Doublet (1)


The Victoria and Albert Museum

The Victoria and Albert Museum

Doublets formed part of the fashionable ensemble of clothing worn by men in Europe until the late 1660s. The very short length of this example is characteristic of the extreme style of doublets at their final appearance in the male wardrobe. From 1650 to 1665, doublets shortened so that there was a gap between doublet and breeches through which the shirt could be seen. The centre back and front sleeves were left unstitched for further exposure of the shirt, which in the 17th century was considered underwear. More conservative members of society considered the result rather untidy looking. Such a radical fashion, usually worn by young men, attracted the attention of cartoonists and the condemnation of moralists.

The spectacular golden effect of the fabric of this example was created by weaving with silk and with threads wrapped with strips of silver gilt. This splendid material was probably imported from Italy, as there was little in the way of silk-weaving in Britain at this time. Adding to the luxurious effect is the lavish use of bobbin lace also made of silver-gilt thread.

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  • Title: Doublet (1)
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date Created: 1650/1665
  • Location: Great Britain
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 46.0 cm overall at back, approx., Circumference: 109.0 cm at chest, approx.
  • Provenance: Purchased with the assistance of The Art Fund, the Friends of the V&A, and a number of private donors
  • Medium: Silver-gilt silk tissue, trimmed with silver-gilt bobbin lace, lined with silk taffeta and reinforced with linen, hand-sewn with silk and linen thread

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