lounge 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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