An Anglo-American Dictionary of Sartorial Terms
Posted 15 April 2009 - 09:17 PM
As a result of the American influence on various clothing fora, I have noticed a tendency for even British posters to use Americanism like "tux" . So for those of you wanting to stick to the Queen's English, here is a guide. The British English is on the left.
Ascot (cravat) = Ascot
Balmoral shoes/boots (galosh Oxfords) = balmoral shoes/boots with a balmoral seam
Bespoke = custom
Black lounge coat worn with striped trousers = stroller
Body coat = frock coat eg cutaway frock, Prince Albert frock
Bowler (Coke) hat = derby
Braces = suspenders
Coat/jacket = jacket
Co-respondent shoes = spectator shoes
Cravat (day cravat) = Ascot
Derbies = Bluchers
Dinner jacket = Tuxedo
Frock coat = Prince Albert coat/frock
Overcoat/coat = coat
Lounge coat/jacket = single (or double in modern usage) breasted jacket (traditional tailoring: sack coat/jacket)
Lounge coats/suits (as a category) = sack clothes (outdated) – opposite of dress clothes
Lounge suit = single breasted business suit (traditional tailoring: sack suit)
Morning coat = cutaway coat or frock (Prince Albert coat in Victorian and Edwardian America)
Morning dress = morning dress
Knickers = panties
Oxford shoes/boots = Balmoral shoes/boots
Pick-and-pick (weave) = sharkskin
Plus twos/fours = knickerbockers, knickers
Pointed/double breasted/reefer lapels (less commonly ‘peaked’) = Peaked lapels
Pullover/jersey = sweater
Reefer jacket (military/nautical overcoat) = pea coat
Reefer jacket (tailoring term, civilian coat) (modern use: double breasted lounge coat) = double breasted sack coat (tailoring term), also a double breasted blazer
Sac coat/overcoat = a loose fitting square cut sack coat without waist suppression
Semi-dress = semi-formal
Sock suspenders = garters
Step lapels = notched lapels
Slipover = sweater vest
Trousers = pants (short for pantaloons)
Turn ups = cuffs
Vest (singlet) = undershirt
Waistcoat (vest in tailoring parlance) = vest
Woof (weft) = weft
Posted 17 April 2009 - 02:46 AM
English 'knickers' are for ladies' smalls and the gents' version is either 'boxers' or 'Y fronts'.
Besides 'Plus twos' and 'Plus fours' there are 'knee breeches' or 'breeks'.
I don't think that 'Ascot' is much used in English for cravat - either the formal or the informal version is normally just 'cravat'.
'Slipover' I haven't heard at all and 'jumper' is, besides other terms, also used.
Some useful additions, though, Sator - such as American 'garters' for 'sock suspenders'.
I'll also look at my list deriving from the one that we did earlier.
Posted 17 April 2009 - 03:14 AM
Posted 17 April 2009 - 08:07 AM
Yes, I've read of that theory about the P-jacket. However, Devere (London 1866) also gives the term "pea jacket" as a synonym of "reefer jacket".
The term "paletot jacket" is unique to Devere, who divides coats into two types: body coats and paletots. He calls coats like Chesterfields, paletots and jackets without a body coat construction a "paletot jacket". You can tell by the way he says that "paletot jackets" are popular for "lounging" that he is refering to lounge type coats. This is the earliest extensive reference to lounges and reefers that I own.
Here is Devere's accompanying pattern:
BTW "reefer coat" is the traditional term for all double breasted jackets worn for lounging. All of the following coats are regarded to be reefers:
Properly speaking, a lounge coat is therefore always single breasted. It is only in American English that the single and double breasted jacket are considered to be variations of the same garment. Traditionally, the Americans talk about both single and double breasted "sack coats". I suspect that the modern tendency to talk about single and double breasted "lounge coats" is an American influence.
As for the term blazer, this is how Archibald Whife (a leading West End cutter) defines it in 1949:
So when we talk about cricket blazers in team colours, or to the single breasted jackets worn by schoolchildren as part of their school uniforms as "blazers", this is the correct British English usage of the term. The crew members of the H.M.S. Blazer wore a single breasted tunic with blue and white stripes - and it was this garment that Queen Victoria was impressed by. The use of the term "blazer" to denote a "reefer coat" is, I suspect, another Americanism.
As for "Ascot" to denote the formal daywear dress cravat, older British texts from the 1940-50s definitely use this term. Some Brits have showed up and pointed out to the Americans around that properly speaking Ascot refers only to the formal form of neckwear. I agree that the term Ascot is not really in fashion at the moment, and they are generally referred to as "cravats".
