Recently, I’ve taken to wearing my dad’s old suits. You know, the ones from the 1980s (this particular set was made in the fall of 1983, if the linings are to be believed). The padded shoulders, the close cut fit, the drab colours, all of it. These suits were made-to-measure, and meant to evoke the leisurewear of an English gentleman on a fox hunt, one who discusses Thatcherism or “the colonies.” Since I have no money, and we are in Victoria after all, I’ve decided to pull them out of the closet. Here’s what I found:
THE BROWNISH-GREY ONE
Specifications: Single breasted, two-button, double-vented wool jacket. Bird’s eye cloth with vertical burnt orange and green stripes. Notch lapels. Lining: unapologetically brown, with black upside-down umbrella-looking things on it.
The jacket’s a little tight around the waist, if I’m honest. The sleeves could be a smidge longer. The pants definitely don’t fit. What are they, like 27’s? Jesus. The smell? Closet-like. Wait, does that say Hardy Amies?
Wikipedia: Sir Edwin Hardy Amies . . . was an English fashion designer, founder of the Hardy Amies label and best known for his official title as dressmaker for Queen Elizabeth II . . .
Damn. Why am I not wearing this on my many, many dates (ahem) or at all those BAFTA red carpet events? Could you imagine me saying that when someone asks me what I’m wearing? I’d slay.
THE GREYISH-GREY ONE
Specifications: Single-breasted, two-button, double-vented wool jacket. Houndstooth pattern with vertical mustard and, uh, brown, stripes. Notch lapels. Lining: a rather dusty rose with grey upside-down umbrella-looking things on it.
This is another Hardy Amies example, this time in a lovely greyish-grey. A lovely alternative if the brownish-grey one doesn’t immediately convince my date that I doubled my sales quota at the Jaguar dealership this month.
THE TWEED ONE
Specifications: Single breasted, two button, double vented tweed jacket. Plain herringbone. Notch lapels. Lining: orangey-brown. Conspicuous lack of upside-down umbrella-looking things on it.
I cannot overemphasize how prominent the herringbone pattern is. It’s so large it could be painted on the side of a First World War battleship. The label, Country Squire, actually comes from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and not from a Scottish man’s shed, which surprised me. Upon perusing their website (yes, by God, they’re still around), I noticed that they only had three blazers for sale: a conservative navy option, a dark pink linen number, and a navy “tail lights” jacket with enormous white dragons on it. Sign me up for the latter.
An important note: to say that the waist on this jacket is suppressed is an understatement. The waist is tight. Very tight. Like, Jessica Rabbit tight. Make of that what you will.
While I wait for parachute pants and corduroy overalls to come roaring back, these ‘80s suits will do just fine. If you aren’t related to an extra on EastEnders, or don’t share a frightening resemblance to your father, fret not. Vintage shops all over town might carry the blazer that makes you slick back your hair, ease into your Jaguar XJS (in British Racing Green, natch), and drive off into the sunset with a ravishing date by your side. With threads like these, you’ve already made it.