The old fashioned way
A reflection upon times gone by
These days the term A Cruising Kit might be misinterpreted, but in April 1939 it is obviously aimed at those who enjoyed a summer holiday afloat an ocean liner. There is more stylistic freedom in this evening wear than in the daywear options. Wearers are even encouraged to go for a matching wine-coloured tie and handkerchief if they are far away from England.The model is accessorised with a cigarette, as usual.
Issue 3777 of The Tailor & Cutter introduces to the delightful language of more than 70 years ago. This sharp three-piece is classed in those better-dressed days as an “informal lounge suit”, or even better “an attractive rig for a day off in the sunshine”. Note the ciggy in our man’s right hand.
By early April, the T&C editors are suggesting this racy DB number for holiday wear. (I am not quite sure why the words Seaside and Sunshine deserve a capital letter, but there we are). The cloth mills must have loved those wide lapels and wider trousers. “Parti-coloured shoes suggest freedom from care” is a lovely phrase. This fella is a smoker too.
The Tailor & Cutter was the magazine for the bespoke trade for more than 100 years. Established in 1866, it survived as a weekly publication until around 1971. In the first of a series of features, menswear authority Eric Musgrave dips into his precious T&C archive to recall what the magazine was promoting in the months just before World War II.
Britain (with France) declared war on Germany on September 3rd 1939 and so a six-year global conflict began. The Second World War was a watershed for British society, so the issues of The Tailor & Cutter from the spring and summer of 1939 reflect a way of life that was soon to disappear.
Each image has its own story written by Eric.
About the Author:
Eric Musgrave has been writing about fashion and style for 36 years. He is the author of Sharp Suits (Pavilion Books), a pictorial history of men’s tailoring since Victorian times, and has contributed to several other fashion works. As editorial director of Drapers, the UK’s leading fashion industry magazine, he has been twice named business media editor of the year. He is now a freelance writer and fashion industry consultant. See ericmusgrave.co.uk for more details.