Posted 17 April 2009 - 09:21 AM
Posted 18 April 2009 - 12:34 PM
Posted 19 April 2009 - 06:28 PM
I must say, I too was unfamiliar with the expression slipover to denote a sleeveless jumper myself until quite recently. Here are some examples from UK websites of it in current usage:
And you can find plenty more if you look on UK Google.
Posted 19 April 2009 - 07:00 PM
Thanks for your contribution. I guess this raises as many questions as it solves - namely, what was the coat in question most commonly called during the period of the Napoleonic wars?
This summarises what NJS mentions about the use of the term P-coat:
Reefer Jackets were adopted from the British by the US Navy some 75 plus years ago and were at first called pilot coats, as in the pilot of a naval vessel, of course. In time, the name pilot coat was shortened down to P-Coat and then humorously lengthened again to Pea Coat. They were Traditionally made from 32 ounce wool, and trimmed with large, yet fashionable buttons.
Yet, the quoted text from Devere, 1866 discussing the "pea jacket" casts some doubt as to whether the term "pea coat" was so modern and merely humourous in intent.
I also looked up The Handbook of English Costume in the 19th Century by the Cunningtons. The earliest textual reference to a pilot coat or pea jacket comes from p130, where they write:
THE PILOT COAT OR PEA-JACKET
Though usually worn as an overcoat over another coat it be worn short as a body coat.
'Pea-jackets of pilot cloth or mohair, made D-B with wide lapels and velvet collar, the skirts close behind and banyan hips, this has been the raging fashion.' 1836. Gentleman's Magazine of Fashion.
Nowhere in their book is there a reference to the term "pea coat" - only pilot coat aka pea jacket. The index for "pea jacket" also refers the reader to "also see Reefer Jacket".
The American textbook A Dictionary of Costume and Fashion by Mary Brooks Picken, 1957 mentions only a "pea jacket":
Heavy, warm, woolen jacket, usually loose, short, and double breasted. Worn by sailors, fishermen, etc.
Posted 23 April 2009 - 01:06 PM
Posted 26 April 2009 - 11:44 AM
Posted 05 May 2009 - 06:16 PM
I am therefore going to say:
semi-dress = semi-formal
This only relates to evening dress. The idea of semi-formal daywear seems to be an American/European concept. Even when a lounge coat is smartened up with striped trousers, it was always considered informal daytime business dress.
Posted 20 August 2009 - 06:33 PM
According to The Fairchild Encyclopedia of Menswear 'pea' in peacoat is an English corruption of the Dutch word 'pij'*. A 'pij' is a piece of clothing made from a rough wool cloth. Unfortunately, the origin of the word 'pij' is unknown. Btw: a pea in Dutch is an 'erwt'.
*) The Dutch word for peacoat is 'pij-jekker'; 'jekker' is the same as English 'jacket'. Nobody uses the word pij-jekker, though. We also call it peacoat.
Posted 21 August 2009 - 01:31 PM
Posted 15 September 2009 - 04:35 PM
Posted 04 January 2012 - 03:53 AM
I've just added one more thing. A frock coat in American English is a generic term for a body coat. For example, a morning coat is called a cutaway frock. This means that what in British English is called a "frock coat" is called a Prince Albert coat/frock in American English. In the Edwardian era the British used to make fun of the Americans for being unable to tell the difference between a morning coat and a frock coat, as both were referred to as a "frock coat". By the 1920-30s American cutters start to call a morning coat a "cutaway frock" to distinguish between them.
Fascinating. I wonder how dated this American English usage is, however. Granted that the phrase "frock coat" is rarely used in the United States these days except as a historical term, the only place I've ever encountered the term "Prince Albert" for a coat is in a British English dictionary (as the translation into US English of "frock coat.") I don't believe I've ever encountered the term "cutaway frock," as opposed to "cutaway," which is generally used for morning coat. I am talking about current and recent general usage here. Perhaps these US terms are obsolete or only now jargon used technically in the trade?
Posted 04 January 2012 - 07:12 AM
Perhaps these US terms are obsolete or only now jargon used technically in the trade?
Agreed, the term "frock coat" is rarely used in the U.S. It would even be said by some to sound "gay." (My apologies both to gay people and to people who understand distinctions in styles of coats.)
I believe the average American man uses the following terms;
Suit jacket (top half of a business suit);
Sports jacket, which means anything that is not a suit jacket or a tuxedo.
During the coverage of the marriage of William and Kate, every American TV correspondent on the scene had to do his or her little bit about "morning coats."
Dignity. Always, dignity. (Singin' in the Rain)
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users