black suit

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

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In Service

 

umbrella1

Here is that “formal” black suit previously posted, presented as one might dress if working in service as a valet, for example. Mr. Wooster’s man dresses very similar to this, although more generally with a tie rather than a bowtie.

This look also works for a City of London gent —  a clerk at a City firm —  or for a man working in the British civil service. Mr. Wooster, not being a working man of any sort, would be highly unlikely to wear such a combo. In fact, a black suit other than evening formal wear, is not something he would don.

More on the sitch with the gaping neck:

 

neck1

We here at Vestiary are not experts on the construction of virtual garments, but it is our understanding that mesh items are made to fit standard sizes, ranging from smaller to larger, and within those parameters, one really needs to adapt the avatar to fit. Mr. Wooster is modeling a ‘medium’ version of this suit’s top portion, which generally fits every other aspect of his frame. One could write tomes on the construction of the masculine and feminine in Second Life, but we’ll just comment here that the SL mind thinks men are supposed to have thick necks, a la an American football or rugby player. In reality, most men do not have necks the thickness of their heads. Mr. Wooster, certainly, is a slender man, and while he can go in for a spot of tennis or purposed stroll out on the links, he has never been one for the burlier sports in which one might find burly men with thick necks.

 

neck3

In order to get a tolerable fit on his neck, we practically had to give the poor sot a goiter. It’s an aggravating situation, but there we are.

Suggested

Suit ~ Bravura formal black suit, currently a group Christmas gift

Hat ~ Couture Chapeau bowler in black

Shoes ~ Citrus, men’s lace up dress shoes in black, part of this year’s Megastuff/Menstuff hunt prize.

Action James (includes color change HUD and a plethora of color options)

Hermony, Leon

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

Dressed for L$576

Formal wear, or just a black suit?

blacksuit1Location: Bryn Oh

A really joyful moment, when everything is oojah-cum-spiff, happens when one is able to procure goods without any layout of the cabbage, when the raiment is just lying there for the taking. This is not a perfect suit — the proprietor calls it a “formal” suit of clothing, but one might more be inclined to think of it as just a decent black suit. It’s perhaps more along the taste lines of Mr. Wooster’s gentleman’s personal gentleman, but if one is biffing about 1920s SL as a working man in service, this can’t be a bad option. And it’s free, kostenlos, requiring none of the do-re-mi. One could do worse, even with the ill-fitting collar.

blacksuitdetail

Suggested

Suit ~ Bravura formal black suit, currently a group Christmas gift

Hat ~ Couture Chapeau “Essex” lenin fedora, charcoal

Shoes ~ Citrus, men’s lace up dress shoes in black, part of this year’s Megastuff/Menstuff hunt prize.

Hair ~ Action James (includes color change HUD and a plethora of color options)

Skin ~ Hermony, Leon

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

Dressed for L$576