Object in focus: man's wedding suit

York Castle Museum

Explore why this magnificent eighteenth-century is one of York Castle Museum's star objects 

Men's Wedding Suit
This exhibition focuses on a magnificent eighteenth-century man's suit, worn for a wedding, revealing details that tell a story about the fashions of the day and the men who wore them.

Colours and materials

In the mid eighteenth century pastel colours were very fashionable for the aristocracy. Easy to get dirty and difficult to clean, they needed a lot of attention from servants. Men and women alike wore pale shades to show their wealth and status.

The suit is made of silk and linen.

The original lace still hangs at the cuffs.

Craftsmanship

A suit like this represents thousands of hours of work, from spinning the threads to weaving the cloth, to the embroidery and lace.

Measurements

The waist is 89cm (35 inches) and the chest is 94.5cm (37 ¼ inches).

Details

Large pocket flaps were very popular, but there were not always pockets underneath.

S-shape

Men’s clothing uses stiff reinforcement in waistcoats and jackets to give a fashionable body shape. Although they look less restrictive than women’s clothes, men’s suits encouraged similar stiff, formal poses and graceful movement.

Movements

The coat is lined with pink silk, which would have showed as the wearer walked.

Styling

Jackets were worn open at the front to show expensive embroidered waistcoats.

Curve-shape

Sleeves are cut with a curve to allow the arm to bend without needing the sleeve to be too wide.

Breeches

Breeches were buttoned just below the knee, showing off knitted silk stockings.

Breech liners and shirts

Under their breeches, men wore breech liners, the linen forerunners of men’s underpants. Breech liners and shirts were changed daily and washed, while outerwear was spot cleaned and aired.

Coat tail

Coat tails were divided at the back for horse riding.

Credits: Story

Men's Wedding Suit
York Castle Museum

Object from York Castle Museums Costume & Textile Collection

Collections photography
Robert Wake, M Faye Prior, Martin Fell

Text
M Faye Prior, Alison Bodley

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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