Walking Suit thumbnail 1
Walking Suit thumbnail 2
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Not currently on display at the V&A

Walking Suit

1892-1897 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

During the 1880s and 90s jackets and coats based on masculine styles became a popular feature in the woman's wardrobe. Frock coats, Ulsters, Chesterfields, Newmarket and Eton jackets appeared on the pages of fashion magazines, metamorphosised into close-fitting and narrow-waisted ladies' garments. The glimpse of a crisp white shirt collar and cravat underneath added the finishing touch to this manly look. This style was so admired that one tailoring manual reported: 'A lady despises, so far as tailor-made garments are concerned, any name or designation which borders on the feminine. The more like men's garments in appearance, they are made, the more manlike the names we give their garments, the better they like it.'

The jacket in this image was known as the double-breasted Reefer and was based on the loose-fitting man's garment of the same name. It was very popular for spring wear when women cast off their heavy overcoats in preference for warm jackets. Distinguishing features included wide lapels with double or even triple-stitched edges, up to six large buttons (three on each side) and flapped pockets on the hips. Discreet feminine flourishes were permitted such as the leaf-shaped revers, glossy braid snaking down the foreparts and the full sleeves pinched into darts at the top.


Object details
Categories
Object type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Jacket
  • Skirt
  • Jacket
  • Jacket
Materials and techniques
Wool box cloth, trimmed with applied silk braid, edged with silk, lined with cotton, boned, pearl
Brief description
Woman's walking suit consisting of three alternative jacket bodices and skirt made of wool, made in Great Britain, 1892-1897
Physical description
Woman's walking suit consisting of three alternative jacket bodices and skirt made of wool.
Credit line
Given by Mrs Pickthorn
Summary
During the 1880s and 90s jackets and coats based on masculine styles became a popular feature in the woman's wardrobe. Frock coats, Ulsters, Chesterfields, Newmarket and Eton jackets appeared on the pages of fashion magazines, metamorphosised into close-fitting and narrow-waisted ladies' garments. The glimpse of a crisp white shirt collar and cravat underneath added the finishing touch to this manly look. This style was so admired that one tailoring manual reported: 'A lady despises, so far as tailor-made garments are concerned, any name or designation which borders on the feminine. The more like men's garments in appearance, they are made, the more manlike the names we give their garments, the better they like it.'



The jacket in this image was known as the double-breasted Reefer and was based on the loose-fitting man's garment of the same name. It was very popular for spring wear when women cast off their heavy overcoats in preference for warm jackets. Distinguishing features included wide lapels with double or even triple-stitched edges, up to six large buttons (three on each side) and flapped pockets on the hips. Discreet feminine flourishes were permitted such as the leaf-shaped revers, glossy braid snaking down the foreparts and the full sleeves pinched into darts at the top.
Collection
Accession number
T.70 to C-1954

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Record createdDecember 29, 2005
Record URL
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