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Chesterfield Overcoat


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#1 NuMor

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 03:00 AM

Hello Members of the Tailor and Cutter,

With regard to the overcoat in the picture attached; how can the back be? Aesthetically speaking, I mean. Plain, one opening only; or can variations be made without misrepresenting(?) the model? Thank you for your input.

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#2 Dirk

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Posted 11 December 2011 - 10:04 PM

Though you couldn't call me an 'authority' on this, I believe that because the chesterfield is normally (if not exclusively) intended for formal wear, I would say that generally the back must be plain and with one opening. The man in the picture has his hat on, white gloves, boutonniere and a cane, so he is dressed for a formal occasion you can tell. Of course, back then that could be considered everyday clothing.

Edited by Dirk, 11 December 2011 - 10:08 PM.


#3 Cormac

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 07:04 AM

Hello Members of the Tailor and Cutter,

With regard to the overcoat in the picture attached; how can the back be? Aesthetically speaking, I mean. Plain, one opening only; or can variations be made without misrepresenting(?) the model? Thank you for your input.


The Chesterfield's I've seen generally have a single seam down the back, ending in a center vent, but I would (A) consult your tailor, (b) not feel over bound by convention. Having said that, the unadorned front of the coat (even the buttons are hidden) suggest to me that a very simple back would be most harmonious. But that is just personal preference.


Though you couldn't call me an 'authority' on this, I believe that because the chesterfield is normally (if not exclusively) intended for formal wear, I would say that generally the back must be plain and with one opening. The man in the picture has his hat on, white gloves, boutonniere and a cane, so he is dressed for a formal occasion you can tell. Of course, back then that could be considered everyday clothing.


I am not an authority either, but I have never heard of the Chesterfield being considered formal wear or even particularly dressy. You may well be right, but I have seen many photos and illustrations from a number of eras in which it was worn over lounge suits. The not terribly reliable Wikipedia describes it as having "arose with the lounge suit." Here in NYC it has been not uncommonly seen as an everyday overcoat throughout my life - though that may just be a local phenomenon.

It is fascinating to hear that it is/was considered formal. Do you have any details about when, where, etc.? I am deeply interested in the evolution of formal wear and would be grateful for any information you have.




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