Man's Three-piece Suit: Coat, Waistcoat, and Breeches

Artist/maker unknown, French

Made in France, Europe

c. 1775-1785

Silk faille with embroidery in silk chain stitch and silk plain weave ribbon

Center Back Length (Coat): 42 1/2 inches (108 cm) Center Front Length (Coat): 39 inches (99.1 cm) Center Back Length (Waistcoat): 23 inches (58.4 cm) Waist (Waistcoat): 38 inches (96.5 cm) Length (Breeches): 25 1/2 inches (64.8 cm) Waist (Breeches): 31 inches (78.7 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Arthur Biddle, 1935

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Fashionable 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.