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Gentlemen's Costume

   
Red Uncut Velvet Sleeveless Waistcoat
English or American, 1740s
 

This waistcoat was originally part of a three-piece suit that was standard attire for men in the eighteenth century that also included a sleeved coat and breeches. By the mid-decades of the century, the waistcoat decreased in length to several inches shorter than the coat and developed an inverted V-shape at the center front hem. Although elaborately patterned and vividly colored waistcoats sometimes provided the focal point of a suit, especially for highly formal occasions, this example undoubtedly matched both the coat and breeches.

Adding to the inherent expense of the silk itself and red dyestuff was the time-consuming process of velvet weaving. In this piece the pile warps are uncut, creating fine loops that give a soft appearance and texture to the fabric.

$1,500
Inquiry/Order

  Red Uncut Velvet Sleeveless Waistcoat
Black Satin Chenille Embroidered Waistcoat
American, ca. 1840
   
  Black Satin Chenille Embroidered Waistcoat  

In the 1840s, in order to keep step with women’s dress, the fashionable waistline for men dropped and became V-shaped—this feature became known as a “Hussar point,” a reference to the uniforms of the Eastern European cavalrymen who played a prominent role in the Napoleonic Wars. Collars “en schal” had become popular in the 1830s, and continued to be fashionable throughout the next two decades.

Probably worn in the evening, this waistcoat is embroidered in a symmetrical pattern of small floral sprigs executed in silk and chenille thread, adding color and textural interest to an otherwise sober garment.

$950
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Man’s Robe (Chapan)
Central Asian, mid-20th c.

Loosely fitted and brightly colored, the robes of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Uzbekistan reflected the mastery that ikat weavers and dyers had achieved in a relatively short period of time. The T-shaped chapan (a generic term for this type of quilted robe) was meant to be worn with jewelry and a wide belt with metal plaques, adding to its visual impact.

This example was collected in 1972, and was probably made about ten years previously, though in its construction and silhouette it is nearly identical to examples made a century before. It is lined in a vibrant Russian printed cotton with a paisley pattern on a violet ground.

$575
Inquiry/Order

  Man’s robe (chapan)

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