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Show us your British suits

Discussion in 'Suits' started by avedwards, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. I've done a search and found that there's no thread specifically for vintage British suits, which is only natural considering that this forum is mostly dominated by Americans. Out of my three suits which I would consider vintage two are from the UK and one from Australia. I will be posting pictures of them soon.

    It would be interesting to see how British suits differ from American ones. My guess (based on my observations) is that British suits are almost always fully lined and almost always made of heavy weight wool. I haven't yet seen a light weight British suit or let alone a linen suit. It appears that Brits were just incredibly tolerant to the heat back in the Golden Era.

    So show us your British suits. By British I mean anything made in the British Isles (England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland) or the Brish Empire.

    EDIT: As well as suits, feel free to post sports coats as well as long as they are British.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2011
  2. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    A man after my own heart. All my vintage suits are British actually.
    1954 Austin Reed, DB three piece
    Charcoal pinstripes

    1950s W Evans and Sons (I think label partially cut away), wideboy/bold look suit

    Late 1950s or early 1960s Continental style Burton

    1960s Hector Powe three piece
    Heavy wool, charcoal with silver and red pinstripes

  3. Lexybeast

    Lexybeast A-List Customer

    Does "British made but sold in Beverly Hills" count? (Cross posted from the sports coat thread, lot more pictures there.)

  4. scotrace

    scotrace Head Bartender Staff Member

    Actually there are a couple if excellent threads on Brit suits. I'll try and dig them up when I'm not mobile.
  5. Tomasso

    Tomasso Incurably Addicted

    I would think so.....And BTW, Savile Row would probably be out of business if not for sales at their US trunk shows.
  6. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    Oddly enough, I have three more American suits (both vintage and modern) than British, despite being British [huh]
  7. Thank you very much for your large contribution. Could you possibly post the labels of some of those? Particularly that Austin Reed 3pc DB. As for the Hector Powe suit, is there a date on it? I would have thought the lapels were too wide to be 60s, though I could be mistaken.

    Also, could you tell us what the weights are? I'm trying to see if my hypothesis that nearly all British suits were made from heavy weight wool is correct.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2011
  8. Of course. I'm mainly trying to see how different British suits were from American ones.
  9. Sorry if yet again I've started a thread which already exists. I did first do a search for all threads which included "British suits" in their titles.
  10. dragonaxe

    dragonaxe One of the Regulars

    beautiful suits chasseur! I LOVE the hector powe 3 piece!! I'd die for a classy suit..how much money are we talking for a vintage 3 piece?
  11. dragonaxe

    dragonaxe One of the Regulars

    beautiful suits chasseur! I LOVE the hector powe 3 piece!! I'd die for a classy suit..how much money are we talking for a vintage 3 piece?
  12. Very much agreed, those suits are something else Chasseur!
  13. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    Thanks for the kind words guys! The Hector Powe was not that expensive actually. Less than $100 if memory serves correctly. Just be patient those vintage 3 pieces are out there.

    Edwards I will take photos of the labels tomorrow and post them. All are heavy wool. I am not a great judge of fabric weight but they all are heavier than my 12oz weight modern suits. I would have to hazard about 16oz or so on them.
  14. Thank you. If they are all heavy weight wools that fits in with my hypothesis.
  15. It varies, but on average I'd say between £60 and £100, though that's just a guess. I paid £85 for a mid '50s charcoal grey three piece. A three piece DB like the first suit Chausseur posted is likely to be considerably more expensive due to their comparative rarity.
  16. Despite the vague generalisations that can be made, i'm afraid they'll often be very misleading. In terms of style, i've never been convinced there's much difference.

    Sure, you're not likely to find British linen suits from the 1930s or 40s. Who would've needed them? A very small portion of society. Therefore relatively rare, though they are around. Particularly from colonial tailors. I know herringbonekid has a linen number that I think was CC41. Army and Navy Stores catalogues in the possession of benstephens offer Palm Beach fabric suits. I own a silk suit from the late 20s (probably) that I am told was made in Hong Kong.

    As for fabric weight, Britain was then, as it is now, quite cold. If, as most people, you had one or maybe two suits you wouldn't waste money on a linen one for those extremely rare days when it gets over 15 degrees. Simple economics. I don't notice the general weight of British wool suits to be too much above that of the general weight of American wool suits of the era. 13-15 Oz, i'm guessing mostly.

    If you're looking for differences in tailoring between the suits from different tailoring traditions, generalisations can be made, but I don't think you're going to get anywhere from photographs. The shoulders of a 1930s British suit, for example, are rather differently constructed from those of an American suit. I don't know enough about tailoring to explain the difference, but the observation is there. French, Italian, and Spanish shoulders of the era are different again, but very similar to each other. [huh]

  17. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    One thing I have noticed is that all my American vintage suits have half lined jackets whereas my British is fully lined - again, certainly not something one could generalise, but demonstrates the effect of climate
  18. no I think that generalisation - half lined jackets - is reasonably correct, at least for ready made suits.
  19. dragonaxe

    dragonaxe One of the Regulars

    so which parts of a jacket are lined in a half-lined? Ive only ever had a couple of suits in my life...and they've been cheap, off the peg, marks & spencers ones, lol
  20. Cobden

    Cobden Practically Family

    Sleeves, and the top half (down to inside pocket level, if that akes sense) in a V shape at the back

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