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iGent Myths Busted!


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#37 NJS

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 05:27 AM

Well said, FiS!! Bravo!!! Moreover, if there are two of us with quite similar views we can't (unlike most of the other contributors to this thread), both be wrong, can we? :sorcerer:
NJS :clapping:

Edited by NJS, 12 September 2011 - 05:29 AM.

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#38 I.Brackley

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 09:27 AM

7. Gentlemen Never Wear Double-Breasted Coats with Single Breasted Revers

Again, this is a matter of taste and preference. There are plenty of 19th century fashion plates showing DB coats with SB revers and they have come in and out of fashion ever since. They were last seen in the 1980s, and may be due to reappear soon. Perhaps you could argue that gentlemen never wear things that are out of fashion.



Unlike the"brown in town" or "no black lounge", this is one igent regulation I'd not encountered before. Probably as it almost dosen't need to be regulated so deeply ingrained is the idea that DB=Peak lapels that it's a hard "rule" to break.
While black tie coats or SB lounge jackets with variations on pockets and lapels that run contra to more widely held "rules" are not uncommon, I can't think of a time that I've ever personally seen a DB coat with notch lapels.

Which is too bad as this is rather fetching.
Moving the gaze down from the lapel it's SB, turns DB and then dramatically sweeps back into SB. It's fun.

[b][size="5"]
Here Bernhard Weatherill looks quite smart wearing just this type of coat (complete with cloth covered buttons - iGents avert your eyes!):

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"The possibilities that exist in the portrayal of personality constitute the strongest, and in fact the only unanswerable argument for the supremacy of Custom Tailoring"

-F.T. Croonborg, c. 1917

#39 Sator

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 10:08 AM

I personally don't understand why it is some people on the net are so keen on wanting to elevate personal tastes and preferences to the status of Eternal Rules to dictate to others how they have to dress eg thou shalt wear black shoes with suits only. Is there a competition to be crown with the title of Abitur Elegantiae or Herr Modediktator? What's wrong with saying "my preference is to wear black shoes because I think they look dressier because x,y,z." It is perfectly fine to have your own tastes and preferences, and it is even better to be able to articulate good reasons for why you have them.

By the way, here is the Duke of Windsor on an official visit wearing brown suede shoes:

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You can see where the idea of wearing brown suede shoes with suits described in Man About Town comes from:

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It is highly likely that Sir Samuel Hoare (right) is wearing brown suede shoes as well. You can clearly see that Eden (left) wears black shoes.

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#40 NJS

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Posted 12 September 2011 - 11:57 PM

Many of these guides that you are citing to us are full of "do this, and don't do that; this is OK but if you do it make sure that you also do this", which sounds like prescription to me. As for the little Dook - if he had paid less attention to his clothes he might have kept his crown.
NJS

Edited by NJS, 12 September 2011 - 11:58 PM.

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#41 Sator

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 03:02 PM

I've just found another one:

More than three jacket buttons is never appropriate for anything.


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This comes from Man About Town, Summer 1956:

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#42 Nishijin

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 04:59 PM

I've just found another one:



Sator, please... This whole "set of rules" is a mess. Or a joke.


Unbutton the bottom button of your jacket. It’s not intended to be buttoned.

... Well, of course, there is the case where the bottom button is intended to be buttoned. Not usual, but it happens.
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Same for the waistcoats buttons.


Jacket pockets are intended to be opened. Use a small scissor or seam ripper.

Though I agree they are so intended, indeed, there is nothing wrong with keeping them closed when one doesn't use them and wants his RTW fused coat to keep its shape. I mean, of course, when they are sewn inside, not hand-basted in white thread.




Your coat should follow and flatter the lines of your upper body, not pool around them. You should be able to slip a hand in to get to your inside breast pocket, but if the jacket’s closed and you can pound your heart with your fist, it’s too big.

And so, there is no way a man with a small chest but a bit of stomach can be helped by a cut "cheating", enlarging his chest... BTW, I presume this means that "drape cuts" go to the bin too.


Your tie should reach your belt line - it shouldn’t end above your belt or below it.
Your tie knot should have a dimple.


Yeah... Right... For sure... :Doh:


So are square-toed shoes.

Mouahahahahahahaha...
So those are horrible (please give consideration to where I've found the picture of the shoes)
http://putthison.com...lished-up-for-a


Never wear visible socks with shorts.

Those guys clearly have it all wrong. Someone should have told them.
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If your shirt is tucked in, you should be wearing a belt (or suspenders, if you’re wearing a jacket as well, or your trousers should have side adjusters and no belt loops).

