country

The Cardigan, Part II — Cable Knit

cardigan2Location: Basilique Members Club

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon behind them
Volley’d and thunder’d;
Storm’d at with shot and shell,
While horse and hero fell,
They that had fought so well
Came thro’ the jaws of Death
Back from the mouth of Hell,
All that was left of them,
Left of six hundred.

Why would we be pulling out our school boy recitation of The Charge of the Light Brigade in a post about cardigans? Because, dear reader, the cardigan is so named after the general who was known for wearing a knitted woolen coat or jacket. Prince (later King) Bertie may have made the cardigan a recognizable go-to staple of the gentleman’s wardrobe, but he didn’t give it the name. The responsible party there is actually Lieutenant General James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan, KCB, with the help of Alfred, Lord Tennyson. The 7th Earl is also and not coincidentally famous for leading his Light Cavalry Brigade into a very sticky situation on October 25, 1854 in the battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. That is what really put his name on people’s radar screens, or the mid-19th century equivalent of same. He happened to like to wear a knitted jacket that was common among military types of the day. Tennyson’s poem celebrating the Light Brigade helped make Lord Cardigan a household name, which consequently led to the garment becoming entangled with him. And there you have that.

We might wonder at a popular knitted jacket being named for such a character. After all, contemporary assessments of the general are not favorable. He is, in fact, seen as something of a military numbskull, and the Light Brigade charge — a band of men on horseback waving swords — into cannon fire recognized as being, well, rather dumb. But we forget that at the time, he was much ballyhooed, seen as a great hero of the Crimean War.

Cardigans were made into a fashion staple for women by Coco Chanel in the 1920s, but it took about another decade for them to be truly central to a gentleman’s casual wardrobe. We certainly see them on men in the 1920s and earlier, mostly on the links, but it’s really in the 1930s that we start seeing them all over the gentlemen’s fashion spreads.

Cable knits can be seen in fashion illustrations of the first half of the 20th century, worn on the ski slopes, the tennis court and the cricket pitch. A cable knit adds bulk and warmth, and is consequently particularly suitable for colder weather and presenting a casual, country ramble sort of look.

Suggested

Cardigan ~ Sakida, Irish cardigan in khaki

Trousers ~ Bastard, casual baggy in steel

Shirt ~ Kauna XIV in white

Tie ~  Kauna XIV fish grey (part of Tweed Twill Grey suit combination)

Cap ~ richie Kimono, tweed wheat flat cap

Shoes ~ Fir & MNA, Ashford Brogue, grey and charcoal

Dressed for L$1826, inclusive of Kauna suit elements not worn. With a separately purchased Kauna tie, this outfit would be L$1118.

Resources Consulted

Alfred, Lord Tennyson — Charge of the Light Brigade

Gentleman’s Gazette — The Cardigan Guide

VictorianWeb.org

Vintage Dancer — History of 1920s Men’s Sweaters, Pullovers, Cardigans

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The Cardigan, Part I

cardigan1Location: Basilique

The cardigan, we’ve been told, really came into its own via the influence of the Prince of Wales. Albert Edward, etc., that would be. Future Edward VII. From his earliest days in his sailor suit, he was quite the trend setter, and many of the styles we take for granted as the norm in the 1920s and beyond were set in motion as standards by that other Bertie.

Bertie, future Ed. Seventh, took to wearing a cardigan on the golf course, we understand. A pair of golfing plus fours would be grand with this, if such a thing existed in world, but perhaps not here in the Lago region of northern Italy where our Bertie, escutcheon of the Woosters, is sojourning for a spot of restorative mid-winter mild climate.

Suggested

Cardigan ~ Fatal, Duover Cardigan in brown

Trousers ~ Asteria MensWear, Broderick pants, brown

Shirt ~ Kauna XIV in white striped

Tie ~ Adjunct, Classic Bow Tie, plaids collection

Cap ~ Argrace Hunting with “Very short” hair in light brown, color-change cap

Boots ~ Hoorenbeek, Ray Ray

Dressed for L$1519

Resources Consulted

Vintage Dancer — History of 1920s Men’s Sweaters, Pullovers, Cardigans

The Polo Neck

turtleneck3[1] Location: Woodsy — O, for a lounge jacket that reaches our fingertips….

