This vest or waistcoat is made of a fancy weave silk fabric. It appears to have some areas which might be brocaded, others that appear embossed; it is a highly textured fabric and features a series of undulating leaves and stems. The shawl collar is only in the front of the garment, stitched at the soulders, and the edge of the rounded collar is stitched to the body of the garment for approximately four-five inches at the front. There is a pocket on either side in the front. The garment fastens with three buttons, all of which are white (bright white) and textured in a diamond pattern. The twill weave lining is striped vertically. The back of the vest/waistcoat is white, There is a cinch belt across the back, with a buckle. Inside the cinch strap is a label: "Maison Royale, Fournisseur de la Cour, Bruxelles." "Helles" appears to be hand written in black ink, along with "No. 229657" "M. Loy."

Although vests or waistcoats with shawl collars can be seen in the middle of the 19th century, they usually appear to fasten higher on the body, with at least four rows of buttons. Garments such as this one, with only three rows of buttons appear more at the end of the 1880s and into the early 1900s as formal wear, with the shawl and resulting deep throat of the vest acting as an accent for the formal white shirt, with studs, that would be worn underneath. (From the days of the 17th century when waistcoasts began to be seen, on through the days of Beau Brummell, the display of the waistcoat allowed a gentleman to add color and/or texture to his ensmble.) This vest or waistcoat (2008.78.2) is a piece of formal wear; if could have been worn at a wedding, or a formal evening event.

Used: adult ~ male | Formal wear

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