30s dilemma.

Next month I am due to attend a 30th birthday party on a boat which will cruise gently down the Thames. I am quite excited, as this sounds very glitzy and a lot of fun to boot. However, in keeping with the birthday, the theme of the party is: the thirties. I don’t know anything about 1930s menswear fashion, and so I have resorted to my friend Google to give me some tips. I found a helpful blog by Adriana Sassoon which gave me some background to the period:

“The decade of the 1930s saw dramatic changes in men’s fashion.  It began with the great Wall Street Crash of October 24, 1929.  By 1931, eight million people were out of work in the United States.  Less or no work meant little or no money to spend on clothing.” I can certainly relate to the feeling of not having much money to spend on clothes – for this party, I would rather work with pieces I already have in my wardrobe… but unfortunately, I only have a standard black suit and assortment of shirts. Meanwhile, Adriana Sassoon points me towards a striped suit, possibly with “generous-cut trousers” and a jacket with “long, broad lapels” to create a wide silhouette… not only do I not have this, but I don’t really want it either! It sounds a bit dowdy, and the pictures I have found on Google Images are not particularly inspiring:

The last one, where the guy looks vaguely like a gangster, is fairly cool, but I don’t have a suit with stripes like that – and I’m certainly not shelling out for one! The hat and umbrella is ok; but I am not sure that it would give the right look without the striped suit to match. So I am now considering Toby’s suggestion of not limiting myself to the 1930s, but rather focusing on a look that encapsulates the “generic past” (i.e. early 20th century). At first, I got excited because I thought that I might be able to wear a polo neck jumper under a jacket, but Toby correctly reminded me that this is more sixties than would perhaps be appropriate or remotely in-keeping with the theme. So part of me is tempted just to jack it all in and wear a suit and black tie (Wikipedia informs me that a cummerbund would be fitting for the 1930s, which vaguely appeals to me); part of me thinks I should just wear the black polo neck jumper underneath my suit jacket because I will feel more comfortable in that, and it will still look smart; but part of me still wants to try something different. I have a nice black tie with tiny pink diagonal stripes on it, which would look nice – but it’s designed to go with a fuschia pink shirt, which again perhaps misses the sombre mood evoked by 1930s fashion, and isn’t really black tie either. Fuck!

As Worn In Athens has some nice modern versions of the suit – I wonder if any of these would be smart enough? I kinda feel that they are perhaps a little contemporary for the event – which is a real shame, as I’d much prefer to wear any of these:

Toby has suggested just wearing a black suit, black shirt and black tie, which appeals to me because the outfit being 100% black is at once understated and eye-catching, because most people are tempted to break up the black with some white or colour. I like the strong, uniform look of it. I feel that it would also be a little bit more formal than the above contemporary outfits (which I think might be too relaxed for the occasion). Perhaps I should just embrace my glamorous side and fly in the face of austerity! What do you think?


About alan

singer / songwriter / fashionista / aspiring novelist

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