Well, first, when is it OK to keep the shirt not tucked in ? And why is it OK to wear trousers with side adjusters without a belt nor suspenders, but not trousers that happen to be your size ? There again, :Doh:
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#43 NJS

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 03:47 AM

I certainly agree that the degree of specificity in some people's prescriptions is pretty ridiculous.

Edited by NJS, 14 September 2011 - 03:47 AM.

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#44 Frog in Suit

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 09:50 AM



This whole thread brings to mind some of the exchanges between Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh which followed the famous "U and non-U" article.
It is too late and I am too lazy to check, but I remember a bit about one otherwise perfectly conventional man (in the twenties or thirties) who insisted that only the worst sort of cad used the word "car". To him, it was "motor-car" (or possibly, even "motor" I do not remember --) and nothing else. He was unique in that opinion.
There was more in the book about some words or habits which one otherwise perfectly normal person, against all the usual practice of members of the same social group at the time, found abominable.


Those are minority opinions but I still think we must allow for personal idiosyncrasies. My list of "rules" (cf. supra) was largely based on received wisdom but incorporated my own aesthetic "choices" (for lack of a more precise word).

Many of the tabulated rules we see appear to originate in America. So do many of the magazine pictures from the thirties (by Fellowes or other artists). Hollywood/Palm Beach etc. also seems to influence many of the bloggers. Well, I do not wish to dress like a Hollywood actor, even one from the time when they did make an effort.

I am an anarchist; I resent rules. I am perfectly happy conforming to what is done (dressing properly for the occasion, being nice to old ladies, not arguing with my host or his/her guests, yielding the right of way and not exceeding the speed limit and so on, as long as I am not being forced do so by an officious cop/politician etc.) but I will not consult a set of rules when getting dressed. I will try to conform to rules of propriety ("no brown in town" and so forth) unless I feel a strong enough urge to do otherwise.

My above "rules", by the way, were written cum maximo grano salis.

Frog in Suit

#45 Sator

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 10:33 AM

Many of these guides that you are citing to us are full of "do this, and don't do that; this is OK but if you do it make sure that you also do this", which sounds like prescription to me.


My experience in writing dress guidelines is that you have to write "wear this, wear that" with "ifs, buts, and maybes" kept to the barest minimum. Otherwise, it gets too long winded. The trade off is that it does sound prescriptive. When I rewrote my wedding dress guide, I actually found it impossible not to be prescriptive.

However, the prescriptions in old dress guides all change according to the fashion of the day eg patent leather dress boots worn with morning dress. The result is that there is no permanent and immutable dress guide. You find these sorts of dress guides even today in magazines like GQ, which are rather poorly written. However, there are some strands that are fairly constant through the ages, and the result is that there are many instances where you can safely say "it is traditional to wear..."

#46 Nishijin

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Posted 14 September 2011 - 06:17 PM

I have written guidelines too, and they have to be prescriptive indeed, since it is what is asked. But I've always written this : "if you are asked to wear this or that, and have no clue about how to get your outfit right, here is a guideline that should do well". This meaning, it is always a way to do it, never the right, only and eternal rule of the correct way to do it.
There is nothing wrong with being prescriptive. What is wrong is assuming anything else would be a Mistake.
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#47 NJS

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 07:37 AM

I think that FiS has hit the nail firmly on the head with his warning to take much of this kind of thing with a good pinch of salt! Frankly, I found the apparently genuine outrage over some things that I have said about breast pocket handkerchiefs; grey flannels and reefers etc., extremely funny; especially in an age in which 80% per cent. of the male population appear happiest in 'chinos' tee-shirts, and trainers/sneakers. Dressing well is, surely, just getting the best-made clothes that you can and wearing them in a way that is consistent with the place, the occasion and the company. But dressing well is not an end in itself; we live in our clothes and they are merely background to our activities. The types ('i-gents') who blog on about "can I wear mulberry suede shoes with a navy pinstripe suit and purple tie?" become ridiculous. This is where ordinary, largely unwritten, codes of social expectation come in very handy; remove the angst, and serve to cement social bonding within groups: any individual who strives to stand out with odd combos and striking colours becomes a focus of suspicion and, often, ridicule. This is quite different from standing out incidentally because one's clothes are simply excellent. I guess that these ideas flow from the very British desire: not to cause a fuss, a scene; not to make a splash; not to appear forward and 'swanky' and full of one's own importance, by virtue of peculiar displays of mere clothing. The written charts and tables and all the rest of it were attempts to codify, for aspirants to the high life, the unspoken customs of the established leaders of fashion and these written charts should also be taken with a pinch of salt and an indulgent smile.
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#48 Sator

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:36 PM

From Man About Town, premier issue, 1953 - pinstriped suit worn with brown suede shoes la Winsdor:

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No brown in town was it?

