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Three-Piece Suit (habit à la française)


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 899

This habit à la française belonged to Benjamin Franklin; it may be the plum-colored silk suit he bought in Paris in 1779, the year he was made American minister to France. The simplicity of dress he became known for was deceiving; tailor bills record luxury suits of vicuña wool, silk, and taffeta. It was the lack of embroidery and the absence of a wig that made Franklin stand out at the court.

Three-Piece Suit (habit à la française), Ribbed silk and linen (reproduction shirt, shoes, and stockings), French

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National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, photo by Hugh Talman