French Gentleman’s Evening Dress, March 1806

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, March 5, 1806.

“Habit de Drap. Gilet de Piqué. Culotte de Casimir.”

Though this ensemble is clearly evening wear, it might more properly fall into the half-dress category. It is not as fancy as some full dress evening wear for gentlemen at this time.

The coat is of gray wool, double breasted, with full shoulders, a high notched collar, and sleeves that reach the knuckles. Though it is tightly fitted, it is not as tight as coats shown in British prints of the same year, as here and here. This style of coat is based on a British style, but the French tailoring is much more flattering!

Beneath the coat is worn a white quilted waistcoat, front-ruffled shirt with high collar, and a simply tied neckcloth.

The white knee breeches are named “Culotte de Casimir” in the print description. Perhaps this references cashmere, though this is not the usual spelling. The breeches are tied at the knee, with no buckles.

The stockings are white, probably a silk blend. [Interesting note: men often wore two pairs of white stockings to better hide their leg hair.] The black pumps have simple buckles. The gloves appear to be yellow or light tan, most likely made of kid.  The hat being carried is a bicorn, possibly a chapeau bras, so called because it was tucked under the arm with evening wear, but never worn.



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