reefer

An Early 1920s Possibility

aphorism1[1] Location ~ Britannia Village: London Ambiguity

Fighting the madding crowd at The Mens Department, we almost didn’t give this suit a second glance. Upon consideration, however, we have determined that it is not a bad option for effecting an early 1920s aesthetic. The jacket could be looser and longer, but, well, there you are.

We do find the tremendous cuffs, though adding an interesting contemporary style element, not quite the thing for our early 20th century sensibilities…

aphorcuffs

…but we will overlook that one issue.

We also find that this suit works fairly well for a Peaky Blinders sort of look, if one wishes to go for that.

peakyaphor[2]

Suggested

Suit ~ Aphorism, Vintage Crew @ TMD

Tie [1] ~ Adjunct, Classic Bowtie, candy stripes

Hat [1] ~ Hyacinthe Luynes, Homburg grey 

Cap [2] ~ Argrace Hunting with “Very short” hair in light brown, color-change cap

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

Boots [2] ~ Brii, casual military boots, black

Dressed for [1] L$1294 & [2] L$718

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J.C. Leyendecker & Kuppenheimer’s Double-Breasted Suit

KuppenheimerDoubeBreastedNotations
J.C. Leyendecker, Kuppenheimer 40, circa 1925

In order to spark some late winter inspiration, we have been perusing the fashion illustrations of J.C. Leyendecker (1874-1951), a prolific, German-born, American illustrator active in the first half of the 20th century, and well known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, illustrations for the House of Kuppenheimer and decanting the Arrow Collar Man into the public consciousness. A (probably) gay man, he was instrumental in presenting an image of the ‘Perfect American Male’ — lean, strong, decidedly beautiful and with something of a ‘homo-erotic’ air about him — that set the bar for the illustration of men’s fashions from before WW I up through the 1940s. The 1920s marked the decided apex of his career. 

A word to in-world clothing content creators — if you want guidelines for creating period-realistic clothing for men, especially from about 1910 through the 1920s,  you would do well to study the illustrations of Joe Leyendecker. For our part, we are attempting to replicate some of the Kuppenheimer styles he captured in advertisements, with what we can find available. Without the solid foundation of accurately detailed content, however, it is a struggle. 

kuppenheimerdouble1[1] The Hoorenbeek double breasted suit. The lapels are too narrow, the top buttons too off-set, unless one is going for a 1930s style, but the narrow and long lapels kill that, and the drop is not exaggerated enough (‘drop’ referring to the waist to shoulder ratio; a pronounced drop means a significantly larger shoulder/chest breadth than the waist).

kuppenheimerdouble2[2] The same Hoorenbeek suit in a different light worn with accompanying tie, suggesting a broad Windsor or half-Windsor knot, too thick for anything before about 1936. 

Suggested

Suit ~ Hoorenbeek in beige

Shirt + Tie [1] ~ Hoorenbeek, Real Shirt, with print tie HUD added

Hat [2] ~ Hyacinthe Luynes, Homburg brown 

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

Location ~ St. John

Dressed for [1] L$1979 and [2] L$1234

Resources Consulted

Collectors Weekly — Before Rockwell, a Gay Artist Defined the Perfect American Male

JVJ Illustrators — Leyendecker

National Museum of American Illustration — J.C. Leyendecker: American Imagist

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