grey 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

The Homburg

Homburg1Location: MB Antiques — The Village

Mr Wooster has been rather pipped because of an apparent absence of a decent Homburg from the SL inventory. But today he’s absolutely full of beans. He found the elusive Homburg, and it’s not too bad, at that.

We believe we stumbled upon it before, but initially dismissed it. The photographs in the advertisement did not do it justice, suggesting a fedora rather than a true Homburg. Upon trying it on, however, we’re generally pleased with the effect.

The Homburg comes in a few subtle variations. Edwardian versions were more likely to have a tapered crown than later permutations. Homburgs have grosgrain-bound brims, sometimes in a subtly contrasting colour, while the “Lord’s Hat” does not and sports a crown that is pinched in the front. The hat depicted here does not have a discernible bound brim, yet is not pinched at the crown, so it’s a little neither-here-nor-there, but it will serve. Again, as they say in theater circles, close enough for a galloping horse.

Homburg2

We’ve seen them in a number of colours, but think black or grey are most suitable for urban environments. Greens and browns would serve well as country hats.

Suggested

Suiting ~ Kauna XIV. Tweed Twill Grey (jacket, shirt, bow tie & trousers worn)

Pocket handkerchief ~ Kauna XIV accessories collection in coral

Waistcoat ~ Kauna XIV in Plaid Pink

Gloves ~ Female Cosplay system gloves, colour changed

Hat ~ Hyacinthe Luynes, Grey Homburg Hat @ SL Marketplace

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 

Dressed for L$1719

Consulted Resources

Fabulous Hats — Nobile (sic) Homburg

Gentleman’s Gazette: Homburg Hat — Past, Present and Future

Suiting challenges

greysuit1Location: Black Hole, Britannia, London Ambiguity

Gents suitings, ah gents suitings. If one looks at the old fashion illustrations and in films from the late silent and early talkies era, one will notice that men’s sport coats and suit jackets were cut long, in some cases almost approaching mid-thigh. This Kauna suit that Mr. Wooster is modeling is among the better suits in all of SL; one cannot go wrong with a Kauna suit, generally speaking. That said, the lapel is not adequately peaked, being only just notched, and more than anything, the jacket is too short and too close-fitting. At the very least, the jacket’s too short for the ’20s; at the start of the decade, men’s jackets were fairly tight, but started to loosen up by mid-decade, laying the groundwork for the later extreme of the zoot suit. But early, mid or late in the decade, tighter or looser fit, the jackets were cut long. Mr. Arsenio Hall’s trademark suits of the 1980s were closer to a 1920s cut than that pictured here.

The contrasting plaid vest and a tie in a vivid shade of pink are spot on, however. Mr. Wooster, when living for a time in New York, acquired just such a pink tie, and struggled mightily with his valet over the subject.

The shirt was generally white, or perhaps striped, sometimes in some other color. Wooster, while on his own one day, gathered a collection of shirtings in a jolly mauve, so he would have worn such a thing if allowed to get away with it. His man absconded with the lot, however. He generally does not approve of Mr. Wooster’s taste for the colorful. Still, when in SL, our Bertram is able to sneak away from Jeeve’s sartorial oppression, and will take advantage of that from time to time.

As noted before, detachable collars on dress shirts were the norm and tend to be rather higher and longer than we see here — and almost invariably white, which gives us the patterned, striped or colored shirt with attached solid white collar we see today (and that was highly popular among the Wall Street set of the 1980s, another instance of men’s ’80s fashions giving nod to the 1920s). In fact, that trademark high, stiff collar would go a long way to making this suit look more like one of the interwar period.

Criticism aside, this look is generally suitable for early 20th century role play. We’ve seen gentlemen in Berlin wearing precisely this suit or one from Kauna in a different fabric. They look fine, don’t you know, and haven’t been given the boot for the way they dress.

Suggested

Suiting ~ Kauna XIV. Tweed Twill Grey (jacket & trousers worn)

Shirt ~ Kauna XIV in white

Tie ~ Kauna XIV accessories collection in coral

Waistcoat ~ Kauna XIV in Plaid Thistle

Hat ~ Elysium Frankie boy hat, acquired through the latest (now over) MenStuff Hunt

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

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 

Dressed for L$2200 (excluding skin, counting hair, although one could get away with a free hair base under the hat) 

Resources Consulted

The Black Tie Guide — Vintage shirts

Jeeves in the Springtime

Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest

Victoriana Magazine — Men in the 1920s