Style: Though made in a coarse fabric (and without interlinings and other professional tailoring techniques), the coat was made by someone well aware of high style trends. The high waist, double-breasted front, dramatic “M-notch” lapel, deep cuffs, and turndown collar would all appeal the fashion-conscious man.
Fabric: This cotton and wool blend is an example of “homespun” fabric: the fiber was raised, processed, and woven in the United States in the effort to establish an American textile industry. Wearing homespun was a patriotic gesture, the coarseness of the fabric serving as a badge of honor.
Tailcoat, cotton warp and wool weft, about 1805, 1497, gift of Bessie Napier Proudfit.
View of the back
Journal des Dames et des Modes, unknown foreign edition, 1806, man’s figure reprinted from January 1805. This plate shows the freedom of movement allowed by the enlarged armscye of the coat. Courtesy of Louisa Rauth.