We usually associate polo necks — also known as turtlenecks — with academic types and the fashions of the 1960s and ‘70s — Michel Foucault and Steve McQueen, anyone? — but we’ve learned that Noel Coward was sporting a turtleneck as casual wear as early as the mid-1920s, and one can be spotted from time to time in gentlemen’s sportswear fashion illustrations from the 1930s. We haven’t found many of these illustrations and have yet to uncover a photograph of a young Mr. Coward in one, so we’ll have to take Wikipedia’s word on that point. We will say, though, that we have uncovered a few turtlenecked stars of the silver screen in the 1920s and early 1930s, and a smattering of even earlier photographs of athletic, young university boosters in their college turtle-necked sweaters.

GableTurtleneck1 Errol-Flynn-turtleneck1 novarroTurtle1George Hurrell portrait of Clark Gable, 1932 / Errol Flynn in the early ’30s / Ramon Novarro, Motion Picture magazine cover, 1920s

We cannot recall any mention of this sweater style in the Jeeves and Wooster canon, but given what is known about the former’s strong feelings regarding neckties, we should imagine that the latter would not be able to keep his hands on one for long, unless, perhaps, as part of rugged outdoor attire associated with winter sports and hiking up Alps. Mr. Wooster, being more inclined toward the habits of a Mayfair clubman than an rugged he-man of the outdoors, would have few such occasions for such a garment, the fashion guidance of matinee idols, aside. Still, because the odd m.i. here and there presents it as a possibility of the era, it’s worth a mention as a possibility for interwar virtual period wear for gentlemen. Certainly working men in the trades could pull it off with little comment. 

Speaking of that, we found a trouser that suggests a corduroy fabric, a textile that was quite popular among the working set in the first half of the 20th century. Our Mr. Wooster would be unlikely to sport anything in corduroy, unless involved in rugged outdoor pursuits, and we’ve already hinted at his disinclination for those. That said, in the interest of letting readers know such trousers exist, we present them here. 

We also present the reefer blazer featured earlier with the turtleneck shirting option that comes with it, paired with an appropriately casual grey flannel trouser. 

turtleneck4[2]

Suggested

Sport coat with Turtleneck [1] ~ FATEwear shirt, Ralph (blazer, seater and pocket handkerchief) 

Blazer with Turtleneck [2] ~ Hoorenbeek, Double Breasted in blue

Trousers [1] ~ Asteria MensWear, Broderick pants, brown

Trousers [2] ~ Bastard, steel casual baggy

Hat/hair [1] ~ Argrace Hunting “Very short” in light brown

Hair [2] ~ Action James (includes color change HUD and a plethora of color options)

Shoes [1] ~ Gabriel, wingtip in brown, past group gift

Shoes [2] ~ Fir & MNA, Ashford Brogue, grey and charcoal

Mustache ~ Fe Style, 6ED in brown

Cigarette [1]  ~ Sinister Designs, cigarette sculpty v.3, from SL marketplace

Dressed for L$870 & 1517, respectively

Resources Consulted

Wikipedie — Polo neck

Subtle Variations on the Casual Theme

countryhouse_edited-1[1] Location: Goatswood

We have nothing earth-shattering to offer today, but as we were messing about with this and that, here and there, we thought we might go ahead and capture a few photographs exploring just a little more country/casual attire.

We are dressed today in a muted plaid lounge jacket paired with our favorite casual, almost heather-mixture tweed trouser.  Two variations of waistcoat, shirt, tie and shoe are considered.

Let us discuss for a moment shoes. Again. A stout Oxford or derby shoe with brogued toe cap — pointed or not, two-toned or not — would have been a standard, but Mr. Wooster grows a little tired of them when worn all the time. As an alternative, he is experimenting with a rather festive saddle shoe in the second illustration. Saddle shoes started life as sporting shoes — particularly for golf — but by the 1930s were beginning to be coopted by women. Some today consider this a feminine shoe, but we’re satisfied with its inherent masculinity.

treesbase_edited-2[2] Location: Neva River

Mr. Wooster’s valet finds these shoes far too loud, alarming even, with the vivid combination of merlot and black, but Bertie is in full rebellion at the moment and will bally well wear them when and if he wants. 

