Photo: Timo Elliott
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
There was nothing flashy about the best dressed man I ever saw on a city street. Indeed, to describe his clothing today makes it sound almost drab, for he was wearing nothing more than dark brown oxfords, a charcoal suit, light blue shirt, dark brown necktie and a white linen pocket square. Of course, everything was impeccable and fit perfectly. To myself as a young man, he was mesmerizing.
The Japanese have concept called shibumi, which is a simple beauty without flashiness. It's a thought that translates well to men's clothing, for the best dress is also simple, and without flash. Our striped suited friend in the Esquire illustration makes that grade, in my opinion. He stands out without standing out, if that makes any sense.
There is a lesson here for those who are early in their learning about dress. They often attempt to stand out (I saw a young doctor wearing a red shirt with a gold necktie the other day), which simply makes them look unsophisticated. The best way to stand out is wear the kind of dress that the eye passes over, only to return in appreciation. And that is shibumi.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
It is usually called a business suit today, a sign that many of us have forgotton that the suit was worn daily by our anglo-influenced predecessors. Indeed, the most interesting examples of the genre to my mind are the non-business suits of the past, like the pair worn by the (American) footballers in the 1936 Esquire illustration. Such suits remain appropriate as well as interesting for daytime occasions ranging from holiday gatherings to museum going.
The components of the non-business ensemble are well represented in the illustration. They include the patterned suit in tweed or flannel, brown blucher shoes (with double or crepe soles), colored shirts, wool or cashmere neckties, and silk pocket squares. The combination looks great, wears warm enough for the season, and provides storage for all of a man's stuff in its many pockets.
Consider the non-business suit.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Lawrence & Foster, my capmaker of record, is offering several models on its web site at reductions from its already very reasonable prices.
A capmaker is a great asset, for otherwise excess tweed or linen need never go to waste. Half a meter makes one cap and six tenths makes two that will keep a man's head warm, shade his eyes. shed the rain (well, perhaps not the linen), and look good at the same time. And of course, L&F makes caps from their own material as well as that supplied by the customer.
Check them out.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
One great thing about tailors W. W. Chan is that their relative affordability encourages experimentation. You see, for years I resisted the occasional thought about cotton suits, which combine inexpensive, light wearing cloth with expensive tailoring. Chans prices however free me from much of that care about longevity, and I have on order a 15% cashmere and 85% cotton weekend suit in the medium brown cloth in the photo (it is a darker color than it might be if I lived elsewhere but here in California much of our summer occurs in the Fall).
The cotton knockabout suit is of course one of the warm weather classics in America, and assuming the first one works out I expect to try another. The 8 1/2 ounce (250 gram) weight is ideal for the season, lighter than any wrinkle resistant linen. In a three roll two single breasted version with patch pockets, it should take me from country to city and back again.
If upon reflection the light blue seems too much, then a lighter brown should surely complement the first. And two is the right number for wear on the weekend at a resort or as a house guest.
Posted by Will at 7:30 AM
Monday, December 21, 2009
I reported in October (Mis-Matched Grosgrain) that I was trying to have a couple of bow ties made from the same corded silk used on my DB dinner jacket. Well, that was one idea that did not work out very well.
You see, my tailor got his grosgrain from Richard James Weldon, the tailoring supply house. And it is beautiful material, with a flat texture that complements H. Lesser's dark midnight blue cloth. Not to mention that Weldon offers buttons covered with the stuff, a real time saver for the tailor. The downside of all this is that Weldon commissions its corded silk in a width too narrow for bow ties. Even pieced bow ties with buckles.
It is of course beyond my comprehension how this could be when matching bow tie and lapels on a bespoke dinner jacket is de rigueur. But it seems to be fact, a fact that makes me an easy man to spot in a crowd.
I will be the guy with the bow tie that is brighter than his lapels.
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Boisterous though the color may be in lighter shades, the deep purple necktie is one of the more useful that a man can own. Its most common pairing is with navy jackets but purple is an effective change of pace whenever a man might consider wearing a navy necktie and it always complements a light blue shirt.
It is of course a basic principle that contrasting colors usually get along more effectively than matching ones because they set each other off. More successful pairings tend to be colors that reside next to each other on a color wheel, which is the key to the combination of purple and navy.
