As a follow-up to our recent post on hook vents, here are two new finds from frequent comment-leaver Carmelo Pugliatti. The first shows a hook vent from the 1890s, when men carried walking sticks and wore bowler hats. Note the lapped seams as well.
Below that is is a flash forward two-and-a-half decades later, to 1922, when the Ivy look begins to codify. This gentleman was photographed in Newport and already displays most of the characteristics of the look, including soft, attached buttondown collar. — CC
I love this detail on both sport and suit coats. They are just another great detail of the ivy look.
Lapped seams and hooked vents are elements of the German School of tailoring.
To quote from “The Elegant Man,”
The suits of the German school have always been designed for comfort and durability. The shoulder of the jacket is low and natural, with the seam running diagonally along the back of the shoulder rather than along its ridge.
Historical Ivy, love it.
@ Mitchell S.
That’s a very interesting catch, especially considering that the tailors manufacturing the Ivy look tended to be Yekke. I’m starting to suspect that the quest for an English origin of the hook vent in the prior article was misguided.
@Scott: Yes, I agree with you. The origin of the hook vent was most likely German.
In the late nineteenth century many wealthy Englishmen had their clothes custom made in Germany since ready-to-wear was not invented until later. Only children’s clothes were ready to wear as far back as the eighteenth century. Sweden, Austria, and Italy also made custom clothes for men in the 1890s, but the German tailoring industry was one of the largest.
I read on this website that one of the J. Press tailors was an Auchwitz survivor who made uniforms for Nazi SS officers that featured hooked vents.
@ Mitchell S
Jacobi Press was trained by a American-German tailor when he came in USA in 1890s.
In that age a popular American stereotype was the tailor that spoke with a strong German accent.
Said this,i think that in 1890s many wealthy Germans had their clothes custom made in London, not the opposite.
I suspect the origins are British…and extend way, way back to the mid 19th century. If not further back.
Joel, that’s a great article on hook vents you’ve linked.
Just for fun, here’s an example of the genius work of Maclean’s:
Oh, so now this is back to being a clothing only blog? Jesus, eating all that soy is giving you guys mood swings.
Well we know YOU don’t suffer from mood swings. You’re in one mood all the time, and it ain’t a happy one.
Look at it this way; a good portion of the tailors in NY and the Eastern sea-board in in the 19th through the majority of the 20th century were probably of Central or Eastern European/and or Jewish Ancestry from the same regions, that said they would have either followed after the German or Russian schools of tailoring, and to suit the Anglocentric American tastes, they would have added various American English (think archaic English tailoring styles which evolved on their own, separate from their proverbial English parents back in Britain), and adapted these to work within their tailoring styles to better suit the needs and tastes of their customers in America. You get a fairly homogenous confluence of styles which emerges fairly early on as the “American Style” embodied by Brooks Brothers, and embraced and elaborated upon by the other traditional Ivy League et al., tailoring establishments. Hooked Vents were a very traditional feature on uniform coats, and also on finer quality body coats such as tail coats, frock coats, and morning coats, and of course, on better quality sack coats, it was unseemly to have gaps in one’s clothing, after all. In short, its a hybrid but homogenous mix of various schools of tailoring, and the hooked vent was rather pan Central-Northern European, and really present everywhere in Military Frocks and Tunics and etc. Look at Edwardian/WWI uniforms and Victorian Uniforms, and formal wear for reference.
The hooked vent dates at least to the American Civil War. It was a common feature on military and civilian frock coats. But more to the point, it also was a common feature on commercially made officers’ sack coats, arguably the precursor to the modern sack suit. I personally have examined surviving Federal officers’ sack coats that had hooked vents identical to those on modern suits and sport coats. But I suspect the hooked vent goes much earlier than that, given its obvious utility in keeping seams from ripping while seated on a horse.