#49 Nishijin

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 09:53 PM

Hey, since we're talking rules, I just found this :
http://apelad.blogsp...-cats-1784.html
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As far as I know, it's a pretty common rule in the US, of course meaningless in other countries... (for instance, in France, Labor day is May, 1st)
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#50 NJS

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Posted 15 September 2011 - 10:55 PM

Light suede shoes and pinstripe suits are very Terry Thomas / Duke of Windsor and rather comedic. The difference between the two of them is that Terry Thomas was a professional clown whereas the Little Dook just couldn't help it. Mixing casual and more formal clothes is making a statement. If you can carry it off like this, then fine:

http://www.zen171398...eth Duxbury.jpg

But the fact of the matter is that most chaps cannot pull it off and are better playing safe.

The shot is a publicity still for Make Mine Mink (1960). From the left: Elizabeth Duxbury; Athene Seyler; Terry Thomas; Hattie Jacques; Billie Whitelaw.

Edited by NJS, 15 September 2011 - 11:05 PM.

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#51 greger

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 07:47 PM

Some men also follow the rules they were taught in the military.
I-gent rules varies from person to person (some of these "rules" were around long before there were i-gents).
Some of the rules are clearly amusing at best.
Others really put forth a good presentation which helps the person achieve more.
After all, this is an art, and good artist have good rules that set them apart from others.
It is good to know a bunch of rules and select from them a group that knocks out your competitors.
A good set of over all rules. Accountants suits would be somewhat different than a bankers, so these are different rules. Then you add style, so the rules are adapted for that.
In a way this is like selecting fonts for a print job. A poor selection of fonts draws the wrong kind of attention.
An average font is like an average face in a crowd- who remembers? Well chosen fonts for that print job is a winner.
And then these rules have to fit the character.
That means we are not bound by one group of rules. There can be many winning groups of rules.

#52 Sator

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 11:34 PM

BTW there also seem to some rather catchy sounding rhyming "rules" eg blue and green should never be seen except on the Queen, red and green should never be seen, no brown in town. Naturally, I think all three of these rules are just someone's personal preference that they have tried to turn into a Permanent Rule.

#53 Sator

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 10:27 AM

One more Sartorial Myth I forgot to bust:

All Super Cloths are Fragile and Like Tissue Paper

These cloths are nothing but a marketing gimmick to trick you into buying overpriced Fairy Floss.

They should be avoided like the plague by True Cognoscenti.


Myth Busted by Jefferyd

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Well before Jeffery wrote this, I conducted an experiment in which I attacked a piece of S130s cloth with a heavy iron. I stretched and stretched as hard as I possibly could. I had beads of sweat on my brow. Yet I kept pulling and pulling with all my might. I feared it would tear, but try as I did, it would not. I left it overnight. Then the next day, I attacked again at the same spot - pulling as hard as I could. Still it would not tear.

It fully dawned on me that the iGent notion that super cloths are all as fragile as fairy floss was a complete and utter Myth.

If you look at a super cloth, you will notice that it often has a silken sheen to it. The reason is that they fibres are so tightly interwoven. This is one of the things that gives it such a smooth appearance, but is also a source of strength. This is not to say that all cloths woven from super wools are better or are even good either - like anything in life there is the good, the bad and the ugly.

This was Jeffery's conclusion and I agree wholeheartedly:

One of the common myths among the iGentry is that cloths of high super-numbers are too fragile and won't hold up to wear. While some cloths (notably Italian cloth) are made up with the intent of being very fine, soft and lightweight, and thus are more fragile, it is not necessarily true that all cloths bearing high super-numbers will be fragile.

So when evaluating the merits of a particular cloth, please do not fall into the ill-informed trap of dismissing a cloth merely because it is made up from super-fine yarns and must, therefore, be too fragile; let your tailor, who knows how various types of cloth handle and perform, guide you instead.


In particular the last sentence about letting your tailor guide you is extremely important!

#54 tailleuse

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Posted 09 October 2011 - 11:45 AM

Hey, since we're talking rules, I just found this :
http://apelad.blogsp...-cats-1784.html
Posted Image

As far as I know, it's a pretty common rule in the US, of course meaningless in other countries... (for instance, in France, Labor day is May, 1st)


It applies most especially to white shoes. One does see ads for "winter whites," that is, white woolen clothing.

Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)





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