Not to mention that it provides a man with a reason to wear his purple socks.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Friday, December 18, 2009
For many men, the coming of the new year offers one of the most appropriate occasions to wear evening clothes. And for those still looking for a few stocking stuffers that might suit such men, tasteful black tie accessories are increasingly appreciated as they become more difficult to find.
Two small opportunities come to mind. For though the opportunities for color in the black tie ensemble should always be limited to pocket square, hose and perhaps waistcoat (never, ever the bow tie itself please), Bresciani's maroon silk hose nicely complement the gleam of patent leather shoes for $57.50 per pair. And, since evening trousers are always suspended from the shoulders rather than strapped to the waist, black moire braces from England's Albert Thurston add a proper gleam to that task.
Note that white braces are better for white tie than black unless one's name is Daniel Craig...
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
My wife's favorite scarf from this season's acquisitions is one of Michael Drake's lightweight worsted "king's" cashmeres in a black and cream check for wear with casual outerwear - usually a shirt jacket.
Lightweight scarves provide the visual impact of their heavier relations without all of the warmth. And this is gossamer cloth that provides temperature control while remaining practical for moving between outdoors and in on errands without constantly disrobing.
There are to me two categories of scarves: silk for dressy occasions and cashmere or merino for for combating the cold. This stuff falls nicely in between.
Monday, December 14, 2009
On a shelf in one of my closets lies an article of clothing I hope never to need again. That is a version of the world's warmest hat, the Astrakhan Ambassador, perhaps Russia's only contribution to classic mens clothing and a regular atop my head on winter days in America's midwest years ago.
Usually seen in black or gray Persian lamb but available in more esoteric furs such as mink, the Astrakhan keeps a head toasty on the coldest of days while its built-in ear flaps do the same for those vulnerable extremnities. It is frankly too much hat for genteel commutes by car or train, but comes into its own on a ten block subzero walk across town when an ordinary fedora fails completely.
If only there was some equally effective covering for the nose.
Sunday, December 13, 2009
In my opinion. the white linen pocket square should be a man's default choice for his suit jacket's breast pocket. Unlike silk squares, which out of their natural odd jacket element carry some risk that the wearer will be perceived as too interested in his clothing, white linen adds to the look of an ensemble without negative connotations. In particular, the color complements traditiional business dress combinations such as the patterned shirt with a white ground.
That said, spare me the overly regular look of a tv folded square. Hold the handkerchief by its center, fold it in half and stuff it into the pocket. Rearrange until it looks satisfyingly irregular. And then forget about it.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The hand made lined six-fold is the prince of neckties, in my opinion. More than a meter of silk is used in a sixfold necktie's construction, along with a pure wool interlining. The extra material means the necktie drapes better and resists wrinkling compared to conventional neckties. In the photos, a selection of colorways for days in the sunshine. The first uses green and orange flowers to add complexity to an indigo ground that would be worn with gray suits.
This selection of six-fold neckties was made by E&G Cappelli, a small atelier in Naples Italy. Each tie was hand folded, self-tipped and has a keeper. In the photo, dark and mid-blue patterns on an orange ground coordinate with navy suits and white or light blue shirts.
Finally, the classic necktie with dark blue suits and white, blue or gray shirts. White and blue fleur de lis add variety to the bright red ground.
$195 each from A Suitable Wardrobe, including shipping in the continental United States. While awaiting the launch of the store, email will at dynend dot com.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A perfect silk scarf from Drake's awaits me at home, along with a couple MyTailor shirts in Simonnot-Godard's exquisite chambray (the stuff has a wonderful hand - it is unfortunate that it is made in such small quantities that it is essentially a gift provided by that firm to its customers). I look forward to seeing both in person.
My thanks to the guest authors who helped keep ASW alive during my soon to end hiatus. And this is as good a time as any to send the greetings of the season to all of us.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
by Nick Foulkes
The patch pocket is something that I came to relatively late in life. Until I was about forty years old (on December 2nd this year I was 45), I only wore jackets (or coats if you prefer) with jetted pockets and flaps. There were two exceptions: a ‘buggy-backed’ heavy weight brushed cotton drill jacket with three patch pockets and a shooting jacket in mustard tweed with generous bellows pockets and pointed button flaps, both created for me by the peerless Terry Haste, one of the true, and few, greats of modern tailoring.
