What is a Frock Coat: an outdated type of clothing or a fashion trend?

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What is a Frock Coat: an outdated type of clothing or a fashion trend?
What is a Frock Coat: an outdated type of clothing or a fashion trend?

The frock coat was originally a men's double-breasted outerwear with long floors, a turn-down collar and wide lapels. It is a short, usually fitted, double-breasted coat. A kind of frock coat is a redingot - men's or women's clothing with long floors. The frock coat appeared in England in the 1720s as a riding suit. At first, the redingots differed little from the usual frock coat, but later they became longer. In 19th-century Russia, a frock coat was common urban clothing (see the photo of such a frock coat below).

Gentleman in a frock coat

Origin of the word

The name comes from the French word surtout - "above everything".

To the question "what is a frock coat?" Ozhegov's explanatory dictionary answers the following:

A frock coat is a type of long double-breasted jacket, usually around the waist.

In addition, the academic dictionary gives such a definition of a frock coat, and we clearly understand what it is:

Surtuk (obsolete frock coat) - long, like a coat, double-breasted jacket, usually fitted.

What is a frock coat, we figured it out. The following is an example of the use of this word - it can be seen in the book by S. T. Aksakov "The stories of my acquaintance with Gogol":

A frock coat like a coat, replaced the tailcoat, which Gogol wore only in extreme extremes. The very figure of Gogol in a frock coat has become prettier.

History of the coat

The frock coat appeared in the 18th century in England, and in the territory of modern Russia - in the middle of the 19th century. The name comes from fr. surtout - "on top of everything". In French itself it is known as paletot or redingote, in English it is known as frock coat. Unlike the tailcoat, which was a weekend, official outfit, the frock coat was the everyday wear of the upper and middle strata of the population. It also served as a uniform for officials of civil departments, and in some countries was considered an element of military uniform.

During the 19th century, the length of the frock coat, as well as the location of the waist, changed. In addition, the shape of the sleeves was constantly improved - with and without puffs. The sleeves were even tapered or had bells. At the beginning of the XX century. the frock coat was supplanted by the business card and jacket. Now this piece of clothing is worn as an element of a full dress or just fans of the classic style.

Victorian frock coat

What the frock coat is made of

Frock coats were usually heavy pieces of clothing, which gave them more solidity and elegance. The composition of the materials used in the tailoring of frock coats is diverse: from budget synthetics to expensive ones, including wool.alpacas. There are three main materials used in tailoring:

  • Mixes: the most common fabrics, made in different proportions of wool and polyester. As a rule - 60% and 40% respectively.
  • Pure wool.
  • Special fabrics: very rare due to their high cost. As part of these, you can find alpaca and vicuña wool, as well as natural silk.

Modern usage

Despite the fact that in 1936, by order of King Edward VIII, the compulsory official attire was abolished in the British royal court, the frock coat - the embodiment of all modern civilian clothes at that time - did not disappear completely.

Some modern weddings are not complete without the groom wearing a frock coat - civilian or military option. A prime example is the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in 2018. He and his brother, Prince William, opted for military-style frock coats. Photos from this event are presented below.

Prince Harry in a military coat

Tailor and renovator Tommy Nutter could often be greeted wearing a frock coat. An example of the entry of this thing into fashion at the beginning of the 21st century can be seen in the autumn editions of Prada magazine in 2012, in which these types of outerwear were largely presented. In addition, frock coats in various colors other than black have survived to this day in the uniform of the staff of some hotels. This type of clothing has also been preserved in the women's wardrobe.

Military version of the frock coat

First military coatswere issued at the end of the Napoleonic Wars for the French line of infantry and Prussian troops. In order not to soil an expensive tailcoat on a military campaign, the French began to wear a loose single-breasted jacket with a bright collar and cuffs. See the photo of the French army frock coat below.

Frock coat of the French army of the 19th century

Also, in order to save money, the Germans, who became bankrupt during the war years, could not afford a complex and expensive form. Therefore, their army chose a cap and a blue jacket for themselves, again with a bright collar and cuffs. By the 1840s, frock coats entered the American, Prussian, Russian and French armies. During the Mexican War, US officers were first issued navy blue dresses with gold epaulettes and German army caps. The United States Marine Corps received a double-breasted frock coat with scarlet piping and a scarlet shako. This was done to emphasize the status of an elite unit.

Sunset of the frock coat era

Tentatively in the 1880s, during the era of King Edward, a new riding coat called "Newmarket" began to come into fashion. Gradually, a new type of clothing began to be called a business card, which began to displace the frock coat as everyday and weekend clothing. The business card gradually became more and more popular as an everyday comfortable city wear, a good alternative to a frock coat. However, they were used on a par - that a business card, that a frock coat. This situation has developed due to the conservatism of some and the desire for innovation of others.

The business card has become especially popular among fashion andyoung, and the frock coat was increasingly worn by adult and conservative gentlemen. The business card gradually pushed aside the frock coat, which was used only in business and formal situations. In the end, only state and diplomatic employees began to wear it.

Victorian frock coat

Modern costume was once used only as clothing for the intelligentsia to relax in the country or the coast, but in the middle of the XIX century, its popularity began to grow rapidly. It has taken on the role of a more informal alternative to the business card for everyday wear. The more fashionable the business card became, the more uncomfortable it became, and the more acceptable the suit became as an informal alternative.

For serious events during the signing of the Treaty of Versailles in 1919, heads of government wore frock coats, but for more informal meetings they wore business cards or even modern suits. In 1926, King George V of England hastened the abandonment of the frock coat when he surprised the public by showing up at the opening of the Chelsea Flower Show wearing a business card. The frock coat barely "survived" in the 1930s as a form of court staff until it was finally officially abolished in 1936. Since then, it has been used very rarely, although it has not completely disappeared.

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