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Original Issue


Race-track plaids, a machine-washable suit and a new range of fall fabrics make this a banner year for synthetics

The race-track plaid suit and sport jackets hard by the rail at Tropical Park (below) are this spring's leading fashion contenders in the off-and-running wash-and-wear sweepstakes. The fabric in each is a blend of Dacron and cotton, proved over the past several summers to be the best blend (preferably 65% Dacron to 35% cotton) for very lightweight, wash-and-wearable summer clothing. The added starter here is the bold patterning, on top of the boom in plaids. Note particularly the hacking cut to the jacket in the center—extra high vent, slanting pockets and slightly nipped waist, drawn right from horsedom.

And there's another and even more revolutionary development in the wash-and-wear field. Next month a suit will be brought out by Haspel (the Exemplar, $59.50) that can be put into an automatic washer, then tumble-dried in an automatic dryer at temperatures of about 150°, and come out like new without the mess of drip-drying. The suit is tailored of a blend of Dacron, viscose and mohair, and its inner workings, to withstand the tumbling, are more substantial than those ever before put into a summer suit. This means that a man can wear a suit 40 minutes after it first goes into the washing machine. More significantly, it means that by the fall of 1957, and much more so by 1958, wash-and-machine-dryable clothing (a raincoat, kids' fall-weight flannel slacks, men's fall suits) will be on the market. And, an added plus to the process, suits tailored to withstand the tumbling can be placed in the dryer and come out with creases in but wrinkles out in less than half an hour.

As the fabric swatches on the facing page show, there are many other notable developments already here or just around the corner in the synthesized fabric field. Watch also for fall-weight washable flannel slacks this fall, blended of Acrilan and rayon; knitted sport jackets, suits and topcoats; unlimited developments in style and in performance for clothing made from synthetics and blends.

Race-track plaids have invaded the wash-and-wear field. Here, at Miami's Tropical Park, Jack Culpepper (left) wears a suit of 65% Dacron, 35% cotton ($45, Famous-Sternberg). Jim Pasco's jacket of Dacron and cotton is cut like a hacking jacket ($32.50, Gordon). Tom Humphrey wears a plaid blazer of Dacron and cotton ($37.50, Palm Beach). The coconut straw hats are from Dobbs.

Loden-type fabric made of Orlon, nylon and wool is an experimental version of a fleece which, by the fall of 1958, will be available in warm, lightweight sport coats and topcoats.

Lumberjack plaid is another experiment—a blend of 75% Orlon with wool, as bulky as but lighter in weight than comparable all-wool fabrics. It's also washable and moth-resistant.

Tweed jacketing combines Orlon and wool, 50-50, to make a sport coat fabric which has the soft touch and subtle coloring of imported Shetland, though it is much lighter in weight.

Madras plaid is actually 65% Dacron, 35% cotton, available this spring in wash-and-wear sport shirts. There is no longer any limit to colors and patterns available in this blend.

Alpaca-type knit is experiment in knitted 100% Orlon. It will be available by fall in V- and crew-neck sweaters almost indistinguishable from much more expensive imports.

Worsted-type herringbone of 65% Dacron, 35% rayon, still in the experimental stage, will most probably be found in the first fall-weight wash-and-wear suit, to be available this fall.

Linen, a longtime, easy-wrinkling hot-weather favorite, is now blended with 65% wrinkle-resistant Dacron and is available this spring in suits, slacks, walking shorts and sport coats.

Fake fur, almost like beaver, is actually a knitted fleece blended of 75% Orlon and 25% Dynel, available in stadium coats now and perfect for suburban coat linings, "fur" collars.

White flannel is a blend of 70% Arnel, 30% rayon to make a highly practical, washable white fabric. Now available in tennis shorts, and coming, by resort-time 1958, in slacks.

Glen plaid wash-and-wear seersucker (see suit on facing page) is of 65% Dacron, 35% cotton. It shows dramatically how far summer-weight blends have come from plain poplins and cords.