Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Featured Garment: Odd Wool Suit, 1900

For this week's garment, it is an odd brown wool suit from around 1900, that was up for auction back in 2006.

It appears to be a long, sac cut coat (and trousers) in a brown wool flannel, with faint blue/brown plaid--rather a pretty fabric, I think.  The trousers are fairly typical, as near as I can tell.

All the auction house has to say about it is the following:
2-piece, the wool having faint blue & brown pattern, fitted jacket w/ silk braid trim, Ch 40", Jacket L 33", Slv L 24.5", Pant W 31", Inseam 31", excellent.

  • Price Realized: $ 2300.00
  • Category: Gents
  • Era: 1890-1920
  • Condition: Excellent

Looking at it, a number of things stand out--the four hip pockets, the blocky fit to the front, the sewn on cuffs with piping....the 1 buttoning 2 small double breast...

Let us start with the fit--from the front, there is not that much shaping; there is no front dart and the side panel angles across at the pocket.  That being said, the mannequin is clearly too small for the garment.  Shoulder pads appear to be fairly thin.

Note the lengths of the garments--24.5 inch long sleeves, center back 33 inches...and inseam of the pants 31.  This inseam corresponds with a man roughly 5 foot 7 inches tall (yes it varies, but I had a victim of approximately the correct chest and inseam to play with).  Unless the person had freakishly long arms, those cuffs come almost to the knuckles, and the hem is a few inches above the knee.  Even so, I think the buttons are a bit higher than the waist.
The sleeve are of a relaxed fit, and have only one button.

The back is also interesting, but slightly less puzzling.  It appears to be cut close to the back, and has side vents.  The front-sidebody seam seems to come down past the top pocket, but remaining under the flaps, then cuts across to the back-sidebody seam (admittedly, I could be seeing things).  There is an inverted box pleat at the center back skirts.  Another interesting feature is what appear to be triangular buttons set at the top of each vent and center pleat.  I admit that they could be bar tacks--I can't see the stitching, but neither can I see holes through the buttons (and bar tacks would make more sense).
 You can see the left pocket flap on the side of the image.

 As you can see...four--five counting the breast pocket--exterior pockets.  The flapped pockets are set fairly high, with a double row of fine piping to match the cuffs, as well as a fine red fabric (silk?) piping the edges.  The breast pocket and the collar fall have matching decoration. 
The welt pockets appear to be slightly curved, interestingly enough, and have the same triangular decoration on both ends as is seen on the back of the garment.

The buttons are domed, slightly patinaed brass.

I quite honestly still have no idea what this garment is--my first thought was that is could be a shooting coat, given the number of pockets and loose cut.  Thoughts?

Source: https://www.augusta-auction.com/component/auctions/?view=lot&id=8318&auction_file_id=10
All photos from the auction site.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material. Permission is granted to make and distribute verbatim copies of this document for non-commercial private research or educational purposes provided the copyright notice and this permission notice are preserved on all copies.  Photographs of my work may not be duplicated.

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