Jack Nicholson's suits, Chinatown

Discussion in 'Suits' started by rocketeer, Aug 6, 2019.

  1. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

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    Hi all :)
    I would like to have a jacket made with a bit of vintage flair about it. Having viewed Chinatown a while back Jack wears a light coloured suit with centre pleated back. I would also like to collect all details such as if it has a half belt, peaked lapels, patch pockets etc.
    With the vast amount of both knowledge and pages here has anyone dedicated a topic or page featuring the jacket as I cannot find a decent rear view in any stills available.
    many thanks, J.
     
  2. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^^and i’d like to know who made is fedora!!
    B
     
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  3. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    Is it this one mate?
    Chinatown-Gittes-Evelyn-Garden.png
    This is a three-button 30s suit with a half-belt in back but from what I can see in the photos, no pleats or gathering around the belt. The back is similar to the suit on the left in this catalogue scan but without the pleats above the belt:
    Catalogue Bellas Hess 1936 i.JPG

    The suit looks to be light brown (almost grey-ish) with a faint pinkish overplaid. Here are some front shots.
    Chinatown 2.jpg
    Hope this helps you out!
     
  4. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

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    Many thanks for those 'Benny', just what I was looking for. All I found were half shots of the back. I have to say I first noticed the pleat detail as 'Gittes' was getting out of a car. I also have a Harris Tweed shooting jacket with the detail but the rest is totally different to a suit
    Visiting a few off the peg suit shops to gain some ideas I found the peaked lapel has made a bit of a comeback amongst the younger set.
    I also popped into my local tailors to describe such a jacket for a quick quote. Though he could not give me an exact quote he offered me £900-£1000 for what information I could supply but to come back with more details so these photo's are invaluable.
    Speaking to vendors at a recent Rockabilly event I was informed that a vintage era suit in wearable condition could easily come at a similar cost, maybe more. Unfortunately the only decent items I have come across have been slightly worn or showing their(80+year old) age and rarely become available. Sites such as eBay, sellers can sometimes be a little optemistic in descriptions and personally I would not wish to pay big money for something I may not be happy with.
    Many thanks for your time, J.
     
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  5. Benny Holiday

    Benny Holiday My Mail is Forwarded Here

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    You're very welcome J. Not exactly the same but close, check out the suits at www.chestercordite.com for £535 up to £635. They have some beltbacks with centre pleats & look good.
     
    Edward likes this.
  6. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Very true, belt-back tailored garments are extremely popular amongst the vintage crowd. For which reason, I don't really fathom; to me such a piece of clothing would be useless today, unsuitable for business, too eccentric to wear casually, not formal enough to use on smart dinners... But I guess people don't see clothes in the utilitarian perpective I see them.
    While what you say is correct, I think there are a number of good reasons why people still prefer to buy vintage damageed garments instead of having them reproduced by tailors.
    Unless your tailor is not specialised in period cuts or knows exactly what you are looking for and has excellent skills, you will not get a faithful reproduction of an original belt-back jacket, but a modern jacket with some fancy features inserted, There are several small details that one does not see in a still picture but are essential to make the jacket "work" properly, both functionally and aestethically. For example, the placement of the belt should be at natural waist, and not on the upper hips like most modern tailors would place it. Accordingly, the back and front panels need to be cut so that the jacket has a distinct hourglass shape bending at the belt point. This implies that the front panel will have to be shaped in a certain way, which most certainly will not be apparent to a tailor who's fitted boxy coats on paunchy businessmen in the last twenty years.
    Assuming the fit will be pleasing (and believe me this is far from being obvious), there are even smaller details like the curve of the sleeve, the wadding in the sleevehead and the shape of the lapel which pass unnoticed on most people and tailors are not willing to fiddle with these.

    At the end of the day, it depends on how much keen you are about details.
     
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  7. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Esther can make you an exact copy, she's very good at that.
    That price is a good ball park figure, The suit that I wanted, similar to that worn by Jack, but with a few differing details, cost me about £800 including post & packaging. The suit itself is exactly what I wanted, the tailor had me in for two fittings, he tried to get me to change my mind when I asked for pure linen material, suggesting that a mix with polyester would prevent the creasing that happens with pure linen. How I wished that I had listened to his advice.

    If you like Jack's shirt, these people do spearpoint shirts in various colours for just under fifty pounds. https://www.somelikeitholy.com/caramel-khaki-spearpoint-shirt-p-93.html
     
  8. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    If I am going to spend £1000 on a piece of clothing, I am expecting it to be versatile, long-lasting, of excellent quality, good-looking and comfortable. Attributes that can be rarely found on almost any piece of clothing sold nowadays.

    But I'm not going to question how you use your money.
     
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  9. GHT

    GHT I'll Lock Up

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    Any tailor worth his/her salt will faithfully reproduce a period garment by working to an original paper pattern. You might have had the kind of experience that you described, but even so, it's unfair to tarnish every tailor with that brush. All the period suits in my wardrobe are as authentic as you can get without buying an original. The tailor(s) that I have used have come up with a pattern that is so close to the picture that any difference is indistinguishable. Same with shirts and shoes.

    Bought off the peg, you're probably right, but I still think that there are skilled craft people that can make excellent, authentic clothing to a superb standard.
     
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  10. AbbaDatDeHat

    AbbaDatDeHat I'll Lock Up

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    ^^^^broad brush paints a poor picture but does cover the pallet quickly.
    B
     
  11. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    Exactly, using an original paper pattern. My reasoning was assuming that the tailor had only pictures to work with, which I thought was what the original poster had in mind.
     
