View Full Version : Terms
06-27-2005, 12:35 PM
In another post Matt said, "High cut double breasted." What does that mean, I know the double breasted, but what is "High Cut?"
One thing I would like, (I'm sure the info is scattered about on here) is a real breakdown of what makes a 30's/40's style suit. I head down to the thrift stores about once a week, and there are like 400 suits down there, but I have no idea what has an old look, and what is 1960/70/80+
How can one who is starting out like me know? Are there some definate things to look for in the suit?
06-27-2005, 12:57 PM
Vintage DB suits are usually narrower, maybe a tad longer and more fitted into the waist. High-cut is most likely meaning that the point where the lapels cross over your tie (on a DB jacket/or meet on a SB jacket) is higher than in a modern style. Not high-cut in the Bikini sense...
Sometimes people call this junction the 'gore' but a gore is usually more correctly an angular or triangular panel or insert, even a gusset (like in a skirt '5 gore skirt') rather than a 'space'. Lapels will be wider and fuller on a '30s/'40s jacket and may be peaked like typical DB jacket lapels-also common on vintage SB jackets. Vintage suits will have shoulder pads which are firmer and more generous and squared to the shoulder point and made of 'horse hair' or canvas- the armhole or sleeve head (sleeve meets shoulder)is cut higher giving a tighter armpit, vastly sharper look and superior fitting, allowing articulation of the arms without dragging the whole jacket up.
Trousers will have a button fly closure(usually, although I have vintage trou with zips), maybe no waistband, a back or side cinch adjuster,suspender buttons, higher waist/rise, fuller seat(rise is from crotch seam up to waistband, seat= ass), wider legs.
I general, the fabric 'should' be heavier and feel like 'better' quality and the seam allowances should be greater- allowing for further Tailoring adjustment.
Cloth was used more generously back in the day- you may find selvedge on the inside of a leg seam(selvedge 'self-edge' is the woven-finished edge of the actual cloth, not a cut edge)
Look also for hand finishing in linings and inner pockets. Some American vintage suits may have a dated Union or manufacturer label in a pocket or lining.
Compare to 'modern' suits- modern zippers, buttons, finishing, shortcuts taken, crappy fabric.
Most importantly, find out what '70s suits look like and avoid them- some folks still can't tell the difference.
Others can add a lot more to this description.
Look at some images- here and all over the 'net.
More to follow...
06-27-2005, 01:21 PM
Actually, I would say that in general I wouldn't say that vintage wool suiting materials "feel like better quality." Compare a vintage wool suit with a modern super 180's wool suit and the vintage suit will feel like sandpaper in comparison.
For the most part, modern suiting materials are much finer and softer, but because of that they wear poorly and don't drape as well.
That's why many people (me included) prefer lower-range but higher weight wools for suits.
06-27-2005, 01:45 PM
That's what *I* mean by quality- heavier, generous, drapey, some character and substance- I wouldn't necessarily go with the sandpaper, 'rough' though, my fave vintage DB suit is a really fancy navy Herringbone jacquard- heavy and smooth as a baby's vernacular. Read 'heavier', more 'substantial', more 'stable' if you prefer.
I relate quality with substance in fabric talk- that's maybe just me.
There's 'quality' and 'quality'- a quality can be a handle, a feel or finish or a grade in textile terminology- finer can be associated with quality I guess but not if you don't personally associate the two; 'fine' with 'quality'.
Finer and softer- read thinner- less substantial- you could make shirts outta the modern suiting fabrics-
The cloth weight is part of the reason that cuffs on a modern suit aren't so workable- the wieght is not there-
Yer SuperPooper-numbered contemporary big-bucks suitings are not my cup of wee and can't really be compared to the good stuff- that's what I thinks.
06-27-2005, 01:47 PM
I would say vintage suitings are better in regards to being denser which makes them last longer. Even light weight vintage suits have more density to the fabric. From my experience, the higher the twist, e.g. 100, 150 and so on, the faster the fabric will wear out. It may be smooth, though the trade off in resilience is obvious with wear.
Coarser fabrics may be thought of as cheaper quality with todays tailors, though put one of those 1940's suit next to a 1990's suit with the same cut and I'll grab the 1940's suit any day of the week.
06-27-2005, 01:59 PM
06-27-2005, 03:22 PM
Here is a high cut double breasted.
06-27-2005, 03:35 PM
Is that a Dandilion in Bogie's lapel?
06-27-2005, 04:35 PM
Ok cool! I get what you are sayin.
So I just picked up this gray suit from the thrift store, what would you say is good, and bad about it?
Keep in mind I am going to hem a 2 inch hem in the pants.
06-28-2005, 08:47 AM
Anyone? I only have 7 days to exchange this so you should voice your opinions! :D
07-04-2005, 08:39 PM
Even though I generally don't wear bona-fide vintage, maybe it'd be easier to see how it fits on you. For example, is the waist high-cut? Is the jacket slim-fit?
Most modern American suits are generally baggier than either vintage or European, especially British, garments (at least that's my understanding...thus the term 'sack suit', which refers to American jacket fits).
Obviously, I'm sure that the gentlemen on this site would be able to tell you more about the suit by handling it in person...such as how the fabric feels, and its weight. Maybe compare the weight of your suit to ones readily available from the department store? If memory serves me correctly, the extra buttons on the outside of the DB jacket are a distinctive feature of Italian suits, which may be good or bad in your case. Even if the suit only makes a passing homage to vintage cuts, you could probably make it look more vintage with the accessories and shoes.
In any event, you'd probably be judged retro by 98% of the population just by wearing a suit and fedora when it wasn't an absolute necessity.
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