More Tails, Please!

3 Aug

The other night I sat out on the Boston Common to watch Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s All’s Well That Ends Well.  Right before the show started, some of the actors came out with collection bags to get donations from the audience.  This is, in itself, very uninteresting, except for the fact that they came out in costume!  A brief taste of what’s about to come.  And really, who doesn’t want to see Victorian costumes up close?  The actors closest to my area were men in tailcoats, MY FAVORITE.  Men just look better in tailcoats, especially period tailcoats.

Tailcoats, though only used for formal evening wear now, were much more popular at the turn of the 19th century.  They were originally designed for the English gentleman on horseback, and then became day wear in the hands of dapper Beau Brummell.

Today, there are two main types of tailcoats – the dress coat and the morning coat.  There are many little differences between the two, most of them nitpicky and only relevant to tailors, but the important difference between them is the cut at the waist.  The dress coat has evolved into a coat with a squared cutaway, while the morning coat gradually curves into the tails in the back.

Dress Coat

Morning Coat

You will also notice that you do not button your dress coat – all of those buttons are decoration only – but you can use your one button on your morning coat.

And finally, if you still need convincing that tailcoats are the way to go, I give you the cast of The West Wing.

It’s not the best photo, but all of the men are wearing tailcoats.  And if President Bartlett wants you in tails, I really see no reason to argue.

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One Response to “More Tails, Please!”

  1. Coriana August 5, 2011 at 10:44 am #

    I WANT MORNING COATS BACK AS STANDARD MEN’S DAYWEAR. I want its so bad.
    ~ c.

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