Were double-breasted suits with vests once common?

Discussion in 'Suits' started by Abraham, Jan 3, 2016.

  1. Abraham

    Abraham One of the Regulars

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  2. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    LDL OK 1930s.jpg

    Here's one of my Dad, from his Oklahoma years; the late 1930s ...
     
  3. Shangas

    Shangas I'll Lock Up

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    I have seen the opposite (double breasted waistcoats with a singlebreasted jacket), but I think the other way around was less common.
     
  4. MisterCairo

    MisterCairo I'll Lock Up

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    Certainly not unheard of!

    I'm not sure what "common" means. They've never been the most popular combination, but most recently I saw it in the new Man From UNCLE movie on Napoleon Solo.
     
  5. Nick D

    Nick D Call Me a Cab

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    Double breasted jacket with a single breasted vest was quite common before mid-century. You find them all the time in movies, photos, catalogs, and originals. Single breasted with a double breasted vest was relatively uncommon, though more frequent than today.
     
  6. Hap Hapablap

    Hap Hapablap One of the Regulars

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    I believe that the combination was forced out of style when dry goods rationing began during WWII, as the "need" for a waistcoat seemed somewhat extraneous. I've had all my DB suits (except the tuxedo) made with waistcoats as I really like the look/feel. I allow for just a tiny bit of waistcoat to peek out above the crossover of the jacket lapels.
     
  7. Matt Deckard

    Matt Deckard Man of Action

    They were very very common, especially in the late teens and early 1920s. After WWII they were nearly extinct.
     
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  8. Luis

    Luis One of the Regulars

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    slightly off topic...
    why did a lot of things change post ww II?
    clothes, cars, music?
     
  9. hatsRme

    hatsRme I'll Lock Up

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    As a kid in the sixties, I seem to recall the DB suit as a special thing, reserved for the well-to-do. Richie Rich's Dad always wore one. In my high school years (1969 - 1973) they seemed to become popular again, following the demise of the Neru jacket.
     
  10. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    I think it was the multi faceted effect of emerging out of the long passage of the Depression, the War, and years and years and years of the FDR administration. People were just really ready for a change and once the world started to rebuild there was a lot of money to be made ... finally. There was wartime technology to be exploited and wartime skills to be utilized, the GI bill and the sense that the future finally had arrived in many ways. The future wasn't all good, think the Cold War, but it was different. People also had been trained to work closely together by the depression projects and the war but they had never really come together in prosperity to do more forward thinking things. All that and more focused people on the future and making everything different. A lot of that was just hollow style but it was a vision for the country (and the world) that was powerful enough to put tail fins on toasters, regardless.
     
  11. Luis

    Luis One of the Regulars

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    It looked like many things just "bloomed", like when the winter stays too long and then suddenly all the trees are pollenating everywhere.
    I do notice that there were more color options for almost everything. pastel colors specifically. cars, clothing, kitchen appliances..etc..

    and going back to the double breast suit, it was time for a change and maybe the db was viewed as "outdated" and "a thing from the past"? I ask because I was not there, only speculate. Everyone's focus was not on depression/economy or war anymore but going forward? advances in textiles, industry technologies.

    I guess all these changes led to them being almost "extinct" after wwII as mentioned by
     
  12. Guttersnipe

    Guttersnipe One Too Many

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    Folks have also touched on changing aesthetics in conjunction with the post-war boom. Another factor that killed off 3-pieces was the rise of central heating and air conditioning technology. Tightly-fitted vests are extremely effective at retaining body heat. But when newly built automobiles, street cars, buses, subway stations, departments stores and offices building all started to have heating, the vest stopped being a practical garment for cold weather and started to be a purely sartorial choice.
     
  13. Luis

    Luis One of the Regulars

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    Definitely, I have friends that don't even own a jacket since all they do is take about 5 steps to the car from their house then another 5 steps to the office. Only relying on the heater in car, no need to purchase a coat is their mentality. Heating in houses and cars killed off a lot of functional clothing.
     
  14. MikeKardec

    MikeKardec One Too Many

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    Yeah and the "sleeker" post war design ... getting rid of double breasted suits, action backs and extraneous details. The atmosphere was seen as less formal, the slow slide into polo shirt = elegance had begun. More people probably bought off the rack too, one thing I'm often aware of is that after the war that an approximation of the lifestyle of the 1% was spread downward into the middle class. It was definitely the Velveeta version but you saw those sprawling, sort of cheaply built, houses, huge cars without being a Packard or a Bentley, and more upper middle class people having a single live in servant, maid, nanny, whatever ... as opposed to a grandmother to watch the kids.

    I do agree with the climate control aspect though I'd also say that there was a lot of people moving to places with easier climates too. The war pushed a lot of jobs west and south, before the war these were more rural areas, but I get the feeling that a lot of manufacturing and energy jobs moved from the rust belt to the west and gulf coasts. In the big cities of the US my experience with old buildings in the winter has always been stifling steam heat ... way too hot. But houses probably got warmer after the war and, of course, there is that entire generation or two that moved to the sun belt because with their obsession with the cold and continues to move for the same reason today ... even though now it's the heat that's the problem. My mother (not really one of those people) will still make comments about people making lifestyle choices because of "the cold" that shows her generation's reaction to a problem that has certainly become milder as well as climate control and clothing getting better.
     
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  15. Dirk Wainscotting

    Dirk Wainscotting A-List Customer

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    Among vintage pieces, you find a lot of double-breasted stresemann suits with waistcoats; at least in Northern Europe anyway. I have one, but I have never worn the waistcoat under the jacket, with both together it feels you're wearing a corset.
     
  16. Benproof

    Benproof A-List Customer

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    "Were double-breasted suits with vests once common?"


    The Victorian era (tails, extravagance) in England had that kind of opulence with double breasted, three piece suits referred to as sack tops with waistcoat and trousers. The fashion shortened jackets by the Edwardian era, a more austere and elegant reduction of the victorian excesses.

    Wartime generally sees the privileging of conservation of resources of fabrics and materials and a reduction of material excesses. This is reflected in some of the simpler war garments, or rationing. Aeroleathers, for example, have some of the original Comforts Committee labels applied to their clothing to reflect this legacy (reserved for service personnel), and designers like Nigel Cabourn also go for faithful reproduction of the label to reflect the era of the clothing too.

    Which war though?

    By 1935, Al Capone was still wearing three piece double breasted suits:

    was Al Capone in 1935 still wearing double breasted 3 piece suits?

    Kind of defies all the modern rules about wearing double breasted suits (which exaggerates width).

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Benproof

    Benproof A-List Customer

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    ..and the single breasted suit with a double breasted waistcoast. Still available to buy for the discerning Edwardian suitwearer who acknowledges the unusual position of this suit against a tide of modern convenience McDonalds suits!

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Benproof

    Benproof A-List Customer

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    But Sigmund Freud wore single breasted suits :)

    [​IMG]
     

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