Men's Silk Brocade Waistcoat from the Mid Nineteenth Century
Just imported from France an early men's waistcoat from the mid 19th century. Cream colored silk brocade waistcoat with two hip pockets trimmed with piping. Six thread covered buttons. Lightly padded on upper chest. Lower front reinforced with leather back tie and buckle closures with original brass buckle. Back in off white cotton duck.
With dress options limited for men, one of the few options a gentleman had to display color was his waistcoat. However, even that was strictly prescribed - The Gentlemen's Book of Etiquette and Manual of Politeness from 1873 indicated that it was suitable to wear a white waistcoat to a ball, or in the city while visiting, but by 1875, Routledge's Manual of Etiquette informed readers that "white waistcoats are no longer in fashion." One further note of wisdom was added, too. "If any friend should say to you 'what a handsome waistcoat you have on!', you may depend that a less handsome waistcoat would be in better taste." Simplicity and restraint were prized above all.
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