Monday, November 07, 2016

Pants: I don't need Gene Kelly to be happy...

I remember when I was a kid that on almost any day you could view an old black & white movie. Sometimes it would be a musical starring Gene Kelly (Brigadoon, An American in Paris, etc.) or a dramatic classic like The Strange Love of Martha Ivers or The Lady Eve with Barbara Stanwyck. There was somewhere in these films that I could disappear into...a world where men wore suits the majority of the time and women coordinated their shoes with their bags and hats.

Dancing and Singing In The Rain!
Today, give me a man wearing a crew-cut or high v-neck sweater with a white t-shirt and flat front or pleated tapered pants with a deep break at the wingtips (which he will also wear) and I'll be in love.

If he can dance, all the better.

When I was in college, I wanted those pants for myself and slapped inspiration pics in my fashion scrapbook:

Images I saved from an old Tweeds catalog. Remember Tweeds?

Nowadays, pants such as these can still be found at this cool company, Old Town of Norfolk in the UK. Their design philosophy is described as "simplicity and restraint with minimal styling" however, I feel these have more style than many pants produced today.

and Denes No. 5s for women!

Unfortunately, their pants are not cheap, as they are made to order from your true measurements in 4 to 6 weeks. In fact, you visit their adorable showroom, try on the styles to get an idea of the fit, and then select your fabric and color by use of fabric swatches, and then wait. No fast fashion here! You are paying for the well-done work and in addition, there is shipping if you live outside of the UK.

Another popular British-based company,  Merchant & Mills, seemed to have taken notice of this older established company. They are now selling the type of textiles and notions that Old Town might use in their completed makes. Though they are also producing sewing patterns that look to follow this industrial utility aesthetic, at the moment their designs are more minimalist in design details.

I hope that either they or another company will start producing patterns with more industrial age details like brace buttons (for suspenders), buttoning cross pockets, waist adjustment toggles, and button flies that make up the Old Town designs.  It will then be up to us, the makers, to construct them out of durable and hardworking fabrics such as heavy cotton drill, canvas, moleskin, corduroy, and 12 oz. denim.
Well...I can hope!
Jaywick Smock Dress
 Oh, but back to Old Town, they also have great dresses!

Images: Source unknown; my personal photo; the Old Town website.

1 comment:

Gail said...

I DO remember Tweeds! When I was a teacher in the '90s, much of my professional wardrobe was purchased from Tweeds. I was sad when they disappeared.