Tastefully Different

Golf fans out there are no doubt tuned into The Masters, where weather conditions for the first two days made the iconic tournament quite a challenge for the players.

Those more inclined to sartorial matters and looking for an eloquent Saturday afternoon read should head over to the website of Nick Hilton, son of the late clothier Norman — whose advertisement above features the delightful phrase “tastefully different” —  and a clothier himself in Princeton.

As mentioned before, Nick is a fantastic writer and he has just put up a piece about the origins of the family and its entry into the clothing business. It’s a fascinating read for all those interested in the long and storied history of Jewish tailoring and apparel manufacturing in America. — CC

23 Comments on "Tastefully Different"

  1. I read somewhere that year round weight suits are fine these days because of A/C and whatnot but I thought that Worsted was typical/year round weight fabric.

  2. MacMcConnell | April 8, 2017 at 4:42 pm |

    Yes and no, depends on if you are old school or dress for comfort. Also depends on were you live and the weight of the fabric, you’ve got worsted and tropical weight worsted. If your starting out building a wardrobe stick to worsted and save your money for a Harris tweed and flannels later.

  3. Worsted is the way to go. Plain weaves in a variety of weights. If you live below the Mason-Dixon, a 10 oz. panama will work in January, when the office temperatures rise. Buy a hefty topcoat for the walk from the car to the office (and back).

    Let’s say that ad ran in 1962. Adjusted for inflation, today that off-the-rack suit would cost around $1,350.

    Quality trad wasn’t cheap. Ever.

  4. Carmelo Pugliatti | April 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm |

    Wonderful suit! Undarted but with a great shape.

  5. Mac, by “old school” do you mean wearing season appropriate fabrics, like seersucker in the Summer and flannel in the Winter? Didn’t realize that there were different weights of Worsted fabric, interesting.

    S.E. good point, RL sells suits for around the same cost now but the quality is no where near Hilton’s.

  6. GS
    Yes, pretty much in line with what SE says. I wear seersucker, poplin and worsted in the warmer months, although I haven’t owned a seersucker suit since the 1970s. Flannels in the cold months. I’ve got some heavy flannel RL suits I seldom wear because I don’t live downtown and walk ten blocks to work any more, ditto on my trenchcoat. Now I park my car fifty feet from my suburban office door. I do miss living downtown.

  7. Giacomo Bruno | April 8, 2017 at 10:35 pm |

    Could someone please decipher the name of the retailer that placed the Norman Hilton ad?
    “Muse’s” is the best I can do, but that name doesn’t ring a bell.

  8. I see so worsted in various weights and flannel, like the grey flannel suit, in the winter. I enjoy dressing for the season, I feel that people don’t really do that too much anymore. Especially with colors. I wouldn’t wear my green Barbour in the spring but some people do.

  9. Muse’s was a clothing store in Atlanta. It folded in the 1990s.

  10. I second the endorsement of Nick Hilton’s reminiscences that appear on his store’s website. Aside from the stories that are specifically about his family’s business, it also demystifies the behind-the-scenes workings of the clothing industry.

  11. In the late 1960’s, I recall pants and suits made of tropical wool. Extremely lightweight material, they were almost see through. A/C was not widespread in those days, most cars didn’t have it, even an option on a Cadillac.

    Just for fun, I recently ordered a pair of seersucker pants from Blair, oi vey. (Old guys do crazy things to recapture their youth.) The pants are extremely reminiscent of those very light summer pants of the past. All cotton, so light, I doubt I’ll make a week wearing without tearing.

    $165 for a suit back then was quite a bit of money. I recall a pair of decent quality grey tropical wool trousers, I bought in 1970, cost all of $10, with alterations. Wore them to death, even after my stint with the US Army, I had the waist taken in for $4, and wore for a couple years longer.

    Enjoy the Masters!

  12. This photograph reminds me of the Fitz and Van images for Pontiac during this era.

    I’ve written on this forum before -Hilton was the first suit I bought and still the best. Their attention to detail – material; soft-shoulder; shanked buttons – was superb. That is when Nordstrom’s Seattle Flagship store carried multiple great suit lines – Hilton; Hickey; H. Freeman.

    And look at the quality of the golf equipment – leather bags, leather and wool knit head covers; blade putters; wood handle umbrellas. The gentleman’s umbrella almost looks like the Arnold Palmer logo umbrella.

    This was an era when players dressed well on the course and fans (sorry ‘Patrons’ this weekend!) also dressed well to attend a special event like a professional tournament. Not sloppy like most do these days to everything from flying to weddings and funerals. When individuals dressed for an occasion or just to be respectful.

  13. The person in the ad would be the best dressed person in the room today.

  14. French cuffs, point (and pinned) collar. Not a repp stripe to be found. Like most Norman Hilton ads, the target audience is a middle-aged professional. Plenty of padding and structure to that shoulder.

  15. S.E., Hilton didn’t make natural shouldered jackets?

  16. Michael Brady | April 9, 2017 at 7:20 pm |

    S.E., I believe means that relative to some other makes, Hilton’s shoulder was not the softest. The overall make was superior to anything else in the natural shoulder genre, and the piece goods were exquisite.

  17. No love lost between the Hiltons and Crit Rawlings apparently…

  18. Natural shoulder has less to do with the padding or structure than is does the shape of the shoulder and sleevehead.

  19. I see thank you for clarifying, it does look like a very fine suit.

  20. Boston Bean | April 10, 2017 at 12:38 am |

    I still wear tropical weight wool trousers in the late spring and summer. Are we expected to wear winter-weight flannels?

  21. Pete Greene | April 10, 2017 at 12:44 am |

    Certainly tasteful, but what was different about that suit at that time?

  22. Charlottesville | April 10, 2017 at 10:01 am |

    Beautiful suit and pinned collar. I like tropical-weight worsted suits for this time of year as well. The lightest ones I have are of wool and mohair, and as mentioned above, the fabric is nearly see-through when held to the light, but still looks substantial when worn and resists wrinkling. Today I am wearing a very lightweight worsted from Brooks, circa 1985 or thereabouts. Perfect for spring. In another month or so, the seersuckers and poplins will come out of hiding.

  23. EVAN EVERHART | August 31, 2018 at 10:22 am |

    Note: “British Worsted”, not “Italian/Loro Piana” that is continually being shoved down or collective throats now.

    That Italian stuff is just so darned flimsy and insubstantial! It neither drapes, nor hangs well (drape being the flow of the fabric in 3 dimensions over the wearer’s body), and wrinkles wretchedly.

    Why has the world bought into the myth of quality Italian construction? It sincerely boggles the mind. My American and British made (see milled fabrics and honestly vintage construction) garments are of infinitely superior quality (in materials – craftsmanship is another matter) to anything that I’ve come across from Italy, with one notable exception, my father’s old Dupioni silk sack. That was very nice material. I’ve even noticed that the new Italian milled reps at Brooks don’t have the same robust hand that they used to have, though they also excessively line them now, at least in comparison to my Grandfather’s and Father’s ties.

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