The Capsule wardrobe project is temporarily on hold! No apologies, I have been working on other things whilst enjoying the unprecedented heat wave! Apart from my garden and vegetable plot, I have been busy taking photographs of new stock for Coolclobber and Floslingerie. We have now had weeks and weeks of hot sunshine, and I have had to eat my words about shorts! It has been too hot to wear much else!
So, here are some of my latest stock items for Coolclobber ⬆ Tap on any photo to enlarge it.
Today I visited some of my favourite haunts, searching for vintage pieces that will fit in my shops. Late in the day, I came across this amazing 1970s Ronald Joyce “After Six” evening dress…..certainly today’s best find!
These are my preview photographs, taken for my Instagram feed….as I couldn’t wait to show off my latest find. Although I haven’t taken measurements yet, I can safely say that it is Small, no more than a U.K. size 8, and it is in amazing condition. Later this week I will photograph it for the shop listings, and taking a full set of measurements to add to the description.
Sometimes a piece of clothing just grabs my attention and I like to find out a bit more about its provenance. And so it was with a bright red blazer that came in to my possession just last week.
It has an interesting pocket badge, embroidered with metal thread lettering, reading “Ford Wales Amateur Golf Tournament 1982, Home Internationals”, clearly a team blazer and of interest to Amateur Golfers and anyone interested in the history of Ford Motors. In 1982, Ford would have been in production at Bridgend, South Wales, I believe it was producing engines or engine parts, possibly for the Ford Focus. I find it interesting that even in the 1980s, the company would have supported its workers recreational pursuits, such as here, Golf. My understanding is that the Home Internationals, Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England, had their own knock out leagues, and that Ford’s sponsorship included Small prizes for the regional tournaments, and presumably a larger prize for the final, which I understand would have been played on one of the more prestigious courses. Although I have not been able to unearth any further information, it is enough to capture my imagination, and has made me think how a piece of clothing can archive social and regional history.
Historically, hats were always an essential element of any man’s wardrobe. Worn to denote occupation, worn to denote class, to keep the elements at bay, to protect the wearer from missiles and blows, and to make a statement about culture, taste and style….hats were worn with pride and with dignity. In the liberal 1960s and 70s, men’s wear in general became more casual and individualised, and the classic hats of former eras fell from grace, or were worn for more limited occasions as a part of formal dress.
With the renewed interest in styles of the past, lovers of vintage, watchers of costume dramas etc., have discovered a new love of classic hats, and their many forms. A man can create a particular vintage look more effectively by including a hat in his ensemble. There are many styles to choose from, but I am particularly fond of those classic styles that can be worn by Everyman, looking stylish without looking as if in fancy dress!
The British Bowler.
I love the bowler hat, as it is quintessentially British in origin and in nature. I always associate the bowler hat with suave Patrick MacNee…Steed in The Avengers (1960s). He was the epitome of London cool sophistication in his sharp suit, with rolled umbrella and bowler hat. The bowler is a classic, created by the eponymous Bowler Brothers, William and Thomas. They were commissioned by the 19th century hat retailer Lock & Co. To create a sturdy low crowned hat for their aristocratic client Mr.Edward Coke. This was in the mid 1800s, and for the next 100 years it was a popular style with city gents and politicians. In general, the bowler hat is no longer worn by the man in the street but is still a popular choice for high society occasions. For an authentic look, the bowler should be worn with a classic suit or with a well cut overcoat, smart shoes and gloves.
The Trilby and the Fedora
These classic styles are similar, and are perhaps the most commonly worn and popular of hats, particularly in the first half of the 20th century. They were both invented in the early 1890s.
Generally made from wool felt, the Trilby has a narrow brim and an indented crown, and is usually tightly turned up at the back ( and less so at the sides). The Fedora has a wider brim, and also has an indented or pinched crown. Both usually have a hat band, often of ribbon, and may either be stiffened or soft. Right up to the 1960s these were everyman’s hats, but the Fedora in particular is associated with glamour….often worn by film stars of the era….and by gangsters!
The Trilby and the Fedora are having a revival, and in my shop there is always a lot of interest in both styles. For a touch of glamour, 1930s to 1960s style…..wear with a classic trench coat ( incidentally, it’s a style that looks great on men and equally good on women!)
The Panama and the Boater
The Panama hat and the Boater are both men’s lightweight Summer hats, originating in the 1800s. The Boater is a flat crowned, stiff brimmed straw hat, with a ribbon band, often worn by tradesmen, barbers shop quartets, and particularly by butchers. It is also the classic hat for wearing when messing about on the river…..punting or rowing. Wear it with a good striped blazer and white bags for an authentic vintage look.
The Panama hat is finely woven from palm fronds and is as flexible as the Boater is rigid. The Panama usually has a pleated or dimpled crown and a ribbon band. It is an elegant hat popularised in the movies and beloved of both screen stars and public notables. Wear it best with a lightweight linen suit.
I believe that the string vest was first brought into being in the mid 1930s by a Norwegian army officer, Henrik Brun. It was designed on the principal that it’s string net structure would trap heat in winter and allow the body to breathe in summer. String underwear was marketed for its athletic and health benefits and had its heyday perhaps in the 1950s. I certainly associate it with “kitchen sink dramas”, brooding young men in cinematic poses, and the memory of these iconic garments drying on a clothes horse in front of an open fire in our 1950s family home! Although it’s popularity dwindled at the end of the 1960s and died a death in the 1970s, we can still summon the vision of famous string vest wearer Rab C Nesbitt (played by the talented Gregor Fisher) in the 1980s!
Here is some authentic 1950s string underwear from the shop….perfect for costume purposes, AmDram, dressing up etc. Note the title “Tarzan”. Johnny Weissmuller played Tarzan in films popular through from the 1930s and 40s to the 1950s when they were often screened in afternoon matinées in British cinemas.
(The Strutts Health Vest cotton ad is period marketing and I am unable to credit the photographer.)
Ronald Joyce is a London based design house renowned for its evening wear and wedding gowns. The company was originally started back in the 1950s by husband and wife Ronald and Joyce Phillips.
This gown is from their 1970s “Afer Six” collection and , though sized as a UK 16, would fit a modern UK 10/12 , with a relatively small waist and generous bodice it would probably need to be altered to fit. Features include split sleeves trimmed with lace, and a large keyhole back. The fabric is a semi sheer polyester “georgette” with an acetate lining.
This would have been a perfect “Hostess gown” for passing round the canapés and chipolatas on sticks!
This classic 1970s black leather biker vest is a recent addition to the shop. It will fit a medium/large , and is complete with loads of pockets, a cotton lining and various straps to adjust the fit. Visit the shop for full details.
Deréta is a great English label to look out for. This fab two piece suit is in pure wool and has a brown taffeta lining to both the waistcoat and the skirt. From the 1960s, this look was really popular for the “girl about town” or for office wear and could be teamed with coloured tights and Mary Ann strap shoes, or with little boots. Under the top you could wear a nylon turtle neck ( as shown), a skinny rib sweater or a fitted shirt. As with all vintage of this era, it is best to check actual measurements with your own as label sizing is quite different then and now. This is labelled as a size 14, but is more like a 12 with a smallish waist!
A bit random…..Traditional Academic robe by Ede & Ravenscroft. This style is graduate attire for Bachelor awards. It has a fluted back falling from a stiffened yoke and stiffened fronts and it has bell sleeves. All details in the shop.
Vintage accessories at Coolclobber are always popular, and are divided into two sections, women’s accessories and men’s accessories. The men’s section has a range of vintage wallets, hats, ties, braces, cufflinks, shoes and other items of interest, including some amazing grooming sets dating from the 1940s through to the 1970s.