Suit, designer unknown

Suit, designer unknown

Double-breasted suit
Designer unknown
About 1904
Great Britain
Flannel woven with a thin vertical pin-stripe, with mother-of-pearl buttons, and sleeves lined with cotton
Museum no. T.159&A-1969
Given by Mrs Brooks

Light-coloured suits such as this became popular in the 1890s. The matching coat, trousers and waistcoat in pin-striped flannel (known as 'dittos') were accepted dress for summer sports and holidays. The outfit was often completed with a straw boater.

The striped jacket had originally been worn for cricket, tennis and rowing and it became fashionable for seaside wear during the 1880s. The cut of this jacket is derived from the earlier 'reefer' coat, usually worn for sailing. The infiltration of sporting dress into informal styles of clothing shows how social conventions were relaxing in the late 19th century.

Conventions in dress applied to informal as well as more formal wear. It was important to be dressed appropriately for the occasion. One gentlemen's etiquette book wrote:

There are special suits for all kinds of outdoor amusements, such as shooting, golfing, tennis, boating, driving, riding, bicycling, fishing, hunting, &c., but into the details of these it is unnecessary to enter. It may be remarked, however, that it is easy to stultify the whole effect of these, however perfectly they may be 'built' by the tailor, by the addition of a single incongruous article of attire; such as a silk hat or patent boots with a shooting-suit. (Mrs Humphry, Manners for Men, London 1897)