French Gentleman’s Day Wear, November 1803

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, November 22, 1803.

“Triple Gilet. Redingotte couleur Vigogne.”

This is one of the only times I’ve seen this magazine complain about details of a print. In fact, there is generally no description of the print at all, only a commentary of the latest fashions in the main text. This design was drawn and painted by the famous Parisian artist Carle Vernet and engraved by Pierre Baquoy, both frequently represented in this magazine with excellent designs. This time, however, the editor complained that the engraver had not made the hat’s brim round enough, and the three waistcoats were not distinct enough!

This whole ensemble is the epitome of layered clothing. Let’s take a look at all these layers.

The outer-most garment is named a Redingote, a French alteration of the English “riding coat.” It is shorter than a typical greatcoat. In the current French style, the sleeves hang well over the hands.

Beneath the redingote is a green tailcoat, double-breasted. Beneath that should be the three waistcoats (“Triple Gilet”), but the editor is right: we can really only see two of them. The top one is yellow to match the breeches. Under that one is a red-and-white striped waistcoat, set off by the red fob hanging from the waist. What would the third have looked like? Beneath the last waistcoat is a white shirt with a ruffled front and very high collar set off by an artistically tied neckcloth.

The breeches are yellow, and I would guess they are leather. They button at the knee, with no buckles. The black leather top boots have a deep turned-down top. You can see the boot loops on the side for pulling them on.

The top hat (its brim apparently not round enough!) looks to be made of beaver. Altogether, a very dashing ensemble.

Related Regency World Articles: