Tag Archives: Coolclobber

Vintage Classic hats for men

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

Vintage classics, the gentleman’s hat.

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

Of course, there are many other styles of classic hats to explore and enjoy, and it’s good to see men using these vintage styles to add a touch of individualism to their outfits.
N.B. The archive Photographs of Patrick MacNee and of Maurice Chevalier are not my ©

Classic vintage menswear, the Overcoat, Aquascutum.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The name Aquascutum is synonymous with quality tailoring, with elegance and tradition.
The company was set up by John Emary in 1851, the same year as the Great Exhibition at Crystal Palace, and started as a tailors shop in London’s Mayfair. Emary took out a patent on the first water resistant fabric, and the name Aquascutum, it’s brand name, is Latin for water shield.
Aquascutum moved premises in 1895, to Regent Street, and in 1897 received its first Royal Warrant, from the Prince of Wales. Thereafter, Aquascutum enjoyed the long and prestigious patronage of the British Royal Family, receiving six Royal Warrants in total, the last in 1952 from Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
During the Crimean war and in both World Wars, Aquascutum Made military trench coats, and was respected for both its military as well as its civil tailoring. Throughout its long history, Aquascutum dressed royalty, the military, stars of stage and screen, politicians, Everest climbers and even the 1996 British Olympic team.
Producing high quality men’s and women’s tailored coats, suits and uniforms, Aquascutum has a long history of innovation, fabric innovation and brand development that has earned it a particular place in British fashion and social history. Aquascutum was sold to YGM Holdings, a Chinese Company in 2012 after floundering in the early part of the 21st century.
During the 1940s 50s and 60s, a well dressed man would complete his outfit with a good quality woollen overcoat. This would be a capacious garment, cut to fit over the jacket of a suit. It was generally a well tailored garment and ideally would be made to measure, although “off the peg” became more commonplace, with gents outfitters able to make alterations where needed to a ready made garment. Overcoats from the first half of the twentieth century often have weatherproof finishes, satin or silk linings, and generous pockets. They may be double breasted, echoing the style of the war time trench coat, or single breasted, which generally sits better over a suit. They may have set in sleeves or raglan sleeves. Fabrics would usually be thick and dense wool weaves, in tweeds, checks or plaids, with colours and styles suitable for both town and country.
Buying a vintage overcoat is a great investment, as a quality new overcoat bought from a tailor today will set you back the upwards side of £600, whilst a good vintage coat may be picked up for under £200. Check the label, as it will give you information about the maker and the fabric composition. Some labels will instantly indicate a high quality garment, e.g Aquascutum, Gieves & Hawkes, Jaeger, Mackintosh, Austin Reed. Other labels may offer a local connection, e.g.made for a particular gentleman’s outfitter in a certain town.
Make a note of your own measurements, and compare them with the vintage item. The overcoat is designed to wear over a jacket, so it will be quite roomy. You may need to add a few inches to your own chest measurement for ease. Check both the sleeve length and the width across the shoulders. Nape of neck to hem will give you the length, which may be well below the knee, just below the knee, or a ¾ “car coat” length, which can be worn quite casually. The width from armpit to armpit , when doubled, gives you the chest measurement plus an allowance for ease of wear over your other clothes. Look at the overall condition of the coat. In particular, look for signs of wear at the cuffs, and pocket tops, which can become thin, check inside pocket linings for any tears or rips, and the lining, particularly under the arms and along the back seam, as this is where you will seem most signs of wear and tear. Any small defects can be repaired, such as missing stitching on a lining seam, or an odd missing button. If you are buying on-line, don’t be reluctant to ask for extra measurements or details from the seller. If you are a careful buyer, you will be able to add a high quality coat to your wardrobe, and will be able to wear it proudly for many years to come.

Please note the Aquascutum illustration and 1950s advert are not my own ©️

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

A touch of Vintage, the handbag.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the easiest and most stylish ways to add a touch of vintage to an outfit is to add a frame handbag. Here are four just added to the shop.  Former film star, Grace Kelly, Princess Grace of Monaco, often carried a Hermès bag with top straps, and that style of bag evolved into the eponymous “Kelly”bag, which is essentially a metal frame bag, boxy in style, with a top clasp and top handles. This style is synonymous with the 1950s, the Grace Kelly  era, but has remained a popular style which we think of as a classic and elegant accessory.

The classic frame handbag comes in many variations, from classic leather to pvc, shiny patent leather to pony skin!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber?ref=seller-platform-mcnav

 

Caravan chic, 50s 60s curtains

Continue reading Caravan chic, 50s 60s curtains

The string vest, retro men’s underwear.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.)

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

 

 

 

 

1970s Designer Ronald Joyce, London

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

1980s designer Donald Campbell

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Donald Campbell was a London based fashion designer favoured by Princess Diana. This particular dress is late 80s or early 90s and is a fabulous blue and green paisley design on silk chiffon, with a blue silk lining. Midi length, the style of this dress is very feminine and flattering, with a crossover draped bodice , sheer sleeves and calf length gathered skirt. A silk velvet belt and flowing sheer scarf are included. This is the perfect dress for a summer garden party or for a day at the races.

Donald Campbell opened two shops in London, the first in 1973. He specialised in working in luxury fabrics as a couturier, but creating bespoke ready to wear pieces for individual clients. He made several pieces for Princess Diana, including a honeymoon dress.

Revamp your vintage wardrobe

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Its January, and I have been restocking the shelves at Coolclobber. Today I added more beautiful vintage headsquares, some more pre-decimal wallets and a fabulous red leather Italian handbag.

January is a great time to take stock of your wardrobe. Take things out, try things on, try out different combinatigons and accessories. Whether you like full on vintage or just a few vintage details, it’s a good time for planning and for buying. Revamp your wardrobe and look forward to the Spring!

 

New year, new stock, leather wallets with pre-decimal markings.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We have a great selection of pre-decimal leather wallets in stock.

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/coolclobber

The headsquare

Equestrian theme
Vintage headsquares

This is a fabulous little equestrian number from a huge selection of vintage headsquares that I now have in stock.

My best friend wears hers like the Queen….tied under the chin!

There are fifty ways to leave your lover (so I hear), but how many ways are there to wear a headsquare?

1 folded diagonally and tied under the chin, like the Queen.

2 folded diagonally, crossed under the chin and tied at the back (Audrey Hepburn)

2 folded diagonally , tied around the back of head, over the scarf tails, gypsy style.

3 As above but tied under the scarf tails, hippy chic.

4 folded diagonally, point in the front, tails brought round to front and tied, point tucked in , washerwoman  style.

5 pleated, tied, with ends fanned, turban style.

6 rolled on the diagonal and worn as a Hendrix style headband.

7rolled on the diagonal and used to tie a pony tail

8 folded into an oblong and worn as a knotted stock under a hacking jacket

9diagonally folded and tied behind the neck with the diagonal creating a cowl neckline.

10 diagonally folded and worn around the neck with tails at the front, Boy Scout style

11 as above but tails worn near the collar bone, cowboy style

12 as an element of a hijab

13 as an element of a headwrap

14 tie it around your wrist

15 tie it around your waist

16  tie it around your hips

17 tie it around your leg, like a punk Morris dancer

18 wrap up some possessions,tie it to a long stick and take a hike

19 drape over a side table

20 use it as a halter neck top

…….. I can think of more!