I can’t really ascribe my prejudice against patch pockets to anything in particular – I suppose I just happened to like the slightly racy yet formal edge imparted by a slant pocket with an angled flap. Executed in a single button style I find that there is little to beat it for elegance and cleanness of line.
However that was before I met Mariano Rubinacci. Mariano is the eponymous proprietor of the prototypical Neapolitan tailor and the head of one of Europe’s most notable dynasties of elegance. His father started the shop as little more than a diversion from the serious business of collecting porcelain and generally cultivating his aesthetic sensibilities and it is Mariano that I have to thank for turning me on to the potential of the patch pocket.
As a Neapolitan gentleman of the old school, a time when Naples was a royal city with a social and cultural life to rival that of say Paris, what Mariano understands is the concept of relaxed elegance. His clothes are meant to be put on and forgotten; he is for example a great advocate of unlined garments with minimal padding at the shoulder; and the patch pocket is part of that vision. It has an ergonomic, almost organic quality to it; curving rather than rectilinear, it also enables the tailors to indulge in a display of decorative stitching, should they so wish, with one or two lines of top stitching to secure the pocket against the front of the jacket.
The result is oddly liberating, whereas before I used to fret about putting something in the pocket and thus disturbing the line of the garment, I now find that I don’t mind loading my pockets… in fact I find that charging one’s pockets and then emptying them and having the garment pressed, impart a new feeling of comfort, a worn-in quality that makes a garment truly one’s own rather the property of the man who made it.
And now I feel I ready to embark upon the next stage in patch pocket odyssey: the slanted patch pocket. I recently spotted Mariano’s son the super stylish Luca wearing a gorgeous rose coloured dogtooth check with a green window pane over check with slanted patch pockets with inverted pleats …and I now know the meaning of pocket envy.
Nick Foulkes is a journalist and prolific author whose works include Dunhill By Design, Last of the Dandies, and Dancing into Battle. He is married with two sons and lives in Shepherd's Bush, London.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Among the many frequently asked questions on the various clothing fora (and above all Style Forum, the one I look at the most), “Can I get vents added to my ventless jacket?” is the easiest to answer, and yet it comes up again and again.
The answer is, No, you can’t—or at least you almost never can. Here’s why.
The cloth you see on the outside of a finished jacket is only part of the total material that went into making that coat. Inside, there is some excess, hidden between the outer shell (i.e., what you can see) and the lining. Most of that excess is what is called a “seam allowance.” It’s impossible, or at least very hard and quite pointless, to sew a stitch on the very edge of a panel of cloth. Thus when any two pieces are sewn together, the stitch is made a fraction of an inch from both edges. The excess is the seam allowance. It is folded back, pressed flat, and hidden inside the jacket, typically under the lining (assuming the coat has a lining).
Sometimes seam allowances are deliberately left very large to allow for later alterations. This is called “inlay.” The most typical place you find inlay is in the rear seam of trousers. Men being men, we tend to eat too much steak and drink too much beer, causing our waistlines to expand. When that happens, all is not lost, at least not sartorially. An alterations tailor, thanks to that inlay, can let our pants out at the waist.
But most seams don’t have a lot of inlay. Inlay, to a tailor or suit manufacturer, means extra cloth and hence extra cost.
What does this have to do with vents? Simple. A vent is nothing more than a long slit where a seam is left open and finished. For center vents, it is the jacket’s center back seam; for side vents, it is the two seams where the back panels of the jacket meet the side panels (or fronts, if the coat was made with wide front panels rather than separate side panels, called “sidebodies”).
To do make a vent, there has to be some excess cloth along the open seam. A vent is not like a simple snip, with two cut edges hanging in parallel. A vent needs to look closed at virtually all times. Trousers, belt and shirt are not supposed to show through, except perhaps in extreme poses. To achieve that, there has to be considerable overlap from one side of the vent to the other. And to get that overlap requires excess cloth in the right place.
The picture above (Figure A) is a pattern draft for the back panel of a center-vented jacket. The dotted line toward the right side, on the top half of the draft, is the stitch line. When the coat is done, everything to the left of that line will show. The small strip of cloth to the right is the seam allowance.
