Brummel’s famous dictate that should the average Joe turn to look at you means that you’re over, under or ridiculously dressed, still holds true to this day.(And don’t forget that should anyone fail to notice the cut of the Beau’s cloth, his sartorial exquisiteness, he would have been most put out.)
Of course, we walk an even finer line. Today’s world is very casual and a man in a tie is often noticed and remarked upon. Not always favourably. Suits are still required at certain levels of corporate success. Suits are the easiest thing to dress in, at any rate. Blazers and sports coats, at least in Richmond, VA, are far more prevalent. That’s if some level of dress code,written or unwritten, is enforced at all.
Before there were blazers, men would split apart their suits and wear the top parts with odd trousers on holidays. The striped trousers and black frock coats of formal day dress still held sway for bankers and the like during those days. Soon after WWI, that began to change and eventually the striped trouser and dark coat was relegated to shop keepers. During the day, one could resort to a stroller and patterned trousers for very formal days.
The vest and coat from Mrs. E.’s grandfather’s suit by Gieves looks well with the houndstooth trouser, in my opinion. I thought to replicated the stroller look seen above in a page from my copy of “Men In Style.” Today, this will be seen as costume.
So I should not be surprised in the least when at my tailor’s I might be approached expectantly by a client. And I shall have little recourse but to smile obsequiously and enquire “May I help you, sir?”
(Click through both photos several times to see larger images.)