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My "new" tux

Discussion in 'Suits' started by tonyb, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. It was over a month ago that I first tried on this tuxedo. My favorite off-the-beaten-path charity thrift shop had it marked at $100 then, a price I would have considered paying had it fit perfectly, but it didn't. It was just about spot on across the shoulders and in the length of the sleeves and the body and the trousers, but an inch or two tight at the waist. Add the cost of alterations and the price was just a touch steep, considering that I would wear the outfit only a couple of times a year, if even that frequently.

    This thrift shop has mostly women's clothes, and mostly women clientele. Many a time I've spotted a men's garment there and waited for it to linger on the rack until it was marked down. (As an aside, I've found several vintage items there, which is rarely the case at other thrift shops.) I dropped in today and saw the tux marked at $75. But all men's clothing was an additional 50 percent off today, so I was out the door for $40.65, including the state sales tax.

    Anyway, it's an old suit. This is all of the union tag that shows. What does this tell us about its vintage? Experts, weigh in please.


    Put a couple of jet engines on these lapels and fly it to Vegas.


    The pants are actually the right length for me, which is so, so hard to find in vintage stuff. (I have unusually long legs for a guy who stands right at six feet tall.) Check out those groovy suspenders.


    I'm trying like the dickens to take off another 10 or 15 pounds. That would put me at an almost ideal weight. Perhaps then it'll fit without alterations. Either way, I expect this tux will get some use this upcoming holiday season.
  2. 3PieceSuitGuy

    3PieceSuitGuy One of the Regulars

    great suit! Beautiful & a bargain to boot! What more could you want.
  3. Nic Tux!

    Personally I like my lapels a little bigger - lol

    That's a a 1939, or older union tag. The part with the copyright date is covered, so it could be a 1936 as well.
  4. Yeah, I went back through that "Union Label" thread after I posted my inquiry. Without seeing the entire tag (I'm not going to undo that original stitching just to satisfy my curiosity) it's hard to get more definite. Although my reading of the info posted on steelzipper indicates it could indeed be earlier than 1939 but also as late as 1949. Or am I reading it wrong?

    Other clues ... It has a brass (or at least brass-colored) zipper with a pull that says CONMAR (as best my tired old unassisted eyes can make out). The waistband closes with two GRIPPER brand snaps. The suspenders, which I'll assume for the moment date from the same period as the tux, have narrow (5/8ths of an inch or so) dark brown leather straps in front, with brass (or brass-colored) buckle adjusters and hardware from which the button tabs hang, and a pair of elastic straps at the back.

    Other than a small hole (so small you'd probably have to have it pointed out before you'd ever notice it) on the back of the right sleeve, this suit shows very little sign of use. No snags, no fraying, no shininess. Of course, it being special-occasion attire, it probably never did get much use. It came with a cummerbund and a bow tie, neither of which is "period," I suspect.

    I have some pleated formal shirts, but now I need a pair of formal shoes.
  5. Wonderful find! I think the "pristine-but-for-one-small-hole" thing is required for a tuxedo like this--mine was the same way. Perfect but for one hole.

    You got a better deal than I did, though ;)

    Union label appears to place it between 1934 and (offically) 1949. My (completely uninformed, mind you) guess would be WWII to post-War part of that era based on a couple of the details, but that's just a WAG!
  6. A great outfit and price!
  7. AlanC

    AlanC My Mail is Forwarded Here

    Really nice. My dinner jacket is double-breasted, too, and I really like it. It's classic, but you don't see them that often. Great find!
  8. Sigh . . .

    My old tux was just like that. It had foot wide gros grain lapels that became VERY worn over the years. It also had cloth (gros grain) covered butons, and wonderful hand stitched details. Somehow it became smaller and smaller over the years, to the point where I couldn't make the buttons close. How does that happen? I think I gave it away to someone slimmer. ;) And it was made from a grade of wool that was fantastic. Like a horse blanket.
    I believe one of the formal wear threads states that the double breasted style like that came back big in the late 40's, which is when I assume mine was from. I had given it away before I knew about union label dating. That is one nice tux. You have to post pix. I'm greeeen with envy.
  9. anglophile

    anglophile One of the Regulars

    nice find
  10. As always, gents, thanks for the kind and encouraging words.

