It is difficult to imagine a men’s wardrobe without a jacket. But 100 –150 years ago this item of clothing was not so widespread. Frock was more popular than jacket in those days, though jacket is nowadays one of the most multi-purpose items in the men’s wardrobe. Women also like these comfortable and elegant clothes. What happened with jacket during the last century? Where did this item come from?
History of jacket
Predecessors of jacket were dress-coat, frock, morning dress and dinner-jacket. Frock and morning dress have not been used for a long time, and jacket, dress-coat and dinner-jacket are worn till our days. But jacket is used in casual life, when dress-coat and dinner-jacket are worn mostly by actors, ambassadors and politicians, usually on special occasions.
In Europe jacket got widespread from the 1860s. These clothes were much more comfortable than dress-coat or frock. At first, jacket was worn mostly by workers, descendants of peasants. But in the end of the 19th century jacket rose to higher level: it was used during hunting. Before track suit and formal suit appeared, men wore generally frocks. And frock differed from trousers in colour.
First suits were sewed specially for sport activities and hunting. This innovation came from Victorian England. The Duke of Norfolk, who adored hunting, looked for comfortable clothes. Comfortable tweed jacket was sewed specially for him. This jacket differed from the usual items because it had folds (for ease of movement), belt and big pockets, where cartridges and powder could be put. This item was called Norfolk jacket. It became one of the symbols of Victorian Era.
Norfolk jacket was worn by the English aristocrats and those, who could afford this suit. It was appropriate for shooting, hunting and outings. Thick tweed, which was used for making-up such jackets, did not let owner freeze by cold weather.
In the 20s of the last century English tweed jacket was a little bit changed. It became more multi-purpose, belt and folds disappeared from the cut. Most of all, this jacket was worn in combination with flannels. English tweed jacket gained widespread beyond Great Britain. Formal suits were worn in Europe and in the USA. Then they became popular in Eastern Europe.
English jacket in the modern world
Today formal suit is obligatory for management, bank and insurance areas. But the tweed jacket is worn everywhere and not depending on activities. This practical item of clothing became one of the most significant items of the fashion house Chanel. Mademoiselle Coco preferred to wear tweed jacket with a long rope of imitation pearls. She made English jacket a unisex thing.
A jacket of high-quality tweed is a sign of good taste. If you wish to look really blamelessly, English jacket is what you need.