  12. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    With respect, you are questioning other's use of money. You're just making a case for you being the tasteful, sensible one while the other guy has questionable taste. Your list of attributes: good looking, comfortable, long lasting and excellent quality will apply to this design if it's done well.

    The issue was you making a claim the pattern was 'useless'. I can imagine this jacket being worn in a wide range of places and giving pleasure to its owner.
     
  13. Mathematicus

    Mathematicus A-List Customer

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    You forgot versatility. And I'm not making any case, this is a forum and happens to be, by its own definition, a place of discussion in which one shares opinions.

    I said that "fancy" features (am I allowed to say that a belt-back design is a fancy design or is even this going to be blamed?) are not as versatile as the plain alternatives and, if it were for me, I would never spend much money on a product that I would not wear, considering also the difficulty of getting it right.

    Different people may have different peception of what is versatile or nor; as an example of this, I, contrarily to you, can hardly see an occasion in which a belt-back jacket would be appropriate without standing out as costume-y.
    I will repeat ad nauseam (since it doesn't seem to be apparent) that this is my view-point and, of course, can not apply to everyone.
     
  14. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    Folks will vary, but I'm in the same boat as you here. Sizing aside, it's got to the point for me where original stuff is now so rare and spendy, I'd much rather have quality repro than an original I have to worry about (ripe cotton, wearing out the irreplaceable, whatever). I'm also completely over vintage hobby-dealers who bought everything in theirf own wardrobes for buttons back in the nineties and are now bitter that nobody wants to buy the tattier bits they can still find for sale at inflated prices. The way some of them talk about anyone who dares to reproduce anything, no matter how well.... But then the first and foremost thing about it for me has always been the style; I value a suit becuase of its quality, cut and look - not because of then it happened to be made. Others will, of course, vary. Unless you're very lucky, bespoke repop with the correct techniques will always look better than an off-fitting original.

    I hear good things about them. Saw them in the very early days at a weekender; the material they used then wasn't quite there, but the cuts were nice. They seem to have hit on it now. There's also the long-established http://www.rocacha.com/ - best known for their zoots, but they do all sorts very well. SJC are really going places with their tailoring as well.

    Inevitably, this is the sort of thing that will vary depending on context. To the average person these days, a suit is a suit is a suit, and many, at least outside of very traditional buisiness contexts, won't really notice these sorts of details. It always amuses me when I see confusion in people's eyes when I refer to wearing a tie casually (I know and work with people, including one big name, former very senior partner in two of the biggest London law firms, who take great pride and will often make a show of never wearing a tie), but that's how it goes depending on your subculture. In an odd way, with today's incrsasingly casualised society, I tend to find the wearability of some things actually vastly increased on the basis that the more rigid dresscodes of the thirties have broadly disappeared. YMMV, naturally.
     
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  15. rocketeer

    rocketeer Call Me a Cab

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    One BIG thing I don't like about the modern office culture is the so called Dress Down Friday syndrome. Luckily this does not affect me but should I ever have to have office time I would certainly wear my shiniest shoes and best suit complete with tie and fedora, maybe even the 'Chinatown' suite. I know I would look better than our manager, our last senior manager also disregarded Dress Down, just in case a special visitor should show up.
     
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  16. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    I'm not a fan myself. Here in academia, we've never had a dress code as such; on our campus, the lawyers seem to be the most formal, though that doesn't necessarily replicate across all universities. Some teaching staff dress more formally to teach, though for the most part it's a casual environment. I tend to go collar and tie more often than not simply because that's what I prefer (though I'm in a linen suit and Haiwaiian shirt today with the heat).

    The problem I've observed with 'dress down' when it reflects a relaxing of dresscodes that otehrwise apply is that it somehow also seems to affect productivity - almost as if people relax about their work too... Interestingly, it was tried in the City in the early 2000s and a lot of firms abandoned it pretty quickly. It proved highly unpopular with men especially, as the 'casual' dresscodes mostly amounted to 'business casual' (in some extreme cases, the only difference was they could wear a blazer and trousers instead of a matching suit), something they didn't wear 'off-duty', so requiring a whole new, second work-wardrobe. Many ultimately ignored it as a result. More recently, I gather a lot of the London law firms are now casualising (except for important, pre-planned meetings). I can see this working in certain fields (e.g. media creatives at the senior level are often old-fashioned enough that they still think of suits as representative of "the man" and respond better to advice from someone in old-fashioned jeans), though I thik it's a shame, tbh.
     
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  17. Seb Lucas

    Seb Lucas I'll Lock Up

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    As an aside, Edward, - I still think suits are a reasonable representative of "the man". Politicians; bureaucrats; lawyers; executives; accountants; company directors - many still wear suits most days. I can't vouch for the quality or fit those suits, but they are unavoidable.
     
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  18. Edward

    Edward Bartender

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    To an extent, buty that's only surface level. Look at the realk men behind the men, they're all in jeans and a grey t-shirt or black poloneck (belt optional). Cause hey, they might screw us over every bit as bad, but at least they're not square.
     
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  19. PeterB

    PeterB One of the Regulars

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    There was or is a man in New Zealand who produces replicas of famous movie suits. He did a Nicholson suit. Cant remember his name but aboutb10 years ago there were threads about him on FL
     

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