    Now, this being a double-breasted jacket, that cummerbund that came with the deal shouldn't actually be worn with it, right?

    I wouldn't wear a fedora with this, but a homburg is appropriate, right? I have 'em in black and gray and blue (and in brown, but even I wouldn't do that), so I oughta have something that'll work. (The photos don't show it all that well, but the tux itself is a dark blue.)

    As to shoes. Unadorned, black, shiny. Right? I mean, not security-guard shoes, of course, nor the kind U.S. Marines wear with their dress blues (but then again ...), but actual "formal" shoes seem a bit on the delicate side for this relatively heavyweight tux. Right? No?
  11. It's always been my understanding that, because a gentleman never unbuttons a double-breasted jacket (right? ;) ), a cummerbund or waistcoat is considered unnecessary with one.

    I've always considered a homburg as appropriate as any other hat with a dinner jacket. Top hats have always seemed a little out of place: the jacket is too short to offset the height of the hat, in my estimation. I don't see that a bowler would be terribly inappropriate, either. I also seem to recall reading an opinion somewhere that any hat is acceptable, since one is simply going to remove it upon entering a building (Redford wore a fedora and beige trench over a dinner jacket in The Sting at one point, if you're interested in how that looks) but since one more likely than not to be carrying his hat and coat these days due to a marked lack of acceptable check facilities, I'd much prefer to go with a "more formal" option, like a homburg.

    As for shoes, are you referring to all patent shoes, or opera pumps specifically? I'd guess the latter, but I wouldn't say that they're delicate at all. Though given the relative informality imparted by the DB jacket, I'd probably opt for plain-toe Oxfords here. Especially here in Oregon (same may apply to you?), where pumps are rather less than practical for about eight months out of the year if you have to actually walk anywhere!
  12. Even after dessert?
  13. Well, isn't this a coincidence! I'm often mistaken for Robert Redford (and vice versa, or so he often complains), so if Bob can wear a fedora with his tux, so can I.
  14. Even after dessert. If any part of the ensemble is going to cause problems by that time of the evening, I'd expect it to be waist of the trousers, not the jacket.
  15. You mean you're supposed to keep your pants buttoned too? Geez, I don't know if I'm cut out for this gentlemanly stuff.
  16. The standardbearer is the toughest role on any battlefield ;)
  17. Fedora - tux

    In the opening scenes of the original Topper movie, Cary Grant is zipping about town with a tux and a black fedora. He plays a very racy character, who winds up slamming his roadster into a tree (thus becoming the world's suavest ghost), so the hat was probably a fashion statement by the costumer. I seem to recall bowlers worn with tuxes by various characters in old Hollywood flicks, but particularly among the more rotund comical types, like Robert Benchley.
  18. Edward

    Edward Bartender

    Absolutely correct.

    I lean towards the homberg myself. A black homberg is really quite inexpensive; due to the style being less popular than fedoras, fine vintage examples often sell at low prices on eBay. That said, a black fedora can also look sharp with black tie. I have even (in the Summer, whn it was too warm for felt and I was wearing an ivory dj) sported a panama with black tie and had it work well (though I would again prefer one of those Milan straw hombergs a la Poirot). I certainly agree with you that a top hat doesn't quite 'work' with the proportions of anything shorter than tails, though it has been done and I think pulled off quite well by some - Astaire did it, I believe, as has our own MetroPD, who never looks less than immaculate.

    Pumps, certainly, are white-tie only, though to be honest I stick with the Oxfords then myself. As forf black tie, there are those who hold fast to the opinion that a patent, plain-toe Oxford is correct. Personally, I have come to much prefer a regular leather pair given a deep shine as to my eye these look much classier; patent can look a little "cheap," somehow. Purely a matter of personal opinion, though. An influencing factor may be whether you can afford to hav a spare pair of shoes set aside purely for evening wear, patent being of limited utility otherwise. That said, I keep a dedicated pair of evening wear soes myself, but they're not patent.
  19. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    That's news to me.
  20. You won't need a cummerbund since it's DB.

    Edit. I knew I should have read the entire thread before posting. Sorry! :D

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