Fashion

English Court Dress

I wrote about Court Presentations nearly five years ago, and back then there were plenty of pictures and illustrations of women in their court dress, but it was difficult to find any of men in their court dress. Fast-foward to today and more libraries are adding to the digital archive.

Gentlemen who have no Special Uniform may wear either of the following dresses at Courts, Levies, and Evening State Parties:—

Velvet Court Dress (New Style)

Velvet Court Dress (New Style)
Coat.—Black Silk Velvet, stand collar, single-breasted. The fronts are cut small and cannot be buttoned: to be worn open. Plain gauntlet cuffs. Pocket flaps, with three points on the waist seam. Six buttons are placed on the Right forepart, and a similar number of notched holes on the Left. Two buttons at the waist behind, and two at the bottom of the back skirts. Pockets in the breast and in the tails. Body of the coat should be lined with White Silk and the skirts with Black.
Buttons.—Cut Steel.
Waistcoat.-—White Satin or Black Silk Velvet (not White Corded silk or White Marcella). No collar. Four buttons of small size, to match the coat.
Breeches.—Black Silk Velvet, with three small steel buttons, and steel buckles at the knees.
Hose.—Black Silk.
Shoes.—Black Patent Leather, with steel buckles.
Hat.—Black Beaver or Silk Cocked Hat, with a steel loop on a black silk cockade or rosette.
Sword.—Steel hilt, with black scabbard and steel mountings.
Sword Belt.—Black Silk Web Waistbelt worn under the waistcoat, with Black Velvet frog for the Sword.
White Bow Necktie and White Gloves.
At Levees.—Trousers of Black Silk Velvet may be worn with this Style of Court Dress. Plain Military Patent Leather Boots should be worn.

Velvet Court Dress (Old Style)

Velvet Court Dress (Old Style)

Coat.—Black Silk Velvet, stand collar, single-breasted. Seven buttons on Right front and seven notched holes on the Left. The fronts meet edge to edge at a point on the breast, where they are secured with a hook and eye. Plain round gauntlet cuffs, with three notched holes and buttons. Pointed flaps on waist seam, with three buttons, one under each point. Six buttons behind, that is, two at the waist, two at centre of skirts, and two at the bottom of the back skirts. Body of the coat should be lined with White Silk and the skirts with Black. Pockets in the breast and in the tails.
Buttons.—Cut Steel.
Black Silk “wig-bag” Or “Flash” is attached to the coat at the back of the neck, hanging over the collar.
Waistcoat.—White Satin or Black Silk Velvet (not White Corded Silk or White Marcella). No collar. Four buttons. Skirted fronts, pointed flaps to the pockets, with three buttons under each flap.
Breeches.—Black Silk Velvet, with three small steel buttons, and steel buckles at the knees.
Hose.—Black Silk.
Shoes.—Black Patent Leather, with steel buckles.
Hat.—Black Beaver or Silk Cocked Hat, with a steel loop on a black silk cockade or rosette.
Sword.—Sling Sword, with steel hilt and black scabbard with steel mountings.
Sword Belt.—Black Silk Web Waistbelt with slings.
Gloves.—White.
Lace Frill And Ruffles.

Read more about court dress in Dress Worn at His Majesty’s Court, issued with the authority of the Lord Chamberlain (1908)

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Comments

3 thoughts on “English Court Dress”

  1. Breeches, black silk hose and pointy shoes with buckles must have all looked and felt very old fashioned for the gentlemen. I wonder if King Edward was making a statement about traditional values in his court dress instructions.

  2. Yes,traditional values…the last of Olde Europe…soon to be swept away in WWII…I love the court costume collection at Kensington Palace…

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