A rather knatty wavy-weave tie and sports jacketYesterday I posted a long interview with my grandfather about what he wore to work and out of work during his career at Barclays Bank. It revealed some interesting points about the dress of the working man – his socks matched his trousers, for example, so the black-sock phenomenon is a recent one, but they were always the short variety, so that was never as universal as some suggest.
I also found it revealing that he rarely owned more than a couple of suits and one lasted for decades, but they were made by local bespoke tailors. So to all those who say bespoke is expensive – yes it is, but not if you only buy a suit every few years. Problems with longevity can be largely solved by taking good care of the suit (don’t get drunk and fall over) and using heavier cloths.
Finally, I liked the evidence of increasing casualness in the wardrobe as the decades wore on. Cap toes gave way to half brogues. Waistcoats were dropped but trousers remained high. The bowler hat was dropped in the Seventies but, even back in 1938, no one expected a clerk in a suburban office to wear a hat, and a brown trilby was sufficient to work in central London.
In this post, I present more of a pictorial timeline, illustrating some of those points made in the previous post – starting with the shot at top of him in the garden, aged 16/17.
In knitwear, as a telegraphist on a minesweeping trawler
In midshipman’s uniform, with friend in army battle dress
Post-War, at the weekend. In a “home made” tie
On duty, though without waistcoat. Sombre, simple, serious pieces
At a bank meeting in three piece and regimental tie. His superior on his right. And facing, the head of the bank training centre in a much more adventurous patterned tie and glen check suit
My favourite photo. The tourist attraction. Still sombre and simple, though with waistcoat definitely gone
Though we can’t see what he is wearing, colleagues display that similarly simple colour palette and some surviving waistcoats
In typical black tie. Good fit, bow tied by hand, with cummerbund as was the norm
Post-retirement, greeting Asian colleagues. Lightweight suit with a wider cut to the trousers
At my wedding reception, with my cousin and his granddaughter, Ellie. A simple wedding combination with what, for him, was the instinctive ‘wedding tie’ – a nice little Spitalfields woven grey