Summer of '39: when cool became cool

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Fletch, Jun 20, 2010.

  1. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    From Life, July 17, 1939.

    According to this piece, it was in 1934 that the men's clothing industry began trying to get "Northerners" - which back then usually meant Northeasterners - to accept lightweight, light-colored suits for hot weather wear.

    Apparently a death-dealing nationwide heat wave in the summer of '34 did nothing to change prejudices that a respectable gent should not dress like a "cracker." Nor did another in '36. It was in '39 that the resistance finally began to fail - altho Wall Street men were still being warned against the "pajamas at work" look decades later.

    Note that an Irish linen suit weighed more than a wool gabardine!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Chasseur

    Chasseur Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,495
    Location:
    Hawaii
    Fletch great post!
     
  3. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,193
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    Oh how prophetic! :eusa_doh:


    Thanks for posting it. An interesting read.
     
  4. thunderw21

    thunderw21 I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    4,044
    Location:
    Iowa
    Good stuff, thanks.
     
  5. in/y

    in/y One of the Regulars

    Messages:
    117
    Location:
    Hightstown, N.J.
    Quite informative, thanks for the post.
     
  6. WH1

    WH1 Practically Family

    Messages:
    963
    Location:
    Over hills and far away
    Fletch,
    a great post and the pictures are truly great. Especially the closeup shots
    Thanks for posting this, it should be in the grand sticky at the top.
    Todd
     
  7. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,193
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    ^I will make sure it is included.
     
  8. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    Hey, thank you! Happy it's been so well received.
     
  9. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    Doesn't say the tropical wool is 10 oz, but that the suit weighs 10 oz less, or so it seems to me.

    Northerners sure are slow.
     
  10. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,193
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY
    It looks like we are still trying to catch up on this one. ;)
     
  11. Orgetorix

    Orgetorix Call Me a Cab

    The 10 oz. mentioned for the tropical wool is the weight-per-yard measurement normally used for cloth weights. Confusingly, the author lists weight for other fabrics made up as suits--the weight of the whole suit, not the per-yard weight of the cloth.

    The finest modern wools can't make a cloth much below 6-7 oz per yard. As a typical suit requires 3-4 yards, a suit weighing 10 oz. would have had to be made from cloth weighing 4-5 oz. per yard, accounting for wastage--clearly an impossibility.
     
  12. Haversack

    Haversack One Too Many

    Messages:
    1,082
    Location:
    Clipperton Island
    Is that Basil Rathbone in the photos holding a magnifying glass?

    Haversack.
     
  13. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    It seems to me to say that the tropical worsted suit is "10 oz lighter than the average wool suit," consistent with his references to the total weight of other suits.
     
  14. LuckyKat

    LuckyKat Practically Family

    Messages:
    555
    Location:
    Southern Calif
    What is on the front cover of this issue? I want to buy it for those great details.
     
  15. Fletch

    Fletch I'll Lock Up

    I think you're right.

    I mentally inserted a comma after "10 oz." - but it doesn't flow right somehow. Life captions were written tighter than that.

    So pending any further discoveries, disregard what I said about a 10oz worsted. I've edited it out of the OP.

    Cover for 7/17/39 (note the correct date): Lord Halifax, who ate lunch on the train to Geneva (presumably not all that unusual an occurrence - he must have been going there to negotiate something.)
    [​IMG]

    (Hint when looking for old Life covers: Stay away from life.com. They will only show you pre-selected "theme groups" of covers - you can't search them by date. I found this at http://oldlifemagazines.com.)
     
  16. nothing like him.

     
  17. cookie

    cookie I'll Lock Up

    Messages:
    5,918
    Location:
    Sydney Australia

    Confirmation of the mixture of materials in Palm Beach cloth.
     
  18. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

    Messages:
    2,166
    Location:
    Upper Michigan
    Note, 'This tussah silk and acetate is considered luxury fabric...'

    Very interesting info, thanks for posting!
     
  19. Richard Warren

    Richard Warren Practically Family

    Messages:
    667
    Location:
    Bay City
    I've seen references to Palm Beach cloth but don't know what it is. Is it extinct? Was it very common? What happened to it?
     
  20. Feraud

    Feraud Bartender

    Messages:
    17,193
    Location:
    Hardlucksville, NY

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.