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Dress coat[ edit ] A dress coat, sometimes called a swallow-tail or claw-hammer coat, is the coat that has, since the s, come to be worn only in the evening by men as part of the white tie dress code , also known as evening full dress , for formal evening occasions. It is commonly referred to as just a tailcoat, but amongst tailors both British and American and dress historians it is traditionally called a dress coat to differentiate it from other types of tailcoats. The modern dress coat is an evolution of the coat that was once both day and evening dress. It became increasingly popular from around the late s and was particularly widespread during the British Regency , and in America in the s to s. In the Regency period, the dress coat with gilt buttons was always worn with non-matching trousers, pantaloons or breeches. Since the Victorian era, the modern dress coat for evening wear has been worn with matching trousers of the same cloth with two stripes of braiding down the side. The resulting suit is traditionally referred to by tailors as a dress suit. A dress coat is waist length in the front and sides, and has two long tails reaching to the knees in back. Sometimes there is a pocket on the inside to hold gloves. Since around the s the dress coat has lacked outside side pockets, but prior to this it took flapped side pockets. Since the early twentieth century it has become acceptable to have a welted pocket on the outside of the chest to hold a pocket square, but prior to this dress coats lacked any outer pockets. The front of the skirt is squarely cut away. Since around the s the coat has been constructed with a waist seam that allows greater waist suppression. From the Victorian era , the revers has taken facings in silk grosgrain or satin on the lapels. Although it is double-breasted, since the s, the dress coat no longer fastens in the front. As part of modern white tie , either a black or midnight blue dress coat is worn with a stiff detachable white wing-collar dress shirt , with a plain starched pique bib, and single cuffs fastened with cufflinks ; a matching white marcella cotton bowtie and white waistcoat ; black trousers; and black patent leather pumps with stockings. Additionally, a top hat, silk dress scarf, and white dress gloves are also seen as acceptable. Morning coat[ edit ] Two men wearing morning coats at a wedding. A morning coat is a single-breasted coat, with the front parts usually meeting at one button in the middle, and curving away gradually into a pair of tails behind, topped by two ornamental buttons on the waist seam. The lapels are usually pointed American English peak , not step notch , since the coat is now only worn as formalwear. When it was first introduced, the step lapel was common, since it was worn as half dress. The coat can be grey or black as part of morning dress , and is usually worn with striped, or very occasionally checked, trousers. The morning coat may also be worn as part of a morning suit, which is mid-grey with matching trousers and waistcoat. The modern morning coat or cutaway in American English is a man's coat worn as the principal item in morning dress. The name derives from morning nineteenth century horseback riding exercise for gentlemen. It was regarded as an informal form of half dress. Gradually it became acceptable as an alternative to the frock coat for formal day wear or full dress. Since the nineteenth century it is normally only seen at weddings, at formal baptisms, and in England and Australia, at races such as Royal Ascot , the Derby and the Victoria Derby where it is worn with a contrasting waistcoat, usually light grey or sometimes 'fancy'. It is very occasionally seen at funerals but more often it is used as day wear at formal luncheons, especially civic occasions under formal gowns, when worn with a black matching waistcoat or 'vest'. Male members of the cabinet of Japan wear it in their first public appearance following the formation of the cabinet. The Marshal and Clerk of the United States Supreme Court wear morning coats when the justices are appearing in public wearing their traditional robes, for example when the court is in session, or when attending the President's State of the Union address. At one time all attorneys appearing before the court wore morning coats but they now wear standard business attire. The United States Solicitor General when the office is held by a male and his or her male deputies continue the tradition of wearing morning dress when arguing before the court. In modern American English, morning coats are referred to as cutaway coats. Shadbelly[ edit ] In equestrianism , a variant called a shadbelly is still worn in certain disciplines in its eighteenth century role as daytime formalwear. It is basically a form of dress coat which is closer in cut to the early nineteenth century style worn by Beau Brummel than to the modern version worn with evening formal dress. The male version of the shadbelly is often called a "weaselbelly". A version made of black barathea was also worn as diplomatic dress. It was single breasted with a stand up collar, with plain gauntlet cuffs, and two three-pointed flap pockets on the waist seam. It had six metal buttons at the front, and two decorative buttons at the back. The body of the coat was lined with black silk, and skirts with white silk. It was worn with breeches, black silk hose, white bow tie, white gloves, and court shoes pumps with steel buckles. The front of the coat was cut away squarely like a standard dress coat. Footman's coat[ edit ] This was worn as livery servant's uniform and was knee length with a sloped cut away front like a morning coat. It was single breasted with a stand up collar and gilt buttons. The collar and cuffs were in the regimental colors and the coats had white braid on the front. The Americans issued a similar uniform in dark blue to enlisted men during the War of This remained in service until when it was replaced with a shell jacket. By the time the M uniform was introduced tail coats had been relegated to full dress. The Royal Navy had an elaborate hierarchy of tailcoats for the officers, allowing further buttons and gilding according to rank and seniority. These were single-breasted for junior officers and double-breasted for those with the rank of lieutenant and above. Masonic use[ edit ] Some Freemasons wear tailcoats to their meetings.
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