Monday, January 25, 2010

Men: Sharp Suits

While the times may change, the appeal of a well-tailored suit never does. We've selected our favorite looks from the coffee-table tome Sharp Suits, which tracks the history of the garment over the past 100 years, and asked the author, fashion expert Eric Musgrave, to provide exclusive commentary on the stories behind the styles.

1. 1940s Suit
On either side of the Atlantic, under the wartime clothing restrictions, the turn-ups or cuffs would not have been allowed. Nor would the flaps on the pockets. Still, it's a superb example of how good a Donegal tweed can look.
Photograph courtesy of Corbis/Bettmann.

2. Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra
Dino and Frankie arrive at Heathrow London in 1961. Wherever they are heading, it looks like fun. . .
Photograph courtesy of Mirrorpix

3. Patrick MacNee
Oddly enough, it's very hard to find good color pictures from the sixties cult series The Avengers, but I can tell you that this suit was a mole-brown color. Sharp-eyed readers will have noticed the lack of a breast pocket on this suit jacket.
Photograph courtesy of Corbis/Bettmann

4. Sean Connery
Let's hear it for Anthony Sinclair, the London tailor who created the Bond look in the early days. Sinclair was the tailor of Terence Young, who directed the first, second, and fourth James Bond movies (Dr. No, From Russia With Love, and Thunderball). Young decided that Sean Connery needed a bit of help to look cool.
Photograph courtesy of Photofest

5. 1964 Hart Schaffner Marx Suit
A classic image from 1964, courtesy of Chicago-based Hart Schaffner Marx. It's a simple three-button affair, but who wouldn't want to look as good as this?
Photograph courtesy of Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion

6. Aquascutum Suit
By 1964, considerable efforts were being made to promote menswear to, er, men. This fine photo for Aquascutum was shot in Cambridge, England.
Photograph courtesy of Aquascutum Archives

7. Three-piece Checked Suits
Hector Powe was one of the smaller British "multiple tailors"—retailers with a national chain of shops—but it still offered stylish 3-piece suits in 1964.
Photograph courtesy of Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion

8. Don Figueroa
This Spanish aristocrat, Don Jaime de Mesia Figueroa, was photographed in about 1967 by Patrick, Lord Lichfield, a cousin of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. It takes some style to carry off this eight-button double-breasted suit.
Photograph courtesy of Corbis/Patrick Lichfield/Condé Nast Archive

9. Two-button Suit
We have the American brand Cricketeer to thank for this fine image from 1970. Nice juxtaposition of formal suit and relaxed rollneck sweater. . . It's 40 years old yet looks totally now!
Photograph courtesy of Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion

10. Bold Checked Suit
Frustratingly, we know very little of this French confection from 1970, but I like the way that the buttons on the guy's sweater are about the same size as the squares at the centre of the check. It's a Woolmark image, so we must presume this fabulous fabric is wool.
Photograph courtesy of Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion

11. Chauvet Suit
A museum piece from 1970—a jacquard weave from a French entity called Chauvet (a fabric producer or a clothing manufacturer—does anyone know?). What a brilliant suit!
Photograph courtesy of Woolmark Archive and London College of Fashion

12. Carlo Palazzi Suits
Cooler, cooler, coolest! How long did it take to get the stripes on the right-hand suit to line up? These are suits from Italian designer Carlo Palazzi in 1975.

13. Paul Weller
Paul Weller has been a men's style icon for 30-plus years. Here's the angry young man in the Jam way back in 1978, in a black suit that is a classic.
Photograph courtesy of Corbis/Jeff Albertson

(Details magazine)

I LOVE......this piece! There is nothing that compares to a stylish man; you know, the man that appreciates his fashions just as much as we women. A "blast from the past" is always refreshing, as suits were De rigueur in years past. This book will actually make a great gift for any lover of fashion.

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