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Golden Age Mini-Series

Flanderian

Practically Family
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833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
With the forbearance of the moderators, and of fellow members, I’d like to add to the visual record of historic sartorial style. Variously defined more narrowly or more broadly, this epoch may well be typified by the styles and illustrations included in the Fedora Lounge thread and guide of Esquire illustrations.

Over the last 12 years, or so, I’ve passionately (Compulsively? ;)) harvested sartorial images I consider meritorious from the Internet. My only two criteria are both subjective; that I consider the subject matter stylish, and that the art work is of at least reasonable quality. With the exception of the Esquire archives, most of these images were found and stored as one-offs. But some form shorter series of various lengths. And it is those I wish to include in this thread as each offers a more or less common aesthetic vision.

I realize it may seem an odd proposition, but I literally consider the aesthetic contained in these images to be of significant and enduring value to the fabric of our lives, and I would like them, and it, safeguarded and available to any who wish to pursue it. And I can think of no better repository, or caretakers, then The Fedora Lounge.

This first series comes from what I believe was a manufacturer's catalog intended for buyers from retailers. The manufacturer was The Chicago Woolen Mills. And though I've an image of the cover floating around somewhere, I can't find it, though I believe it may have been 1937.

First installment -

(Edit: Ahhh! Found it! This is the cover from the illustrations that appear below.)


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Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
This is the balance of the 1937 Chicago Woolen Mills images that I have. (Unless I stumble upon some others in my disorderly archive! ;))


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One of the things I love about this series of illustrations, in addition to the rich, if idealized, art is the myriad of forms, cuts and details offered compared to a much narrower range of options over much of the last 50 years. For example, in the next to last illustration, the middle suit that looks as if it might be grey flannel, or even tweed, is what Esquire had termed a semi-sport suit. So qualified by details such as open patch pockets and double-barreled (Two) breast pockets. And the lapel also looks particular, somewhat similar to a Tautz lapel, with the bottom peak of the gorge extending beyond the top.
 
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Michael A

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,287
Those lapel rolls on the suits are so perfect and what a fabulous line of overcoats. I did a few minutes of google searching and all I could find was links to these photos and other catalog and sales mat'l. Did they sell entirely on a store branding model?

Michael
 

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
Those lapel rolls on the suits are so perfect and what a fabulous line of overcoats. I did a few minutes of google searching and all I could find was links to these photos and other catalog and sales mat'l. Did they sell entirely on a store branding model?

Michael

The short answer to your questions is, I don't know.

But I believe private label, otherwise known as store branding was still most common during that period, so I would suspect clothing of there's purchased during that era was most likely labeled Harry's, or some such, rather than Chicago Woolen Mills Co.

I believe I read something of their corporate history quite a while ago, but can't find it, or clearly remember it. I think eventually they may have gotten rolled into another maker, possibly what eventually became Hartmarx.
 

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
This short series of 5 ad illustrations is one of my favorites. Both the for beauty of the illustrations, which I suspect are from a common hand, and the clothing being illustrated. At the time Sportex was a brand name and range of fine cloth intended for use in tailored clothing for sport, or more durable business wear. It was a brand name of Dormeuil, the 170 year old French mercer. This range was briefly revived not that long ago as described in the article at the link below by the tailor David Reeves in which he describes some of the cloth's properties.

https://davidreevesbespoke.wordpress.com/2011/08/29/dormeuil-sportex-the-first-sports-fabric/


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Tiki Tom

Call Me a Cab
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2,537
Location
Oahu, North Polynesia
Congratulations, Flanderian. You have done it again. Wonderful illustrations. I’ve particularly been admiring some of the footwear (“how many pairs should you have?”) It seems that men had more options back then.
 

Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
Yes, thanks Flanderian, another fantastic series.

I'm delighted that you find them enjoyable! That's what it's all about.

Congratulations, Flanderian. You have done it again. Wonderful illustrations. I’ve particularly been admiring some of the footwear (“how many pairs should you have?”) It seems that men had more options back then.

Very welcome, sir! Ah, yes, footwear can be addictive, and indeed there was commonly more variety of forms than can now typically be found. Seeing the two pair of leather sandals reminds me of when growing up in a Northeastern U.S. city in the late forties and early fifties they were still commonly worn as summer footwear by a variety of men. The more formal variety even sometimes seen worn with casual tailored clothing. And in a current era when fashion even has men going sockless in formal oxfords (Cringe!) they WERE always worn with socks! Both more comfortable and more appealing from personal experience.

But on the other hand, the Internet also seems to have spurred an explosion of quality, niche shoe makers, and a revival of the fortunes of traditional makers of quality footwear all around the world: Portugal, Spain, Mallorca, Asia and Eastern Europe join England and France. For those willing and able to purchase footwear on-line the choices are now myriad as to make, and variety, even if not as abundant of form.
 
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Flanderian

Practically Family
Messages
833
Location
Flanders, NJ, USA
The following nine illustrations are from either a small catalog, or an ad section within a larger one. They appear very similar to more contemporary ads intended for the retail customer, but could instead be part of a buyer’s catalog. Staunchley appears to have been a sub brand of Society Brand Clothes, originally Alfred Decker & Cohn founded in Chicago in 1902, and purchased by Hartmarx in 1952.

The catalog appears to have been scanned on a flatbed scanner with pages showing distortion typical of scanning a bound catalog. The merchandise itself appears to be photos, while the few beautiful; luminous illustrations are most likely from the hand of George B. Shepherd who did equally lovely early commissioned work for Apparel Arts and Esquire.


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