It may look pink but it’s actually red

Esquire, August 1935: “We mean, of course, the shirt, which is of very light-weight batiste, with a tab collar to match. Oh, you want us to continue the success story from the previous page? How do we get these fashions? We have observers, trained almost from birth, who practically commute to England where they haunt the very best places and ignore all but the very best people, slyly keeping statistics on their cuffs, and when something happens, like a red shirt, they tell us about it, briefly and archly by cable, and then we make it sound convincing.

Then there is laughter everywhere west of Pocatello. Then for a while nothing happens. Then, after the incident has had time to be forgotten, people in, say, Pocatello, buy new fashions and wonder why.

The tie is black foulard with white polka dots. The suit is grey flannel. The hat band is black. The shoes are plain black calf. There is no news at all – except the red shirt.”

This is such a wonderful example of the tone Esquire used to reach with its commentaries on current fashions. Few journalists today would have such confidence in colour combinations, unless they had been shoved at them off a catwalk. Not sure I’ll be wearing a red shirt, but it reminds me to get a batiste in blue.
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I know that this is not really a comment on your latest post and, therefore, this is not the right place for it, for which I apologise. However, I have a question and I do not know where else to raise it. I would be very grateful if you helped me with this. I have a number of suits (some of them made by Edward Tam) and jackets which do not fit very well because I have lost quite a bit of weight. I want to adjust them, but am very concerned that the tailor might damage them. I live in Bristol, and I really do not know how to go about it. Any tips you may have would be very VERY gratefully received.


You provide a very interesting quote here! I love reading about fashion in history, and times really have changed. Wedding announcements used to be paragraphs with details on what the bride wore — or what sort of necktie the groom wore, in detail. That’s not the focus anymore.


Re Esquire and current style writing: formerly, new ideas were showcased, with the thrust being “try it and see if it’s you, or not, we’re letting you know about it, though”; currently it seems the message is “wear this or you can’t get into the trendy places, and young women will point at you and laugh snidely”.

Anon. call around to various men’s stores and see if they’ll give you names of some reliable alterations tailors. If you went down more than one size, it gets tricky