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Era on this damaged waist coat/vest?

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by amandainvermont, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont VFG Member

    Age and wear make this a display piece. The collar is badly worn and the back and lining has age spots.

    Attached Files:

  2. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  3. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  4. cmpollack

    cmpollack VFG Member

    Beautiful! What's the fabric, Amanda? And is the front padded?
  5. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix VFG Member

    Men's garments are always a challenge when they are this old. It appears to be a lovely wool flannel or similar wool (not the flannel of modern times) with silk ? embroidery and a cotton or linen back. I am most familiar with this embroidered wool as used for infant's and children's robes, cloaks, etc. in the mid to late Victorian era. While I can only guess at the date, I feel it is late Victorian era, possibly mid Victorian.

    It is really a special looking vest. I also wonder if this was for wedding, worn by the groom?

    Can you show the buttons, or describe them front and back and tell us what they are made of? Do you think the buttons are original to the vest?
  6. cmpollack

    cmpollack VFG Member

    That's my hunch too. I had a mid-Victorian wedding waistcoat (it was white silk, and labelled that the wife-to-be made it for her groom), and this definitely has the same "momentous occasion" vibe!
  7. bycinbyhand

    bycinbyhand VFG Member

  8. cmpollack

    cmpollack VFG Member

    I do think it's 19th century...

    Can't find pictures of the one I had that actually had the wedding date on it--think I sold that one in the Waltham shop. But the one below belonged to G.W.Fargo, a Baptist minister and abolitionist who tried his hand at sericulture (ie homemade silk!) in the mid 1840s. Because of his bio, I've assumed it's c 1850s-60s, and the silhouette isn't so different from yours...


    This link has some good period fashion illustrations showing men's mid 19th century shawl collared waistcoats:
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016
  9. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I don't find dating vests an easy task, however, the lack of a buckle in the back suggests to me an earlier than later date. Definitely pre 1860, but how much pre I wouldn't want to venture. The paisley pattern embroidery suggests to me 1840s-50s when that motif was so popular, but the workmanship is a bit crude for then, I would have expected a finer embroidery work but it might have been mass produced embroidery for export - pre-embroidered yardage from Turkey or India...
  10. poppysvintageclothing

    poppysvintageclothing Administrator Staff Member

  11. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont VFG Member

    You guys floor me. Yes, the front is padded Carrie. And no, the material is not silk - a fine wool? Here are some pictures of the buttons. At first I thought they had been replaced. I'll ask Matthew!

    button2.jpg buttons.jpg
  12. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    Milk glass metal shank buttons - 1850s is a good possibility
  13. thespectrum

    thespectrum VFG Member Staff Member

  14. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    I agree with early 1850s, especially with the tie back. Jonathan is right, that tied back predates buckles and is a good indicator of age. I think these white on white vests were formal wear, often wedding wear?

    Here's one I had with a dated buckle of 1856:


    And here's an earlier plain pique one I estimated at 1810s - 1820s with a lace up back.

    Last edited: Mar 11, 2017
  15. Jonathan

    Jonathan VFG Member

    I was hoping you would show up Hollis - I had the feeling you would have experience in these... The one thing that held me back from going earlier than the 1850s is the shortness of the body - I think of 1840s-early 50s vests as longer waisted, and shorter vests as late 50s-60s. I suspect its a transition piece between the buckle-less longer bodied vests and the shorter bodied, buckled vests -- a bit of both - probably contemporary to your 1856 vest, maybe a year or so earlier?
  16. pastperfect2

    pastperfect2 Alumni +

    Oh yes, I agree there could be some transition there - the body cut and style does seem later than the tied back with the godet panel would indicate. Those backs are around early - in the 1820s - 30s - 40s. Actually, I had a 1790s waist coat with that tie back as well.

    So I wondered about earlier - 1830s - but the collar stand doesn't seem high enough. If it were mine, I'd go with 1850 - 54ish, and note how hard it is to date vests!
  17. cmpollack

    cmpollack VFG Member

    Wonderful thread--I've learned so much. And your examples are GORGEOUS, Hollis!

    I'm also allowing myself a pat on the back, since it appears I dated my own vest pretty accurately... :rolleyes:
    poppysvintageclothing likes this.
  18. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont VFG Member

    Does the fact that it has a second tie back at about the shoulder blades reflect anything about the age? And thanks so much for all your help. In the button pix I was trying to show the shanks, not the buttons themselves. They are round, not cylindrical.
  19. I, too, see 1850s. It looks like it's all hand sewn and the "fallen" shoulder seams suggest an 1840s-50s date too. Nice find, the condition seems good for the age.
  20. laurenm

    laurenm Registered Guest

    All I have to say is that if I ever get married again I'm wearing something like that a la Bianca Jagger! So beautiful.

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