Male Fashion of the 18th Century


Part Six

Sir Christopher Sykes by George Romney, 1786

This picture shows the curved front edge of the coat very nicely. Since the coat cannot be closed from the waist down, the buttons and buttonholes that had long been there for decoration only have finally gone. Gone, too, is all embroidery and passementerie on both coat and waistcoat. This is the "new simplicity" that originated in England and had, by this time, swept all across Europe.

The shoulders are wider, affecting one long slope down from the top of the collar. The sleeve is tighter around the forearm and cuffs even smaller than before. The pocket flaps are also much less prominent. There is a high standing collar. The justaucorps flaps open across the belly and reveals that the gilet isn't much longer than to just under the belly.

For undress, double-breasted waistoats now appear. Like so many fashion traits now coming from England, they are associated with casualness.

The wig appears to have a pigtail in back. Shoe heels are worn lower now, the height you would expect in a modern men's shoe.


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