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Greetings! Given that morning, white tie, and court dress is not properly discussed on the established clothing forums, I have gone ahead and made one devoted especially to formal clothing. You are welcome to join.
Dear Sirs , I have read in the Elements Sections the following statements about the different type of lapels of morning coats:
This is a look which has never ‘had its day,’ like its peaked and notched brothers, and seems to have hovered on the fringe of obscurity, the exclusive preserve of the sartorially adventurous rather than the common man.”
In order to support the exsistence of this variant (rare) of lapels You have shown an unclear picture where The Prince of Wales Edward is wearing a morning coat with apparently rounded lapels. Are You sure that this is not a false effect due to fact that that the lapel notch of a peaked lapel coat is not visible depending on the bad quality of the picture ? Indeed all the other morning coats worn by the POW in the 20’s and 30′ did have peaked lapels where the peaks were very horizontal with almost no clear separations from the collar.
Do You have any original written comment about that photo stating that the POW was wearing a shawl collar morning coat?
I will appreciate a comment from You as the question has some relevance as far as the history of morning coats.
Looking forward to Your reply, I thank You very much in advance.
Thank you very much for your question. The photograph is from “Edward VIII: His Life and Reign” and unfortunately the bad quality of the scan is down to the bad quality of my scanner. There is nothing in the text that states that it’s a shawl collar, however the print in the book is clearer and one can see that it is. Here is another picture of a shawl collar morning coat:
I hope that may be of some help to you. I wouldn’t, however, go so far as to state that the shawl collar has ever played a significant role in the history of morning coats and that it has been merely forgotten. My assumption, based on little evidence, is that it has only ever existed in the possession of a few mavericks who requested it of their tailor.
Dear Simon ,
Thank You very much for Your quick and exaustive reply. I would like to ask You to have the permission of reporting our correspondence in a reply that I will publish on an italian blogsite devoted to the masculine elegance (www.noveporte.it), where someone has argued that the shawl collared morningcoat worn by the POW in Your photo was in the reality a peaked lapel morning coat and that defining it as a shawl collared coat was only an erroneous interpretation due to the bad quality of the picture and to the characteristcs of the lapels that were running horizontally . The second picture that You have kindly attached to Your reply clearly demonstrates that shawl collared morning coats, although very very rare , did exist.
I have a couple of queries on Morning Dress I was hoping you would be kind enough to furnish me with answers on.
I wondered what style of shoes should be worn with morning dress, I believe plain oxford’s should suffice, but you views greatly appreciated.
I have also been having difficulty in sourcing a decent hat. I wondered if you had any tips in scouring such sources as ebay, how to avoid pitfalls and expensive mistakes, that sort of thing.
I should add I found this site the most informative of its kind, and so remain in your debt.
Plain oxfords are completely acceptable – even conventional. They should be well-shined.
Back in the day it was common to wear balmoral boots with morning coat (not so much black lounge), but I do not believe it ever so nearly universal as to be considered a convention. It was also not unusual to wear patent leather boots or shoes with morning dress, but these days that is seen as pretty theatrical.
How does one subscribe to this Blog? (Is there a button missing or am I missing it?)
Most of the more affordable modern top hats seem to be made with wool felt, which I gather is widely considered funereal or costumed, especially a black one. I was wondering if this cheaper construction was more acceptable for a grey topper?
You say that turn-ups/cuffs are acceptable on one’s morning trousers with semi-formal black lounge/stroller jacket, but can one get away with cuffed morning trousers with formal morning coat? Is it totally frowned upon or doable? Thanks.
Commonly trousers with morning coat (or cutaway) do not take turn-ups. Having said that, there have always been plenty of gentlemen (look at old photos or illustrations) who thought otherwise (especially in the 30’s, it seems to me.)
Many people (myself included) think that morning trousers look crisper (and therefore a bit more formal) without turn-ups (and with high waists, too), but this is just personal preference. So pay no attention to self-appointed nouveau rule-makers; wear your cuffs however they appeal to you, you can more than “get away with it.”
