Monday, 16 August 2010

Real Pictures

Many modern commentators on men's dress feel compelled to hark back to the cartoon illustrations of pre-1950 Esquire magazine and Apparel Arts to demonstrate their points. These illustrations were often fashion-house led phantasies and better sources for what real people were wearing in the age in which the modern classics were settled (before the Second World War diverted everyone's attention to simple survival), are the Spy cartoons of the old Vanity Fair, newspaper and magazine photographs and film stills, as in the above still, from the 1937 film, The Prisoner of Zenda, starring Ronald Colman and Madeleine Carroll.

I jest.

But I jest slightly.


  1. What happened to the 30's? When did the Ronald Coleman's become the Sean Penn's? I mean we now try to lead the way. If the Coleman's et al had persevered we should be trying to keep up!

  2. I think that it was at some point in the 1960s, which is hard to pinpoint exactly. Certainly, by 1970, everyone had been induced to 'hang loose' to such an extent that nobody cared anymore whether style leaders were actually stylish and the world just went beatnik-hobo. Now most film stars are out there twirling like the overpaid puppets (that they are) at the film premieres; the women are in frocks and rocks that they are being paid to advertise and the men (often just boys) look as though they have been pulled through a hedge backwards in 'onesize' clothing and adjustable baseball caps.

  3. "Through a Hedge Backwards", the new autobiography by one of pop's leading Boy Band superstars...

    Apparel Arts editors maintained that they only reported what was actually being worn by the style leaders of the day.

    Splendid moustache on Mr. Coleman.

  4. I think that his moustache was sported later on by several (at least for a while): Gable; Donat; George Sanders; Robert Taylor, to name a few. I think that it can work well but, if one gets it wrong, one might end up looking like a secondhand car salesman!