Friday, 5 April 2013

Cream White Flannel Trousers & Sportscoats

Recently, we discussed suits and jacket from the 1960s, outlining the details of fashion styles at the time. Today, we will turn back to 1928 and focus on a German fashion illustration that highlights the great menswear tradition of wearing cream white flannel trousers with sportscoats.

Grey Suit

Let’s start by looking at the gentleman on the very left. He may not be wearing the aforementioned combination, but he certainly looks sharp! He is wearing a mid grey double breasted suit with six buttons, and two closing buttons. The gorge is low, the lapel has a rounded belly and the pockets align with the bottom row of buttons.

The full cut, high rise trousers have a decently sized cuff of about 2.5″ (6.5 cm), and are not cut overly long. Surprisingly, he wears mid brown shoes with a mid grey suit! While most men elegant men have now recognized that brown shoes can go perfectly with a grey suit, back then this must have been extremely fashion forward and borderline daring!

The light colored shirt has very subtle stripes and features a very long tab collar, over which he wears a red, white, turquoise and black striped tie. Interestingly, the knot is very thin and long, which makes it very different from a regular four-in-hand knot or a windsor knot. Most ties, especially those from Italy, have a much thicker interlining that would it make almost impossible to create such a knot. I think it suits him well, especially since he has such a slender build.

Considering the brown shoes were so different back then, the matching grey Homburg-style hat, the sand colored unlined gloves and the white pocket square helps to keep the outfit muted and elegant.

Ivory / Cream Flannel Trousers & Sportscoats

The two gentleman to the right both wear brown sportscoats with white cream flannel trousers and spectator shoes, but there are a number of distinct differences in their outfits.

The men in the middle wears a classic panama hat with a navy blue hat band (notice the top crease), and a pale brown jacket. This is not the typical sports jacket because it features (slightly) peaked lapels that are very round and rather short despite the closing button sitting slightly below the natural waist. The patch pockets with flaps clearly underline the casual character of this coat, although the peaked lapels and the the four cuff buttons are anything but casual. Usually these were reserved for more formal garments, like city suits or dinner jackets, whereas sports coats had one or two cuff buttons and notched lapels. The shirt is greyish-blue and has a similar collar to the other gentleman, with the exception that he wears a small collar bar. The rounded shirt button cuff was only seen on casual garments and it was a rather new feature at this point in time. The polka dot tie harmonizes well with the shirt and has the same narrow knot as his companion.

The trousers are once again full cut and have a high rise. So, although the front quarters are quite round, you cannot see the waistband of the trousers. Personally, I much prefer this look over combinations where I can see the belt and the tie peaking out underneath the buttoned jacket.Unfortunately, only very few men wear cream or ivory flannel trousers anymore. Of course, they are heavy and prone to stains – but they are so versatile and elegant! They are an excellent palette against which to contrast a range of dark jackets and sportscoats.

Paired with brown / white spectators, this outfit would certainly standout in most cities of the world today, but in 1928 this was a commonplace combination. For example, clotheshorse Rudolph Valentino would often wear these ivory colored trousers.

The person on the very right wears a darker brown, notched lapel single breasted jacket with jetted pockets. Interestingly, there are no flaps and he wears four cuff buttons in combination with cuff links. His peach colored shirt works great with his skin tone and the striped tie. As I mentioned before in the modern tailor shirt review, this kind of color is extremely useful since it can be combined with so many outfits -  every man should have at least one in their closet. Buying a shirt in this color is a fantastic way to expand upon your neutral shirt collection without creating redundancies.

His trousers have the same cut as the others, but this shade of cream is a little darker and will resist dirt a little more than the other pair. Nevertheless, I prefer the white flannel trousers in the middle. No matter if they are worn with a navy blue blazer, a houndstooth coat or  with a brown sportscoat like our subjects today, the wearer will always look great.

In regards to accessories, I should note that the color of his straw hat is much darker than the  panama in the middle. In combination with a walking cane, the overall look is very different from the middle ensemble, despite the obvious similarities.

What do you think about the outfits and more importantly, would you wear cream white flannel pants? I have yet to obtain a pair, but they are on the top of my list!


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