Suggested

Jacket ~ Kauna XIV, Plaid Earth

Shirt [1] ~ Kauna XIV in white

Tie [1] ~ Adjunct, Classic Bow Tie, plaids collection

Shirt [2] ~ Hoorenbeek, Real Shirt with colour change HUD

Tie [2] ~ Hoorenbeek, mesh printed HUD

Waistcoat [1] ~ Kauna XIV in plain rust knit

Waistcoat [2] ~ Kauna XIV in black

Trousers ~ Bastard, herringbone tweed casual baggy

Shoes [1] ~ Lapoint & Bastchild wingtip with single and two-tone options (includes HUD)

Shoes [2] ~ Lindy, Parker in black/merlot

Hat [1] ~ Quedra HD Design, free brown mesh fedora, tinted as desired

Glasses [1] ~ Body Factory, Antique Glasses, group gift

Mustache [1] ~ Fe Style, 6ED in brown

Hair [2] ~ Action James (includes color change HUD and a plethora of color options)

Dressed for L$1756 & L$2054, respectively

Resources Consulted

Vintage Dancer — Saddle Shoes Through the Decades

Thoughts on Casual Wear

TweedyLocation: Frisland

We’ve come to the conclusion today that perhaps the most challenging part of dressing the part is when we wish to dress down. Gentlemen of the early 20th century would wear some variation of the lounge suit on any and all occasions, on any and all days of the week. That said, sportswear came into its own in the interwar period. A man of Mr. Wooster’s class would have his golfing plus fours worn with a jumper and jaunty tam-o-shanter hat; his tennis whites; his cricket whites; his hiking, fishing and shooting kits.

But even if not a particularly sporty chap, a fellow would certainly don on a lazy Saturday spent at home, especially in the country, a comfortable jumper over his shirt and tie, and a relaxed pair of trousers in flannel or tweed, perhaps a gabardine or in the summer, a linen or linen blend. If of the younger, more adventuresome set, he might even wear a pair of Oxford bags, which came onto the scene among the more rebellious students at said school in 1924. Wooster, an Oxford man himself, might consider them, but at the cost of his valet staging a major rebellion of his own. Still, if we found them in world, we’d give them a spin around the flat.

bagsI mean to say, wow!

SL has some reasonable, if imperfect, suiting options and some really rather good evening wear, but casual ensembles appropriate to the era are largely up to the individual to piece together as well as he can. This has its positive aspects, if one enjoys the challenge and exercise of creative juices, but it can also be frustrating. Things don’t always work together so well in world. Pieces get all wobbly when one tries to pile them on top of other pieces. 

tweedy2

We built this look today around the desire to make some kind of use of a free hunt item coat, because, by gad, when we acquire a likely item for free, we want to make decent use of it. We’ve found, however, that we can easily lay out more green cabbage trying to make a free item work than we would purchasing a ready-to-wear ensemble. As our dear old mater used to say, there is no such thing as a free puppy.

Suggested

Shirt ~ Hoorenbeek, Real Shirt with colour change HUD

Tie ~ Hoorenbeek, mesh printed HUD

Knit vest ~ Kauna XIV in plain rust

Trousers ~ Bastard, herringbone tweed casual baggy

Coat ~ Tamiron Forge, Trench Coat in brown, past Men Only Hunt item

Hat ~ Quedra HD Design, free brown mesh fedora, tinted as desired

Shoes ~ Gabriel, wingtip in brown, past group gift

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

Dress for L$1526, inclusive of hair. It should be noted that one gets a LOT of shirting and tie options for the price with the Hoorenbeek shirts.

Resources Consulted

Fashion Encyclopedia – Modern World 1919-1929

A country ramble

breeks1Location: Roche

In the last post, we presented this Kauna suit as a suitable option for urban day wear. The purchased package includes a pair of knickerbockers (what they call breeks) that serve well for sporting in the country. Plus fours  — so named because they are four inches longer than standard knee breeches and rather more voluminous — would be even better, being especially authentic to the era, but until some SL designer whiz drafts up a pair of those, these will do.

