French Riding Habit, April 1816

Journal des Dames et des Mode, Paris, April 15, 1816.


This habit is a very conservative style for 1816, when cuffs and shoulders had exploded with ornamentation. British prints of this period show riding habits that, while still tailored for function, show much more elaborate decoration of the jackets, as in the fabulous Glengary Habit.

The jacket here is tailored in a severe masculine style, double-breasted with a high collar. Like most habits, especially French ones, the sleeves are quite long, hanging below the knuckles. Here again, there is no ornamentation of the sleeve cuffs, as seen in British prints at this time. Habit skirts are always long in order to modestly cover the legs when riding side saddle.

The masculine style is further emphasized in the hat, a simple beaver top hat with no decoration at all.

We see a bit of French flair in the shirt collar and cravat. The collar has high points, in imitation of a dandy’s exaggerated collar, and is tied with a fetching cravat decorated with pink polka-dots.

This print was designed by Horace Vernet and engraved by Pierre Baquoy, both prominent French artists.


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