The other dotted line, the one that extends out to the right from the bottom half of the panel, is what makes a vent possible. On one side (the right side, looking at a center-vented coat from the back), that extra cloth will forum the underlap. On the left side, which overlaps the right side, it will be folded back under the panel and pressed flat. That way, there is a good two inches of overlap to ensure that the vent stays closed most of the time, or at least doesn’t allow things that shouldn’t peek through to be seen. When the wearer moves or puts his hand in his pockets, and the vent spreads open a little, the underlap ensures that observers mostly see jacket fabric—not shirt or belt or trouser.
Side vents are more prone to opening than center vents and require even more underlap. The second picture (Figure B) shows pattern drafts for a side-vented jacket. Note the large underlap area on the right panel (a sidebody panel).
The reason you can’t add vents to a ventless jacket is that, chances are, there is not enough extra cloth tucked away under the lining to create that overlap. Either the excess is built in from the beginning, at the cutting stage, or it isn’t. If it isn’t, it likely is not going to be there at all.
If you want vents on an unvented coat, you have two (very slim) hopes. First, it’s possible that the coat was cut with a lot of inlay. If it’s a bespoke jacket, that might be true; if ready-to-wear, it almost certainly isn’t. Even if there is inlay, it’s more likely to be along the center back seam than along the sides. And even if there is some along the sides, it’s not likely to be enough to create the necessary underlap.
Second, if your coat is simply too big for you, then it might be possible for a tailor to re-cut the backs to include vents. It won’t be cheap, however, and probably won’t be worth it. Better to buy clothing that fits in the first place—and which includes the vent configuration you want from the get-go.
A man of many nom de plumes, Manton is Nicholas Antongiavanni, author of The Suit: A Machiavellian Approach to Men's Style.
Monday, December 7, 2009
By Nicholas Storey
According to Lord Dupplin, his ancestor the late Victorian Lord Dupplin, was a good friend of the Prince of Wales and, after one Season, he was invited onboard the Royal Yacht. He consulted the tailor Henry Poole over what to wear and an early version of the dinner jacket resulted. Apparently, he was lightly ribbed over it - but the Prince of Wales adopted the style for informal events the next Season and so, naturally, it started to catch on.
In the London Season of 1886, an American named James Brown Potter and his beautiful wife, Cora (née Urquhart), were taken up by the Prince of Wales and invited to Sandringham. Potter learned that the Prince favoured a short evening jacket for evening wear there and asked to have one made by Henry Poole.
Meanwhile, Pierre Lorillard IV, a tobacco millionaire, had started a club at Tuxedo Park in the hills outside New York. His youngest child, N. Griswold Lorillard's first Henry Poole commissions had been made in 1881. None of his commissions appears to have comprised a dinner jacket; although one is tantalizingly described as a 'fancy dress coat with single-breasted facings' - presumably meaning step (or notch) lapels.
When James and Cora Potter returned to New York in the Autumn of 1886, founder members of the club at Tuxedo Park, including Pierre Lorillard IV and Grenville Kane, began to adopt the jacket brought back by Potter for their informal dinners. Some club members even dared to sport the jacket out to stag (or bachelor) dinners at Delmonico's in New York where, according to Grenville Kane, talking in 1929, to Tuxedo Park resident J. Earle Stevens Jr, people started saying "Oh! That's what they wear for dinner up in Tuxedo."
On 10th October 1886, N. Griswold Lorillard and some friends attended the first Tuxedo Park Club Autumn Ball in a tailless dress coat, as a prank. This was much shorter than the dinner jackets that his elders had begun to adopt for informal occasions and a gossip sheet, called Town Topics, said that it made Griswold look like 'a royal footman'.
N. Griswold Lorillard may not then (although said by popular legend), really have introduced, at the age of 22 years, the dinner jacket-Tuxedo (as we know it) to American society but the legend of his high-spirited prank has long survived his early death in 1889. In any event, when entertainer Jack Buchanan popularized the double-breasted dinner jacket-Tuxedo in the UK, in the first quarter of the 20th Century, he was bringing back, from his tours in the USA, a descendant of the jacket that James Brown Potter had taken to America in 1886.