A word on that little spot of white shirting visible above the beltline — that is a decidedly late 2oth/early 21st century detail. In the first half of the 20th century, men wore their trousers at the natural waist. Few people born past 1970 or so have any idea where the natural waist is. They think it’s in the general region of the belly button or top of hips. No, dear reader; the natural waist is rather north of where people wear their trousers today. So-called “high-waisted” pants today are actually a natural waist fit, with the waistband at the point where the torso notches inward when looking straight on at the human physique. And when your trousers sit at the natural waist, all you would see in any notch at the bottom of your waistcoat is the fabric of the trouser, never the fabric of the shirt. This detail bothers us so much, we were tempted to Photoshop the issue away, but in the interest of truth in advertising, refrained from doing so.

As a side note, even contemporary style mavens suggest that men would look much more polished in their dress if they would like hike those trous up to the waistline.

About that mustache; Mr. Wooster’s man is greatly disturbed by it, and will no doubt endeavor to convince Bertie to remove the bally thing. According to Jeeves, you see, “A man’s character is better displayed through his actions than his attempts at facial hair.” That being said, a tidy mustache a la Ronald Coleman is very appropriate to the era.

colemanoldhollywoodincolor.com

Suggested

Suiting ~ Kauna XIV. Tweed Twill Grey (jacket, tie, breeks and socks worn)

Waistcoat ~ Kauna XIV in Plaid Thistle

Shirt ~ Kauna XIV in white

Hat + Hair ~ Argrace Hunting “Very short” in light brown (hat color can be changed)

Shoes ~ Fir & MNA, Ashford Brogue, grey and charcoal

Mustache ~ Fe Style, 6ED in brown

Skin ~ Hermony, Leon

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

Dressed for L$1775

Resources Consulted

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

Sartorialist Lesson #1 — Wear Your Pants On Your Natural Waist, NOT Your Hips

When you’re not feeling so oofy

country1Location: Goatswood

The reality of the situation is that if you want the really top-notch looking goods, you likely will have to shell out for them at one point or another. That said, it is possible to look both period appropriate and not-too-shabby on a tight budget.

Exhibit A consists of purchased hat, hair and shoes (to say nothing of the skin), but otherwise is made from system clothing; you know, the bally things that come with the whole package when you signed on. In this case, Mr. Wooster, off for a few weeks in the country where he can get away with a casual cardigan and tweedy trousers, is wearing pieces from the “Male City” outfit filed under Library>Clothing>Initial Outfits. We’ve edited the “jeans” to a brown, making them pass for a respectable looking tweed. The tie is too narrow, but for a layout of absolutely nothing, we are not going to put up a particular fuss.

While we’re on the subject of casual and cheap, please note Exhibit B:

country2The 1920s Berlin Project is a strict dress code (speaking relatively) sim, and one must try to approximate an appearance one might have seen in the first half of the 20th century, the 1920s, specifically. The date in world is 1929, but the powers that be are not so hard nosed about the whole thing to restrict residents and visitors only to fashions one might have seen in that one year. As long as you hit the decade, give or take, you’ll be fine.

With that in mind, free period-appropriate outfits are available at the Teleportplatz. Some are not too bad for free goods, and this brown checked wool suit is one of the better items. In its detail, it’s a little too frump for our Bertie, here, a little too working-man’s-woe, but as an outfit for the working classes, it’s quite fine. In a pinch, it might serve as a country walking suit for Mr. Wooster, although his man would endeavor to make the thing disappear.

Suggested

Sweater with shirt and tie ~ Male City Sweater, find in system folders

Trousers ~ Male City Jeans (recolored brown), find in system folders

Hat and Hair ~ Argrace Hunting “Very short” in light brown

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

Skin ~ Hermony, Leon

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

Suit ~ Fredericks Sisters @Berlin Teleportplatz, Vintage Brown Drab Suit 1

Dressed for L$749 (shoes and hat/hair)