Wednesday, August 08, 2012

How do you know it's vintage?

Chicago "House of Duro" Mens Custom Tailored Suit from 1974

When it comes to vintage clothing, we are often asked "How do you know it's vintage?"

That question isn't so easily answered since so much of the time it comes down to years of experience and the resulting accumulation of knowledge. The feel of a particular fabric, the cut of a suit, construction details, manufacturers labels and tags, fashion research - yes, all of these things may yield some clues. Yet there is nothing as glaringly obvious as an article of vintage clothing that is dated - and that is something that sings joyfully to even the most seasoned vintage clothing mavens.

We have found this to be true of some mens vintage suits. Especially the suits that were specifically constructed to measure for a man by a custom tailor. They often had a place on their tags for a name and a date, and we've occasionally come across a cotton pocket inside the suit pants which was stamp dated. It pays to thoroughly search vintage clothing items for clues because you might get lucky!

The suit in the photo above was constructed at the famed Chicago "House of Duro" - operated by Carmen Duro which catered to Chicago's elite. Mr Duro tailored clothing for Liberace, Mohammad Ali, Paul Harvey and more. He never sketched his designs, his ideas were translated directly to patterns, graded sizes and into finished garments. Now that's true fashion artistry.

Tailor Carmen Duro's concern, according to an article written on June 23rd, 1975 in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune was, "not one of fashions but, of lifestyles" he was "concerned that young people were not interested in trades - particularly his trade."

We hear that. There is nothing like the art of an experienced tailor and a mans custom made suit. We'd love to see more tailors setting up shop in the United States. A throwback to the domestic garment industry and the good old days.


The grand daughter of the late Carmen Duro has a website that promotes vintage clothing sites as well as indie and mod clothes. Check it out here!

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