well-cut, shabby suit

Sample Interpretation (“well-cut, shabby suit”)

When faced with the line from “May Day,” “The inquirer was dressed in a well-cut, shabby suit,” our team explored the numerous meanings of this sentence while trying to select one from many possible images of suits from the New York Public Library (www.nypl.org) for augmentation. One team member thought these contradictory images depicted suits that would have be considered out-of-fashion in 1919. Another team member thought that the passage required an image not of a trendy suit, but perhaps of a classic suit that had seen a lot of wear over the years. And a third proposed that the image should depict a suit that would be relatively new for 1919, but due to wearer’s lack of resources, had been worn frequently and therefore appeared “shabby.”

As a group, we decided to that the image should reflect a trendy suit for 1919, but one that would have seen considerable wear.