it is impossible here to include a discussion of all types of men’s clothing, uniforms, football gear, and outfits for hunting in Alaska. Our concern here will be with clothes for town business, casual or semi sport, active sport, and formal and informal day and evening.
The intelligent man knows the demands of his profession and dresses -accordingly. The urban banker, lawyer, doctor, and others who honour the tradition of their calling, prefer dark or middle-value sombre colours with conservative styling, discreet patterning’s, and colours in their ties. They prefer white or pale-coloured shirts, brown or black shoes, the Homburg or snap-brim hat, a middle-value or dark coat, solid colour gloves and muffler, and conservative jewellery. Where the winters are long and snow is deep, the country doctor or professional man may wear his hunting boots and warmest clothing. However, in the South, where visitors wear shorts and tee shirts, seldom does a professional man adopt such an informal garb for his professional calls, even though the weather is intolerably hot. In the southern part of the British, as in New Orleans, the men are accustomed to wearing light-coloured washable suits. Gradually, lighter weight suits are coming to be worn in northern cities, but the acceptance is slow.
Ordinarily young college men are in a class by themselves; but following World War II, when many married veterans attended college under the G. I. Bill of Rights, clothing preference changed from the lax, informal casual type to dressier clothing more suitable for town and business wear. For instance, the boys at Yale were demanding navy blue suits and Chesterfield coats. In some cities married veterans set a low standard of dress, wearing remnants of their uniforms with oddly assorted jackets.
Men are very conscious of the changing fashions for women, and to the observing person it is obvious that when women wear elegant satin and velvet gowns for the theater, men appear more frequently in dinner jackets and tail coats. As flattering feminine clothes replaced the short masculine suits worn by women during World War II to conserve fabric, men were quite conscious that the sport suit was more appropriate than slacks, shorts, and tee shirts.
Town business suits are made either single- or double-breasted with the single-breasted models having either peaked or notched lapels. Worsted or worsted-type fabrics are preferred. Double-breasted suits are made only in peaked-lapel models. The button placement varies: one-, two-, or three-button closing for the single-breasted model. The double-breasted model made with either six or four buttons is said to be either a two-button or a one-button model, depending upon the number of buttons that are fastened.
The weight of the fabric varies from 9 to 15 ounces, with the preference for lighter weights. In 1950 many nylon blends were available in fabric as light as 7 ounces. Rayon and cotton mixtures were also made in lighter constructions. Town suiting’s include unfinished worsteds, serge, sharkskin, chalk stripes, tick and Birdseye weaves, twills, herringbones, gabardines, plain and fancy weaves, and subdued patterns of various yarn mixtures in such patterns as the shepherd’s check, stripes, and Glenurquharts Although in many suiting’s worsted and woollen yarn are combined in the same fabric, usually suits in this category are suitable for occasional town wear or casual wear. Generally the patterns are brighter and the colouring is too vivid for urban business wear. These fabrics include tweeds, cheviots, Shetlands, contrasting herringbones, flannel, covert, cotton cord, and spun rayon novelties.
Detail for a business suit includes an invisible or self-colour edge, regulation collar and self-colour buttons, a one-piece or seamless back, and sleeves carrying a placket and no cuff. Once patch pockets identified the sport jacket. However, patch pockets are today considered an appropriate detail for lightweight business suits when two patch pockets are used on the body of the coat. The jacket with four patch pockets is not preferred for business wear. Some custom tailors make fanciful shawl collars for theatrical persons or band leaders. Such garments have no true significance.
Trousers are made with a normal or high-rise waistband, that is, they are designed and made to be worn at the normal waistline or above. Trousers should be selected and fitted to be worn either with a belt or suspenders. Tailors prefer their customers to wear suspenders, as the trousers give a much better appearance. Cowboys prefer riding pants that come below the normal waistline. Slacks frequently carry one or two pleats and are roomy at the knee. The trousers of a business suit fit more trimly than do slacks.
Vests have been decreasing in popularity since before World War II. Government rulings during the war forbade the making of the vest to sell with the double-breasted suit. Some retailers price the two-piece suit about five dollars below the price of the three-piece suit with vest, and consequently the vest seems to be disappearing. When the vest is made with the single-breasted suit, it is the same colour and fabric as the suit and is generally single breasted. When a model closes low, as the one-button peak-lapel, considerable expanse of shirt is exposed. Some men feel much better dressed with the vest. Contrasting colours of vests are seen in solid colour twill, either single or double breasted. The tattersall plaid is appropriate with sports jackets. The wearing of a solid colour rib-knit V-necked sleeveless vest or sweater with sleeves is considered appropriate for the man who needs additional warmth with his business suit.