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Discussion in 'General Attire & Accoutrements' started by Powerhouse, May 17, 2006.
Please post some photographs and I am sure we will be able to give you feedback.
Here are the Nicholas Brothers, phenomenal tap & jazz dancers... behind Harold (the younger brother) you can make out Fayard's 1930's collegiate suit with wide legged trousers. This still is from a film released in 1936.
Found these with a small lot of vests dated 1921. I believe the trousers are from around the same period. Made in a rather stiff and thick plain woven wool. Fuzziness approaching a blanket. 19" at the bottoms, 10" rise including waistband.
good find Q.
they're more finished than the blanket bags me and TT saw at the museum. any clues as to the country of origin ?
None, other than the fact that I found it here in Norway, and that it came from some family's attic. (I got the fathers vests, the sons morning suit from 1938, and half of a couple of suits from the early 50s.) It doesn't look bespoke, so it could be from some other country, but I think Norway is the most probable country of origin, seeing as the clothing industry was still very much alive here in the 1920s.
Never underestimate the ability or propensity of a working class youth to scrape together some money and buy some flashy clothes, or some very expensive clothing. Think zoot suiters, for example. You still see it today. Poor kid in the inner city sporting a $250 pair of Nikes or Fubu Jeans. I think These days in America, most white youth are not into clothes in this way, but A lot of minority styles are into looking nice or particularly stylish. In the UK, the mods or teddy boys were prime examples of this. When you think about it, poor kids, with only minimal rent, and no car or family might have a lot more disposable income than many middle class kids. I must comment though, that 20-24 inches does not seem all that extreme. Let's not go calling every flare or bell bottom pair of trousers Oxford Bags just yet.
Exactly. Forgot to add that it was not all that uncommon for a working guy to want to have one great suit for evenings out, church, or what have you. By the 40s and 50s, you see working class youth dressing sharp, and upper class kids being more casual. Same applies today.
All I can say is that you should prodduce them in a heavy weight, maybe a flannel. In teh late 90s, I saw a lot of cheap repro bags done for dancers in light weight fabrics. In my opinion, they looked awful, costumey and ridiculous. Just my opinion, of course. But without the weight, they just flop around.
Qirrel: Great find. Do they fit you?
They do, with only a small adjustment of the waist size.
Yup. At one dance I saw a guy wearing a matching bags and vest outfit made out of tartan plaid pajama fabric!
A joke from a 1925 newspaper:
"Why are Oxford Trousers like two French towns?"
"Because they are Toulon and Toulouse."
And here is the 1920s musical hall star Gillie Potter, who was famous for his Oxford Bags and his broad brimmed boater:
Michael Caine writes about this in his autobiography. From a working class home in London, he bought his first bespoke suit when he was in his teens, of "genuine prewar" material.
He didn't buy it from a West End tailor but the suit was identical. He had it made by one of the East End tailors that the expensive shops farmed their work out to.
The suit got him his first office job. That and a little lying about his education and background but the suit sold the story.
If anyone could pull that off, it would be Michael Caine. Great story.
Also, reminds me of the mods. Working class kids decked out in the latest Italian style.
Those of you who have followed this thread might find this of interest. Inspired by our discussions here, I have donned my research hat and prepared a lecture on the history of Oxford Bags. It covers a wide time period and discusses, and expands upon, a number of points that you have read here. The story takes us from travelling salesmen in the UK in the 1880s to the streets of Istanbul and Bucharest.
New Sheridan Club Monthly meeting
Wednesday 5th June
7pm–11pm (lecture at 8pm)
Upstairs, The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JB
Non-Members: £2 (first visit free)
Mr Sean Longden will talk to us earnestly on the subject of Oxford Bags: The Most Important Trousers of the 20th Century.
The 'New Sheridan Club' started life as an offshoot of 'The Chap' magazine. A number of FL members attend the club's events.
I hope to see some of the UK FL members there.
Take that, "Blue Jeans"! :boxing:
I'd have loved to listen to this lecture - but distance and all that. Hopefully plenty FLoungers will attend.
I will try to make it Sean, thanks.
Hope you will be recording it for posterity.