Boating suit, designer unknown

Boating suit, designer unknown

Boating suit (jacket, waistcoat, trousers)
Designer unknown
1890s
Great Britain
Cream wool with blue pinstripe, hand- and machine-sewn
Museum no. T.113 to B-1934
Given by Dr C. W. Cunnington

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

Striped jackets were originally worn for cricket, tennis and rowing and became fashionable for seaside wear during the 1880s. 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, Manners for Men, by Mrs Humphry ('Madge of Truth'), published in 1897, writes that:

'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.'