Way back last fall when it was chilly (but not insanely cold like it is now!), Alan and Ralphie and I got dressed up in some hastily thrown together outfits and joined our city's first annual Tweed Ride. We're on the far right, standing above Ralphie in his light-coloured suit at my feet. It was such a fun day!
If you're into cycling, vintage clothing, and community building, this is probably the event you've been waiting for. I mean, I can only speak for myself here, but it was pretty amazing. It was especially great to bike en masse downtown and pass by a little kid who said (literally agape), "what's going on? Is it Bike Day? Why didn't anyone tell me it was BIKE DAY?!"
Fear not, little kid. The organizers promised that the Tweed Ride is going to come around next year too. You need never miss it again. But what are you going to wear? More importantly, what is my kid going to wear? I can tell you I'm not going to be able to squeeze him into that jacket one more time. (I'm letting myself personally off the hook as far as costuming goes. By the time this ride rolls around again, I will probably be wearing a newborn.)
While my sewing machine is off being tuned up, I've been dreaming up insane future projects (as one does). Nothing's too ambitious when no immediate action needs to be taken!
Check it out! Belted jacket, knickerbockers, fair isle sweater vest, newsboy cap, crazy socks, and a wool bow tie to class it all up.
After pulling together this collage, it occurred to me that I could have just fired up any episode of Jeeves and Wooster and gawked at the perfect costuming on Hugh Laurie.
I mean, it's perfect costuming on everyone, but Laurie gets to be the brightest of Bright Young Things. Anytime you set a period piece in the 20s and 30s (Downtown Abbey comes leaping to mind), all of the actors, particularly men, look extra good. And I'm sure we've all had the experience of coming across photos of our ancestors in this time period and wondering why, if people are just showing off a new tractor, they still manage to have a collared shirt on. I think you should all just agree with me right now that this era was the high point of men's fashion and manly clothes have gone to hell in a comfortable knitwear hand-basket ever since.
Where was I?
How realistic is it to pull a look like this off? Surprisingly, there are a lot of free tutorials out there to help recreate the sporty between-the-wars boy's look.
Though I might consider knitting up some long socks, I'm happy to cheat my way to a fair isle sweater vest with the help of this tutorial over at MADE. There's a perfectly jaunty news boy cap pattern and tutorial at (the sadly defunct) Clever Girl. And, for the sporting life, one's really looking for a wool bow tie, so why not whip one up with this cute and fast velcro version at Make it and Love it?
I bought this Burda pattern and embarrassingly long while ago and still haven't managed to sew it up (or even trace the pattern! full disclosure procrastination!). Yeah. And my sewing machine wasn't in the shop then. I think the pants, shortened up, might make some admirable knickerbockers. If I can't find anything in a belted version, I might also wind up with the jacket. It has all of the advantages of already existing as a printed pattern right here in the house.
But then I look at images like this from the Sears Catalog from 1917 and I really want that length and incorporated belt.
Maybe I could draft an alteration? How amazing is it, by the way, that the depictions here include the same kind of line drawings (of the jacket backs) that I'm only accustomed to seeing on pattern envelopes? I really like the patch pockets (with flaps on the more spendy versions).
Footwear, I realize, is going to be a problem. I have a feeling that velcro isn't going to cut it.