Thursday, May 3, 2018

1830's Riding Habit Waistcoat (?)

From the seller:

Victorian Women's French Toile Blue Print Linen Double Breasted Waistcoat Vest

1860-1960 One hundred years of fashion & accessories

This antique Victorian era women's French toile blue print linen double breasted waistcoat vest dates from the late 19th century. It is made of an off white, blue French Toile de Jouy floral botanical print linen fabric, with a grayish blue trim edging. There is an off white cotton linen fabric backing and inside lining. This wonderful women's waistcoat vest has a late 18th century gentlemens French waistcoat style which is longer in the front with peplum skirted panels, faux pockets, a fitted waist, fold over collar and is double breasted with matching fabric covered buttons for closure on the front. The vest measures 25 inches long in the front, 15 inches long in the back, with a 36 inch bust and 24 inch waist. It is in good as-is condition, with a few faint small stains, some fraying along the blue trim edging and a small frayed hole on the bottom front panel (see close-ups). This is truly a rare and unique piece of womens wearable antique Victoriana!

From Me:
UGH! Ignoring the "wearable" part for now - this isn't even Victorian. Oh yes, at first blush, it looks like it could be 1870's but look at the way the shoulders are cut. Look at how high the waistline is in the back. Also check out the close up of the fraying - the twill is handstitched on!

Then there is the fabric itself...that's what the big clue was. Yes, fabric is often reused but look:

1825 Fabric from the Winterthur Museum

1830s print from the Spencer Museum of Art via Barbara Brackman's Blog

1825-1830 via Utah Quilt Appraiser

Okay, so the fabric is from the 1820s/1830s but we see fabric reused all the time. Going back to the cut, I looked up riding habits of the time and was not disappointed.

The above 1830's Riding habit hints at the waistcoat underneath but I wanted to see if there was one that showed a similar waistcoat.
1836/7 fashion plate from the V&A

Although the back of the blue riding habit has the same lines as the back of the waistcoat, there aren't any easily visible waistcoats on the ladies. However, all the men do have the double breasted style very similar to this extant one.

There aren't any fashion plates from the 1830's that show a riding habit with a waistcoat (the funny thing is that you see them in both the 1820's and the 1840's) but the cut, particularly at the shoulders, is so very 1830's, that the latest I'd put this is about 1842.


  1. Very cool! I like the look of the front patterning, and love the big flowered buttons. :-)

  2. It's fabulous! I love the colours and the print. It reminds me a bit of upholstery fabric, but also like old patterned teacups. I'd happily wear a man shaped version of this!

  3. Very cool! I like the look of the front patterning, and love the big flowered buttons. :-)

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