Some suggestions on dress for the American man.
Watch for things that Eliot put into his poems.
Excerpts from Emily Post's "Etiquette" (1922)
Taken from http://www.bartleby.com/95/34.html
I've deleted lots.
Chapter XXXIV. The Clothes of a Gentleman
It would seem that some of our great clothing establishments, with an
eye to our polyglot ancestry, have attempted to incorporate some
feature of every European national costume into a 'harmonious' whole,
and have thus given us that abiding horror, the freak American suit,
And the worst of it is, few of our younger men know any better until
they go abroad and find their wardrobe a subject for jest and
If you would dress like a gentleman, you must do one of two
things; either study the subject of a gentleman's wardrobe until
you are competent to pick out good suits from freaks and direct
your misguided tailor, or, at least until your perceptions are
trained, go to an English one. ...
The ordinary run of English clothes may not be especially good,
but they are, on the other hand, never bad; whereas American
freak clothes are distortions like the reflections seen in the
convex and concave mirrors of the amusement parks. ...
However, let us suppose that you are either young, or at least
fairly young; that you have unquestioned social position, and
that you are going to get yourself an entire wardrobe. Let us
also suppose your money is not unlimited, so that it may also be
seen where you may not, or may if necessary, economize.
FORMAL EVENING CLOTHES
When you go out on the street, wear an English silk hat, not one
of the taper crowned variety popular in the 'movies.' And wear it
on your head, not on the back of your neck. ...
And lastly, wear patent leather pumps, shoes or ties, and plain
black silk socks, and leave your rubbers--if you must wear them,
in the coat room.
The trousers are identical with full dress ones except that
braid, if used at all, should be narrow. 'Cuffed' trousers are
not good form, nor should a dinner coat be double-breasted.
The smartest hat for town wear is an opera, ...
THE HOUSE SUIT
The house suit is an extravagance that may be avoided, and an
'old' Tuxedo suit worn instead.
A gentleman is always supposed to change his clothes for dinner,
whether he is going out or dining at home alone or with his
family, and for this latter occasion some inspired person evolved
the house, or lounge, suit, which is simply a dinner coat and
trousers cut somewhat looser than ordinary evening ones, made of
an all-silk or silk and wool fabric in some dark color, and lined
with either satin or silk. ...
FORMAL AFTERNOON DRESS
Shoes may be patent leather, although black calf-skin are at
present the fashion, either with or without spats. If with spats,
be sure that they fit close; nothing is worse than a wrinkled
spat or one that sticks out over the instep like the opened bill
of a duck!
THE BUSINESS SUIT
The business suit or three-piece sack is made or marred by its
cut alone. It is supposed to be an every-day inconspicuous
garment and should be. A few rules to follow are:
Don't get too light a blue, too bright a green, or anything
suggesting a horse blanket. At the present moment trousers are
made with a cuff; sleeves are not. ...
In your jewelry let diamonds be conspicuous by their absence.
Nothing is more vulgar than a display of 'ice' on a man's shirt
front, or on his fingers.
IN THE COUNTRY
Most men in the country wear knickerbockers with golf stockings,
with a sack or a belted or a semi-belted coat, and in any variety
of homespuns or tweeds or rough worsted materials. Or they wear
long trousered flannels. ...
... Do not wear a yachting cap ashore unless you are living on board
If some semi-formal occasion comes up, such as a country tea,
the time-worn conservative blue coat with white flannel trousers
is perennially good.
The well-dressed man is always a paradox. He must look as though
he gave his clothes no thought and as though literally they grew
on him like a dog's fur, and yet he must be perfectly groomed. ...
The well-dressed man never wears the same suit or the same pair
of shoes two days running. He may have only two suits, but he
wears them alternately; if he has four suits he should wear each
every fourth day. The longer time they have 'to recover' their
shape, the better.
WHAT TO WEAR ON VARIOUS OCCASIONS
To wear odd tweed coats and flannel trousers in town is not only
inappropriate, but bad taste.