My online friend Scott- artist, map maker, beader and blogger (here and here) recently moved and was destashing some things he had collected along he way. One of which happened to be this vintage tux jacket in a size that was perfect for my son Trevor, who just happened to need a *new* tux jacket.
first, in photos-
So Scott sent it directly to Trevor who tried it on and was a very happy percussionist indeed! He brought it with him for mending to the cabin in the woods and lacking the ability to reweave the spot and mend it flawlessly, I opted to open the lining on one of the sleeves and remove a small patch of wool with which to mend the spot. This is where the fun began! What a marvel of tailoring! This bespoke tux jacket from the early 1900′s is made of wool, lined with silk, faced with various fabrics to shape the garment, with hand carved and dyed vegetable ivory buttons, and mostly hand sewn. The makers name as well as the customers and date the garment’s finishing date(December 5th,1918) was noted on a silk label sewn into an interior pocket. It is a marvel of attention to detail, of craft, of fine materials. It was wonderful to look at the interior of the garment and see the fine hand stitching, the various layer of interfacings and linings used-each chosen to produce a certain effect and with a purpose. And then I discovered the label. I imagined a man being measured and fitted, a tailor doing his best work with fine materials, and in the end a well dressed fellow attending an event with fine and elegant women, removing his top hat, helping her into a carriage…I can get carried away in the moment!
I goggled the names on the label and came up with a few things. J.A. Silverman from Rumania was naturalized in Kansas City in 1898. The tailor AJ Lofgren is listed in old Minneapolis city directories in the early 1900′s. It seems that tailors moved around from shop to shop and were in demand- usually able to get work when they needed it.
Then today I saw this article on NPR and was reminded that I hadn’t finished this post. It is a graphic on the difference between a $99 suit and a $5000 suit. The comments are quite entertaining. I especially liked Steve Carr’s comedic and clever reply and rewrite of my comment. Also, someone has already spoken up to be next on the list should it ever need a new home again.
But of course this all comes down to my ongoing obsession with mending, and belief in using up what we have. Throwing away less, buying less but buying the most quality that we can afford and keeping it longer. This tux is almost 100 years old and now cleaned and mended, perhaps it will go another 100!
My shibori contribution to well dressed men are my shibori pocket squares-for now, I’ll leave the tailoring to the experts!