...If It Was Worn Like This... It Would Be The Military-Style Set - Khaki Green Coat, Breeches and a Jacket in Scarlet
In 18th century England, menswear suits for the first time began to sew from a single colored fabric. Matching set of costume consisted of a jacket, breeches and coat, usually made of the same color fabric. Occasionally only a coat and a jacket were made of the same fabric; sometimes the breeches and jacket were sewn of the same fabric.
However, a man could also wear dark breeches with a light jacket and / or coat. In the first half of the 18th century, it was a habit that usually characterized French men, while the English had their own tradition of creating a coherent set that would eventually conquer its place in the Western European fashion at the end of the same century. The roots of this tradition are to be found in the second half of the 17th century, in the days of King Charles II of England. It was for him that the costume needed to be matched for the first time. This laid the foundations for an "English style" from the 18th century, an early version of which is also featured in this example from Victoria and Albert Museum, dating back to the 1740's.
This costume once has been created with the idea for the wearer to use it as a single set. Color contrasts yet retain the features of French Rococo fashion style. Green woolen coat and breeches were made in military style - from khaki-green fabric, contrasting with the red jacket (in 18th century England such jacket was called 'waistcoat'). Twenty years later from this kind of jacket will develop the first real sleevless vest.
The trimming of coat, breeches and jacket is made of gilded silver thread. For this occasion, it is very characteristic that the coat does not have a collar and it can be used in informal and even solemn conditions. That's why these costumes were usually chosen to wear by military.
Despite the rather harsh military finish and masculine colors, the coat itself still reflects feminine features of the French Rococo. It has been made close-fitting, but with visible widening downwards. Widening further highlights the folds that are formed on the back of his coat. Sleeve cuffs have already become much narrower compared to the 30's of the 18th century. However, the sleeve-cuffs are decorated with two posamenterie braids of silver threads. It also gives it a military and solemn character.
Nine gold-plated silver thread stitch buttons are especially suited to the character of the military style For the military-style costume it was particularly appropriate to add nine gold silver thread possamenterie buttons. They are neither diamonds nor precious metal buttons, as in the costumes of the 17th century kings and nobles. However, these buttons are still remnants of the previous century jewelery masterpieces for which sometimes they were converted. In the military "English style suit", the buttonholes have been sewn with golden silver thread.
The breeches are relatively narrow, with a ribbon of stitches at the hem, as well as silk bouquets and five small buckle closures. The buttons, like those in the coat, have been made of golden silver thread stitches (possamenterie). Red woolen jacket (waistcoat) from the front view is longer than from the back, but it also is 23 centimetres shorter than the coat. Rounded neckline of the jacket has been decorated with a narrow ribbon of wool. Pockets with striking flaps were significant feature of the 18th century menswear and were therefore added to both the jacket and coat. The pockets are similar for every part of this set. And those are decorated in exactly the same way. Even pockets are supplemented with a small clasp of buttons. In addition, the jacket is even more luxuriously decorated. It has gold plated lace stitches ss well as the possamenterie mentioned above.
Typical "English-style Suit" And Its Accessories
It was necessary to wear a wig (with wig-tail or braid) with such a costume. The wig-tail was tied with black taffetta ribbon in the shape of butterfly. Ribbon was suited with another one which was also black and has been tied around the neck. In menswear sets black color has been repeated in many places and become an important element of costume composition.. The hat (tricorne) was black, also sparingly decorated shoes were black. Corner of the tricorne hat is usually arranged at the front to create militarily impression. White elements of the costume composition are: powder wig, a white shirt with lace jabo and lace cuffs, white silk stockings. Those are important additions for military style costume.
That was precisely the costume of the soldier in the first half of the 18th century. The features of the French Rococo were preserved, but also accompanied by practical and restrained details of the conservative costume. It provided the future evolution of the "English style" during the late 18th century. This shape of costume was suitable both - for French aristocracy and for German noblemen, and anywhere else in Europe where that fashion novelty, introduced by English men, were adopted.