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Suit

Date:
1830–40
Culture:
American
Medium:
wool, synthetic
Dimensions:
Length at CB: 38 in. (96.5 cm)
Credit Line:
Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of the estate of Sarah B. Russell, 1956
Accession Number:
2009.300.218a, b
  • Description

    The dress coat, as this style of jacket was originally called in the late 18th century, was worn for day and formal evening occasions, with the exception of court which had its own prescribed dress code. Near the end of the 18th century and the first few decades of the 19th century this style of jacket was paired with contrasting colored knee breeches or trousers and a contrasting vest. By the 1820s, a matching suit, such as this one, was more common. The styles of the 1830s were prescribed by fashionable dandies, such as Alfred Guillaume Gabriel, Count D'Orsay (1801-1852), a French emigrant who had relocated to England in 1829, and influenced artists and writers in wit and dress. The prescribed silhouette was composed of a full chest, often enhanced by padding or multiple vests, and a slim waist, which was frequently achieved through a men's corset, and slim trouser-clad legs. The coat was expected to fit snugly which led to the jacket and tails being cut separately to prevent a crease from forming at the waist. This particularly well tailored ensemble exhibits all the integral qualities of men's wear of the period, even down to the wide lapels which were disseminated by D'Orsay. This style of coat was relegated solely to formal evening wear by the middle of the century and continued in the form of the tail jacket well into the 20th century.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Marking: Written in ink on watch pocket (b): "Mr. Russell"

  • See also
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
156987

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