In the past, tails were not always worn strictly by the maestro, the concert pianist, or the groom. They used to be common evening attire in many households. Not too long ago, there were American families that wore white ties and tails for dinner every night of the year. These American families were not just the Vanderbilts, but also the semi well heeled, and in addition your standard well-bred gentry. Today, there is still room in the world for the white tie and tails. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Here we have a fine example of bespoke tails from the venerable Savile Row tailoring firm Davies & Son circa 1935. The 1930’s was the most elegant and significant decade for gentleman’s clothing. What makes 1930’s clothing so beautiful has nothing to do with fashion or style. Given that the artisan craft is the constant, tailoring has more to do with purpose and logic. The human body is the most perfect, beautiful gift of nature. The fine tuned athlete and the more generously proportioned gent both have lines and movement, and both the athlete and the gent can be elegant. One only needs images from the 30’s of gentleman of all different body types to understand how the true artisan tailor worked with the body (rather than against it). There was no need to build up shoulders, nor was there a need to create illusions of slimmer waists (or anything else that essentially had the purpose of masking any perceived anatomical flaws). The key was to get measurements right and to work the proportions. A gentleman didn’t need shoulder padding in the 30’s, and he certainly does not need it today.
This garment is completely hand made. It has perfectly pitched shoulders with the most perfect sleeve head. There is no padding to the shoulder (which is delicately set in by hand following the line of the natural shoulder). This shoulder has more in common with Naples than the more structured shoulder that one associates with English tailoring. The lapels have the perfect roll. Pinch the fold of the lapel between one’s finger tips and there is a gentle soft spring that can be achieved with hand padding. Done in a rich English wool file with silk grosgrain lapels and lined in silk. The buttons are covered in check jacquard silk.
The armhole is cut very high, giving a proper fit. The fitted sleeve that tapers to the wrist beckons for functioning buttonholes. There is nothing showy or rakish here; just evidence that hand sewn, functioning buttonholes are a necessity. The rear interior lining has quilted panels. The panels give weight and contour. Every detail has been thoroughly thought out and masterfully executed.