Costume and Textiles
Man's Three-piece Suit: Coat, Waistcoat, and BreechesMade in France, Europe
Artist/maker unknown, French
Silk faille with embroidery in silk chain stitch and silk plain weave ribbon
Currently not on view
1935-16-2a--cGift of Mrs. Arthur Biddle, 1935
LabelFashionable men's suits of the eighteenth century consisted of a long-skirted coat, waistcoat, and breeches. Suits were usually made of silk, which could be patterned or accented with rich trim or embroidery. In this example, the delicate embroidery includes chain-stitched flowering vines and wheat sheaves fashioned from narrow ombré ribbon. According to family history, the suit was purchased in Paris by General Jonathan Williams, who from 1770–90 was often in Europe on political and other business; wearing a fine suit would have been a necessary part of his position there.