The Norfolk Jacket

24 Feb

So a few days ago I had the pleasure of watching the final Season Two episode of Downton Abbey (aka the Christmas episode), which takes place in 1919/1920.  I could completely derail this post and squeal about how much I adore this show, but other people have done enough of that.  Focus, focus.

Near the start of the episode there is a long hunting sequence.  It is absolutely gorgeous, if you ignore the fact that they are killing birds for sport.  Apparently there was a little hoopla in the UK about the characters wearing the wrong boots for the time period, but that’s not what caught my eye.  I noticed Mary’s jacket.

It looks awfully similar to this print I have in my living room.

How cool is that?

The Norfolk jacket has quite the refined history.  It first appeared in the 1860s and is, to put it simply, the best sporting jacket ever.  The thick, neutrally colored wool keeps you warm, while the loose, boxy cut gives lots of room for movement.  Most of the jackets had front pleats and big pockets as well.

The other interesting thing about this jacket is that its use is very specific.  It is for hunting and outdoor adventures only, which makes it impractical for those with a limited budget.  Only the upper class could afford to buy a garment that would only be worn a few times a month or so.  It was also on its way out of popularity in the 1920s, to be replaced with a more fitted jacket.  When Mary wears this kind of jacket, she is telling the world that she comes from old money and is perhaps not so interested in being on the cutting edge of fashion.

For more info on the jacket, check this out.  And if you need a close up on her hat and collar, like I did, enjoy this too.


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