Suggested

Reefer Suit [1] ~ Hoorenbeek in black

Trousers [2] ~ Bastard, Houndstooth “Casual Baggys”

Lounge Suit [3] ~ Hoorenbeek in grey

Shoes [1 & 2] ~ Haysuriza, Lace & Cap Consul

Shoes [3] ~ Lapoint & Bastchild wingtip with single and two-tone options (includes HUD)

Hat ~ Hyacinthe Luynes, Grey Homburg Hat @ SL Marketplace 

Gloves [2] ~ Female Cosplay system gloves, colour changed

Mustache ~ Fe Style, 6ED in brown

Dressed for L$1115,  L$1365  &  L$1366, respectively

Resources Consulted

BBC News Magazine — Morning suit v lounge suit

The Cutter and Tailor — Les Incroyables — The Origin of the Reefer Jacket

The Economist — Men’s /clothing — Suitably Dressed

Tie-a-Tie — The Evolution of the Necktie

The Stresemann or stroller, more or less

stresemann1Location: Mayfair

Here is our attempt to replicate a classic 1920s stroller, otherwise known in this version as the Stresemann. Put together largely from pieces already in Mr. Wooster’s wardrobe, it’s not a bad approximation, even if it does look a little second-hand like something Mr. Chaplin might wear in one of his films (interesting to note that Chaplin’s ‘Little Tramp’ is dressed in what is is essentially a morning suit, although ill-fitting suggesting it might be a caste-off). A cut-away morning jacket was common until German foreign minister, Gustav Stresemann, trickled into a formal treaty signing event in 1925 clad in a single-breasted black lounge — sans tails — with matching waistcoat and striped trousers. And unto the world is born the Stresemann.

A tie is really a better option than a bow tie, in our estimation, but finding ties that work with jackets in SL can be catch as catch can, usually involving pieces that are specifically made to work with each other. But bow ties are not unsuitable. One in a jolly polka dot might be especially recommended.

A soft-collared shirt came into vogue at this point, but didn’t altogether replace the stiff wing collar. The former works better than the latter if trying to effect the more relaxed Stresemann style, however. One can take some liberties with shirt colour. We’ve seen illustrations with a blue stripe or a solid soft colour, such as dove grey or peach, in the tunic shirt. A buff-coloured waistcoat would be nice. The houndstooth or glencheck trousers are appropriate to the look, and may feel a little more relaxed than a striped sponge bag trouser. The cuff on the trouser would not be appropriate for more formal occasions and worn with a morning coat, but is acceptable with a stroller and when generally wanting to effect a less rigidly formal appearance, say, when attending the races. We might prefer a double-breasted jacket (known as a reefer) over the single-breasted lounge, but we’ll leave that for further experimentations.

We’ve seen the chamois yellow gloves in fashion illustrations of the era (black is unsuitable for daywear), and will repeat our profound desire for a Homburg to bung on top of this ensemble. Bowlers are considered suitable, however, and it or a relation of the Homburg called an “Eden,” are traditionally considered suitable to the costume. The latter looks close enough to a modest-brimmed fedora to make the hat choice depicted here not unreasonable, if somewhat imperfect. Imperfect though it may be, Mr. Wooster does not care to don his bowler much; the style evokes for him stuffed-bird old boys on the one hand, and energetic, loud New York roughnecked chappies on the other (to say nothing of ladies of the Bolivian highlands). The bowler is a schizophrenic hat.

stresemann2 copyWith bowler

Mr. Wooster took some decided sartorial liberties recently by completing the ensemble with two-toned Oxfords, but we’ve repaired that grave error in judgement with some cap-toed Oxfords in black. We like the idea of Balmoral or button boots, and spats would not be out of place, but avoid a Derby shoe with its open lacing system.

stresemann3Quarter and vamp construction on a true Oxford

  notoxford

Quarter and vamp construction on a Derby — note that the makers of this shoe (Pixelfashion) otherwise produced something really nice that would serve perfectly as a narrow-silhouetted Oxford of the era, if only they had put a proper closed lacing system on it. 

Overall, Bertie’s look is appropriate to rather more relaxed formal daywear occasions than the cut-away morning costume would be. The tuxedo is an evening garment, just to be clear; one would not wear a tuxedo to formal or semi-formal day events, and certainly not to the races, not even Ascot.

strollerandcutawaycopy1vbLet’s just say Mr. Wooster is trying to pull off the costume on the left.

Suggested

Jacket & Shirt ~ Bravura formal black suit, currently a group Christmas gift

Waistcoat ~ Kauna XIV in black

Tie ~ W Bow Tie, striped fabrics @ SL Marketplace

Pants ~ Bastard, Houndstooth “Casual Baggys”

Shoes ~ Haysuriza, Lace & Cap Consul [Shown but not worn: Pixelfashion “Oxford” shoes in black]

Hat ~ Couture Chapeau “Essex” lenin fedora, charcoal + Classic Derby in black

Gloves ~ Female Cosplay system gloves, colour changed

Mustache ~ Fe Style, 6ED in brown

Cigarette ~ Sinister Designs, cigarette sculpty v.3, from SL marketplace

Skin ~ Hermony, Leon

Eyes ~ Aveline mesh eyes in hazel, L$0@SL Marketplace 

Dressed for L$1088

Resources Consulted

Gentleman’s Gazette — The Difference Between Derby & Oxford

Gentleman’s Gazette — The Stresemann

Morning Dress Guide