Ive not seen mention anywhere of what overcoat one wears with morning dress. Is morning dress restricted to summer spring and early fall? Is it even proper to wear morning dress in the winter, and if not are formal day ceremonies in the winter appropriate? I appreciate any help on this matter.
Morning dress is appropriate throughout the year. Indeed in the early part of the 20th century it was summer occasions, never winter, that often adopted a more casual dress code in deference to the season.
The most common overcoat for morning dress (throughout the last century and today) is a single-breasted Chesterfield (with or without a contrasting collar,) but double-breasted is also seen. These days the weather and what is available in the closet often dictates overcoats worn as they are always checked or stowed during inside events anyway.
Just happened upon your web site; splendidly charming! Good to know that all taste [and decorum] has not been lost.
Hoping christmas 2011 will bring another insightful and lovely post to this site!
Splendid website! I notice that you are silent on the issue of flat vs. pointed on waistcoats. Thought I’d flag it for you incase you want to add something in the waistcoat section.
What are your views on clerical dress (full dog collar – bib & stock) and morning dress. I am bored with either a full black suit or blazer and slacks, but wouldn’t want to shock parishioners with an outre outfit.
I am making my way into the merky world of marriage later this year. I was hoping that this would provide me with an occassion to break away from my normal morning suit and acquire a more intriguing grey one. I was planning to buy said outfit from Ede & Ravenscroft. However, in their infinite wisdom they have decided to discontinue this item and do not have one on my size left. I am particularly keen on going grey. Any suggestions for an alternative to Ede as an outfitter?
I have read your section on shirts with interest and share your faith in the Winchester. Of course a plain colour shirt is never elegant, but I would be interested in knowing what you think of fully-patterned coloured shirts with morning dress (ie, say, full pink satin stripes).
All the best,
Gentlemen, your blog has been immensely useful to me but I would make one request; I need a recommendation for a top quality Morning Suit FOR SALE. Any thoughts?
You asked the bloggers and not me, but if I may presume: If you can, I recommend that you get your morning coat bespoke or made to measure. Morning coats are body cuts and are designed to hug the torso of the wearer. Ready to wear can’t really achieve such a tailored effect (which is why so many off the rack morning coats fit like a cross between a frock coat and a potato sack.)
I understand keenly that there are cost issues with moving beyond ready to wear, but in the case of a morning coat they are likely less. Morning coats are rare and generally pretty expensive these days and you can probably get a made-to-measure for the same or less expense. I’ve seen folks wearing ready-to-wear morning coats bought from prestigious London labels who would have looked much better if they had bought ready-to-wear from a mid-market provider.
Again, I hope I do not intrude. Please forgive the unsolicited nature of the advice. It is kindly intended.
Let me first compliment you on the marvellous accumulation of sartorial knowledge you so kindly share with us here at this site.
I must however say that I am dying to read more regarding shirts, especially collars for I am what you so eloquently would describe as an “adventurous kind of guy”. Dare I ask when that section will be completed?
Once again, thank you for creating such a wonderful site.
Gentlemen, I and my partner are just returned from a trip to the UK where we took in the annual Order of the Garter service and two days in the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot. Through your fantastically organized and informative guide I was able to gather the appropriate fashion for our three days. I decided to purchase the morning attire for my partner and me rather than hire (knowing I’d be disappointed in the quality of the hire clothing, particularly wearing it three days!) After having attended these events and taking notice of the gentlemen at each, I feel we turned out with a 100% scoring on dress! Our only mistake was hiring top hats, but at the time I didn’t feel investing in a hat was wise. We’ve since purchased antique silk toppers and are planning our next trip to Royal Ascot 2013. We’re hooked – we loved wearing the clothing, meeting the wonderful folks, and even winning about net £30 at the races! See you next year – and thanks!
By the way – I failed to mention we live in Chicago, in the US. No one in any of the higher end men’s clothing stores here was able to assist me satisfactorily with putting together the morning attire. Thank goodness for this site!
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