Thread Theory

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The ‘Truth’ Revealed about the Vintage Dior Suit

Thread Theory Dior Suit (5 of 15)

Now that Matt’s parents are back from their vacation, I’ve had a chance to ask for details about the vintage Dior suit that I shared on the blog two weeks ago.  It turns out there are two variations to the tale, you can decide which version you think has the ring of truth to it and which may just be made colorful by the passing of time and the flexibility of the memory!

Matt’s dad told me that he went into a little consignment shop in Vancouver in the early 1980s around the time when he and Sue purchased their first home.  They are currently a very stylish couple with an eye for unique clothing and I imagine Rick’s sense of style was at it’s peak while living in the big city!  Upon entering the consignment shop he found a huge load of fresh clothing that had been delivered that very morning.  The fresh pile was in the process of being sorted onto racks by the shopkeeper who told Rick that it was the entire contents of a judge’s wardrobe.  The wardrobe consisted of many beautifully tailored suits hailing from the long decades of this man’s distinguished career.

Thread Theory Dior Suit (7 of 15)

This is where the story breaks into alternate realities…just think of it as one of those “choose your own adventure” stories!

Reality 1: The retired judge had recently been discovered as having cheated on his wife of many decades.  She was a private and proud woman who chose to express her anger by getting rid of her husband’s most prized possessions – his designer suits.  Rather than throwing these suits out onto the lawn in that classic and very public gesture of disgust, she carefully drove down to the local consignment shop early the next morning and discreetly donated the wardrobe so that it might be enjoyed by future generations of suit enthusiasts.

Reality 2: The retired judge had enjoyed many happy years of golfing, dining and going to the opera with his wife after he ended his successful career.  He passed away peacefully at home and his wife promptly and tidily sorted through his will and arranged his funeral.  He had requested that his wife donate his designer suits rather than gift them to family because all of his sons were either larger than his narrow frame or did not have occasion in their lives to wear such formal attire.  He hoped that by donating the suits to a consignment shop, the suits might be picked up by someone who would care for them correctly and appreciate them for many decades to come.

Thread Theory Dior Suit (12 of 15)

As you can see, the story does not help us date the Dior suit very precisely (other than informing us that it was certainly created prior to 1983) but my father-in-law’s best guess is that it was likely from the 1960s or early 1970s just as the comment by ciclismodesign suggested in response to my previous blog post.

I also posted a photo of the suit on Instagram where sewklahoma_savvy commented:

I would say early 70s because this is when Hart, Schaffner joined with Dior to make tailored suits. I guess without the central heating we have today, men needed warmer suits. Beautiful!

Thread Theory Dior Suit (10 of 15)

Thanks for your thoughts on this vintage piece!  I hope that Matt will find occasion to wear it this winter.  And thanks, Rick, for gifting the suit to Matt, for finding such a great piece, for saving it for decades, and for telling us the suit’s story!


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The Story of A Vintage Dior Suit

Thread Theory Dior Suit (1 of 15) Ever since I posted about David Coffin’s Shirtmaking Workbook and the beautiful (and inspiring!) photos of RTW garments within it, I’ve been thinking about photographing the garments I have on hand to analyze.  I’m hoping you can help me examine this vintage piece – it’s a Dior suit which was handed down to us by Matt’s Dad.  He is on vacation right now otherwise I would ask him for a more detailed story about its origins.  Maybe that can be a follow up post in a couple of weeks after we’ve had a chance to make up our own story for the suit!

As you can see, the suit is cut from a beautiful thick navy wool with a subtle white pinstripe…

Thread Theory Dior Suit (4 of 15)

It is a far thicker wool than I see in many modern suits which makes it very striking but also not that easy to wear.  It would really only work if you knew you were going to be in a pretty cold environment all day – I pity any man who ever tried to wear it to a winter wedding because as soon as he walked into the heated dining room he probably greatly regretted his decision!

Thread Theory Dior Suit (6 of 15)

The lining is clearly labelled with the Dior logo and is a lovely rich burgundy.  It looks to me to be silk.

Thread Theory Dior Suit (7 of 15)

The pants are lined with a thicker material that I would probably use for something heavy duty such as a Goldstream Peacoat.  There is no chance of getting a nice cooling breeze through the legs while wearing these!

Thread Theory Dior Suit (14 of 15)

On one front panel a Dior label is stitched to the inner welt pocket.

Thread Theory Dior Suit (11 of 15)

On the other front panel, a label is sewn to the welt pocket that states, “Tailored by Hart Schaffner & Marx,” with an embroidered bugle player, and below, “Raleighs.”

Thread Theory Dior Suit (10 of 15)

The suit has been tailored to fit someone very close to Matt’s size which is quite the thrill!  Despite the garment likely being at least a few decades old, Matt feels really slick and timeless while wearing it.  The pants are conservatively slim and straight (they aren’t ’70s bell bottoms and they aren’t ’60s super slim fit).

Thread Theory Dior Suit (9 of 15)

The vest has quite a few buttons which maybe makes it look slightly dated.  Matt looks excellent in it though – he’s a vest kind of guy (maybe I’ll show you a picture of him all dressed up next time I post about this!).

Thread Theory Dior Suit (8 of 15)

The crowning glory is the suit jacket though – it is such a conservative and timeless style that I don’t think anyone would guess that Matt is wearing a vintage piece.  The arms sadly fit a bit short for Matt but this is a common occurrence with any suit jacket for him.

Thread Theory Dior Suit (2 of 15)

Thread Theory Dior Suit (5 of 15)

I love the beautifully sewn details such as the felt undercollar…

Thread Theory Dior Suit (12 of 15)

Thread Theory Dior Suit (13 of 15)

…and the beautifully finished pant waistband and fly…

Thread Theory Dior Suit (15 of 15)

So…can you guess this suit’s story?  How old do you think it is?