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The Chestfield Overcoat


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#1 Sator

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 11:03 AM

The Chesterfield became a staple in the well dressed man's wardrobe in the late 19th century, and has remained there ever since. Over the years in it has become accetable to wear one with formal and informal/business dress. It long ago established itself as a garment that can be worn with a lounge suit, morning dress or evening dress quite correctly:



The velvet collar and single brested fly front are classical features, although double breasted coats are also sometimes called Chesterfields. The typical colours are black, navy and charcoal grey.

Here Anthony Eden wears a Chesterfield. The pointed lapels are a nice touch:



Here is something from J.P. Thornton as published in the West-End Gazette on cutting Chesterfields:





There is no front dart, so the style is somewhat easier in fit, but one can easily add one if a more waisted look is desired.

#2 Sator

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 11:49 AM

And here is something from die Zuschneidekunst. The pattern is for a more waisted ('tailliert') single or double breasted style Chesterfield (in German it is called ein Paletot, but in English that names denotes something else) with a front dart ('Taillenausnäher'):





#3 Nishijin

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Posted 22 April 2009 - 07:10 PM

Here is a pattern of the "pardessus", from Bentayou. It seems to be similar to the Chesterfield.



The joined explanations are :

Du pardessus :
Le pardessus est le complément du vêtement de tout homme qui se met convenablement; aussi doit-on apporter à le couper le plus grand soin.
Les personnes fashionables le portent en ville comme un ornement de toilette élégante, c'est-à-dire ouvert et pour faire valoir la redingote ou la jaquette de dessous. Les gens économes, au contraire, mettent un vieil habit qu'ils finissent d'user et boutonnent du haut en bas; toujours est-il qu'il doit aller bien dans tous les cas.


Of the pardessus :
The pardessus is the complement of the wardrobe of every man who dresses suitably; therefore one must cut it with the greatest care.
Fashionable men wear it in town as an stylish ornament of cloth, which means open and enhancing the frock coat or morning dress under it. Thrifty people, on the contrary, wear out an old coat to its end and button up the front; still it must fit well in every case.

Pardessus droit :
La mesure pour le pardessus se prend de la même manière que pour la jaquette et le veston, mais on prendra la longueur totale à la rotule des genoux et la mesure de poitrine sur la redingote, jaquette ou veston.


SB "Pardessus" :
The measures for the pardessus are taken the same way as the morning coat and the lounge coat, but one will measure the length to the knee cap and the bust over the frock coat, morning coat or lounge coat.
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#4 Chris Kavanaugh

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Posted 24 April 2009 - 04:47 AM

When is a Chesterfield no longer a Chesterfield? I can easilly recognise greatcoats, Ulsters trachten coats etc.

Some would hold material, ie tweed or this detail or that demands exclusion?

#5 Despos

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Posted 25 April 2009 - 03:53 AM

Velvet collar and fly front, on a SB, are standard features of the Chesterfield but I see SB's with notch lapels and sometimes peak lapels. Are they both proper or is there any evidence that a notch or peak lapel is more historically accurate or authentic on a SB Chesterfield? I am making a SB Chesterfield and am undecided about which lapel style to go with.

#6 Sator

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Posted 26 April 2009 - 10:34 PM

I have only just found time to sit down and research the subject of lapel styles on Chesterfield. I cannot find a single pattern or description of single breasted Chesterfields with double breasted lapels. All patterns with DB lapels are on DB coats. I have looked through a number of Tailor and Cutter Academy patterns from the early 20th century as well Whife - and anything else I could dig up.

I have uncovered some other unusual facts about the Chesterfield however. These include the fact that a sleeveless and caped variant existed in the 19th century. Victorian examples also often had silk facings, braiding or a seamless back (sac Chesterfield). It could also take a ticket. Closely fitted ones corresponded to the French pardessus. All from The Handbook of English Costume in 19th Century by the Cunningtons.

So it seems to me that a wide variety of styles have tended to carry the name "Chesterfield", which may be single or double breasted. So I see no reason why a single breasted Chester shouldn't also be permitted to take pointed lapels according to taste.

#7 Sator

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 12:37 AM

At last I have found another picture of a SB Chester with DB revers. It is styled exactly like the one worn above by Eden - concealed buttonholes, no velvet collar:



#8 le.gentleman

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Posted 02 May 2009 - 04:31 AM

Here is another SB peaked lapel version:



#9 Sator

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Posted 16 May 2009 - 12:41 AM

From the 1936 edition of The Modern Tailor Outfitter and Clothier:










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