Sunday, 26 July 2015

Life in Squares: Bloomsbury Group menswear style inspiration

The new BBC series Life in Squares, starting Monday 27th July, takes another look at the already microscopically examined lives of the Bloomsbury Set including Duncan Grant, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Clive and Vanessa Bell, Maynard Keynes and others. With it artistic characters, gay and straight sex and bucolic Sussex landscapes, this is a topic bound to grip its audience. 

The cast of Life in Squares, BBC. Their clothes have a modern workwear feel to them.

I was struck by the mens's costumes. With a crumpled,  comfortable workwear/corduroy/vintage feel, such clothes have strongly influenced current menswear styles. Relaxed tweed suits, cotton twill, waistcoats, stout boots, luxuriant beards, occasional nudity and hats sums up the style which was clearly an artistic reaction to the starched stiffness of Victorian and Edwardian England.

So, you want to recreate Bloomsbury style? Here are a few ideas:

For suppliers see below

Suppliers from top left clockwise:

SEH Kelly strip herringbone linen jacket
Albam Montmartre blazer
Private White VC cord workwear jacket
Joseph Cheaney & Co Barnes II walnut and burgundy elastic boots
Universal Works suit pant, navy Lancashire twill
Triplstitched sky candy stripe buttondown shirt
James Norton as Duncan Grant in the BBC series Life in Squares
Cravat Club Axel cravat

Also try:

Thomas Farthing (for tweeds)
Sir Plus Clothing (waistcoats)
Drake's for silk Paisley ties and classic knitwear
Pantherella (for British-made socks)

And of course you can scour your local charity/thrift and vintage clothing shops for that genuine early twentieth century style.


Dauvit Alexander said...

Excellent post. Charleston House in Sussex is well worth a visit if you've not been.

Anonymous said...

What should be remembered about the above clothing is that in the 1920s there was no 'central heating.' Although there were fires in most rooms including bedrooms, often, in a large house, it was necessary to 'sit up to the fire.' Therefore men wore coats - suit jackets, tweed jackets etc inside except on the warmest of days when the warm air would enter lower rooms when French windows were thrown open.
I live in an early Victorian stone cottage with three floors and very thick walls. On warm days, it's often warmer outside as the walls keep the cooler air in. Only yesterday someone noticed a lady he knew slightly in a supermarket car park. He mentioned that he recalled her hiring a National Trust property for 20 guests at a 21st birthday party/family gathering. When the entered the (big) house, all we're struck by how cold it was. Of course they had all come from modern bungalows, houses and flats with central heating and were dressed accordingly. Oh dear.

I'm in Derbyshire and take Derbyshire Life and Countryside. Towards the back there's a piece by Sir Richard Fitzherbert entitled 'A Baronet's diary. In one edition Sir Richard mentions the number of Chimneys Tissington Hall has. He says the family always wears " lots of pullovers".
I bet they do!

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