Guest author Nicholas Storey is a former London barrister and the author of the book “History of Men’s Fashion.” He lives in Brazil.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
By Eric Musgrave
The year is 1956 and this natty dresser is strolling down South Audley Street, in the heart of London’s Mayfair. Behind him is Grosvenor Chapel, completed in 1731, whose shape influenced many New England churches. During World War II, the chapel was popular with US servicemen and women, including General Eisenhower. Dwight D’s wartime HQ was located at the top of the street in Grosvenor Square, where, in 1957, work would begin on Finnish architect Eero Saarinen’s US embassy building.
Alas, the architect of our Mayfair Man’s exquisite slim-fitting three-piece has not been recorded. As this image comes from the archive of the old International Wool Secretariat at the London College of Fashion, it is tempting to think that this was an entry – perhaps a winner – in a tailoring competition. The IWS, funded mainly by Australian sheep farmers, promoted the use of fine wool in clothing and regularly encouraged tailoring firms to joust with each other, displaying their skills in forms that were not regularly seen on their commercial clients.
What a triumph of post-war English optimism we have here. There is an unmistakeable military influence in the broad shoulders, high scyes (or armholes) and gently full chest on the classic three-button jacket. The waist is noticeably suppressed, implying that the tailor meant this style only for a young man. The besom pockets add to the stream-lined fit of the jacket which ends in the unusual sharp-cornered front.
In 1956, only seven years after clothing rationing in the UK had ended, our unknown tailor has made full use of unrestricted use of fabric by giving our subject a double-breasted waistcoat and – oh what joy! – covered buttons. English commentator Hardy Amies wrote in 1964 that “a young man can wear cloth-covered buttons quite happily…but old men over 20 will just look spivvish”. What a spoilsport Hardy was! Covered buttons are stylish rather than spivvish.
As our image is in black and white, one can only speculate about the colour of the neat glen check fabric, but I imagine it as a light brown colour with perhaps a golden overcheck, which, in my mind’s eye, matches the champagne-coloured silk tie and cream shirt. Mayfair Man’s hat would be a dark brown and the string-backed driving gloves in his right hand suggest he has just motored up from the country. I see him in a Bristol 405, a car handbuilt for an individual. Just as his marvellous suit has been.
Eric Musgrave's book, SHARP SUITS, is published by Pavilion, an imprint of Anova Books, London. The photo is one of almost 150 images in the book, ranging from 1864 to 2009.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Rich textures and simple patterns in classic colors are perfect luxuries for the season. Hand-made, 100% Scottish cashmere neckties pair traditionally with tweed or flannel suits and odd jackets. Sophisticated dressers like Luca di Montezemolo wear them with worsteds.
Two patterns exclusive to ASW are a dark red bar stripe on a mid-gray ground and a white stripe on navy. 3.25 inches wide by 56 inches long (that's 8 cm by 142 cm) and $140 each, including shipping in the continental United States. Email will at dynend dot com with interest.
Friday, December 4, 2009
By G. Bruce Boyer
The Gothic Business Look (all laser-cut black suits and pointed shoes), the Made-in-America Blue Collar Look, the Neo-Japanese Preppy Look, the Neapolitan Relaxed Elegance Look. There are so many looks around these days to tempt a young man at the onset of his wardrobing life. What's a fella to do?
May I suggest taking one step forward by taking two steps backwards: the tried & true English Country House Look (ECHL). It's stood the test of time, has proven adaptable to virtually any body shape, continues to have enviable street creds, and can be worked and re-worked over and over infinitum.
In his distinctive book, On Decorating, Mark Hampton slyly puts his finger on the secret of the ECHL:
…rooms with old worn carpets and turn-of-the-century upholstered furniture which, instead of being newly reupholstered, is covered in loose slipcovers that look (and perhaps are) homemade. There are books everywhere and leather club fenders in front of smoke-streaked mantelpieces. This is commonly called the undecorated look. Sometimes it is the result of happenstance; sometimes a subtle effort has been made …
“Sometimes a subtle effort” would be a good title for a study of this subject that speaks to both interior design and to clothes. Since Mr. Hampton has noted the touchstones of the interior design genre, let's look at the salient points of the ECHL pertaining to clothes.
- Aspirational gentility: the perceptive Ralph Lauren has, over these many years, firmly convinced us that our grandfathers all had mahogany-lined speedboats and polo ponies, even though they were in fact slaving away down some mine shaft or other. You can't beat the past as a commodity.
- Disdain for technology: why would anyone bother with a Blackberry, cellphone, headsets, ipod, Kindle, or laptop when a simple Montblanc and Moleskin diary will suffice, and not ruin the lines of the suit. Let solitude be a time for thought.
- Untidiness trumps symmetry and organization: consider Nancy Mitford's famous dictum: “All nice rooms are a bit shabby.” This applies to dress as well. Otherwise there's the suspicion of calculation.
- A preference for the mildly tatty over the new and shiny. Flaunting new labels, or any labels for that matter, gives the impression of insecurity.
- Comfort triumphs: never sacrifice a cozy, warm, homey feeling to fashionable trends. You don't have to.
- Eccentric within reason is charming: we preach individuality, but how refreshing to actually see it. Wear the orange cashmere tie and purple socks with the navy suit, or a plastic shopping bag for a briefcase.
- On the other hand, novelty is as unwelcome as excessive tidiness. Just because a person likes something is not a good enough reason to wear it. Denim dinner jackets and chinchilla bow ties are cute and whimsical. That's the problem.
- Be sentimental: style is about attitude. Wearing Granddad's old pocket watch from a chain through your buttonhole is a perfect touch, even if the face keeps falling out of it.
But don't take my word for it. Just ask Ralph.
Guest author G. Bruce Boyer has been a noted fashion writer and editor for more than thirty-five years. He is the author of two books on the history and direction of men's fashion: Elegance (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1985) and Eminently Suitable (W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 1990). He is also the author of two books on the history of fashion in the cinema: Rebel Style: Cinematic Heroes of the Fifties (Assouline Press, 2006), and Fred Astaire Style (Assouline Press, 2005), a co-author of a three-volume study of American menswear in the 1930s entitled Apparel Arts (Gruppo GFT, Milan, 1989), and a contributor and consultant to The Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion (Charles’ Scribners’ Sons, 2004).
Photo: Ben Baker
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Not to dwell on bow ties too much in one week but wool challis is a favorite Autumnal item, perhaps because it complements tweed and flannel so well. A soft, lightweight worsted, the stuff takes the dyes of the traditional gentleman's colors - navy, burgundy, dark green and gold -beautifully, and its matte finish is a fine complement to the sheen of a silk square. It is also difficult to find. I have in fact a thought to commission a bolt in a large paisley pattern suitable for waistcoats but that is for another time.
Single ended wool challis bow worn with a silk square (both are from the ASW store). Accompanied by a Turnbull & Asser shirt and a Shetland tweed jacket made by Peter Harvey.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
It may or may have been the smartest way to travel, but as I have written in the past my habit for more years than I care to remember was to carry one wheeled 29" suitcase and 70 lbs. (30 kilos) of content for each week of a trip. I usually spend a week in a single city, and those big cases have meant that the people I am with never see me twice in the same clothing.
2010 will be different, or so She Who Decides has said. I will be taking trains from London to Paris to the Pitti Uomo menswear show in Florence and back again in January, and I plan to lug only one 26" rolling trolley with perhaps just 50 lbs. (23 kilos) of life's necessities. So the call and the credit card have gone out to the estimable Ami of On the Fly for one of Mulholland Brothers' 26"Endurance bags in bridle tan and hazel (that is the leather version in the photo but alas, airline baggage handling is incompatible with checked leather).
So how will this new approach pan out? Well, instead of three pairs of dress shoes for the week, I plan to limit myself to two including the pair on my feet. And instead of four suits, I will make do with three. Those two changes by themselves will not get the weight all the way down but a reduction in electronic accessories should take care of the rest. After all, three sets of power plugs for all of the world's electrical systems was overkill even by the standard of one who has found himself with low batteries in some unique places.
There is some danger that the reduction will mean I feel under-dressed compared to the Italians at Pitti. Interested readers will of course be kept informed.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
From a few feet away, it looks run of the mill. For a brown three piece suit anyway. Perhaps a larger check than is commonly seen.
Upon closer examination, the cloth is definitely an unusually large check. And the single breasted jacket is worn over a shawl lapelled double breasted vest. That is country cloth with city detailing, a favorite of the Apparel Arts crowd in the 1930s.
Worn with dark oak Edward Green brogues, a DJA royal oxford shirt from MyTailor.com, and a printed silk square and navy with white dot bow tie by Cravate Royale.