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aertsen1550s.jpg (49343 bytes) Aertsen, 1550: This could be a jacket, or a doublet with the sleeves from an undergarment (a gown, possibly) showing; or, the sleeves may be detachable.
flemjacket.jpg (19351 bytes) This woman's jacket latter half of 16th century) has a stand-up collar and the sleeves are turned back at the cuff.  She has an apron over the bottom of the jacket, so the lines can't be seen.
flemjacket2.jpg (16523 bytes) Flemish woman, second half of 15th century
This jacket doesn't have a collar; the sleeves are rolled up.
flemwomen.jpg (57344 bytes) The woman in the background appears to be wearing a jacket; the woman in the foreground is wearing a bodice with sleeves pinned on.
1600-1625 Norah Waugh, writing about women's clothing during the period 1600 - 1625:
"Jackets, known as 'waistcoats' throughout the seventeenth century, were informal wear for ladies of quality and the habitual costume of other classes....
The basic cut is the same throughout.  The two front pieces, with centre front shaping, are joined to the back by two side seams.  The jacket is cut a few inches below waist level to form a basque which is achieved by slitting the bottom and inserting triangular gussets.  In the earlier jackets the back seams run from high in the armhole slightly in to the waist; there is one gusset centre back, and two or more each side, set to a low waist; usually there is a collar.  The sleves are cut from two similarly shaped pieces, straight to the elbow and then curved forward to take the bend of the arm, with a front seam set well forward and inserted at a point high into the armhole  The sleeves are wrist length, with a small cuff.  Later jackets follow the broader fashion line; that is, the shoulder seams widen, and the back seams, set lower in the armhole, slope in and are from two to three inches apart at waist level.  The gussets are set to the higher waistline, and the collar is ommitted.  The neckline may be quite high or very low."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 25)
1600.jpg (129549 bytes) c. 1600 - a woman's jacket from England, white linen with silk embroidery. (Victoria & Albert Museum)

Another embroidered jacket (1616) at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

1607.jpg (128309 bytes) 1607 - "Lady in Gray"
1610.gif (54086 bytes) c. 1610 - Embroidered Jacket (London Museum), Diagram II

Kohler -- voided velvet jacket, sometime in the 16th c.
1625-1645 Basqued Bodice:
"Another style which developed in the late 1620's was a more fashionable version of the jacket.  Here again, the man's doublet may have been the inspiration.  The short high-waisted bodice was cut like that of the new gown, but the skirt was replaced by the basque.  The basques varied.  They might still be cut like those of the embroidered jacket -- with triangular gussets -- but more frequently they were made from several wedge-shaped pieces called tabs, or tassets, with either hung separately or were joined together.  This bodice also was open in front, the sides being pinned or laced across the stomacher. Sleeves were very full, and were cut either in one straight piece, or from two pieces slightly curved.  In both cases the front sleeve seam was placed well forward, and was inserted into the bodice high in the armhole....
"In the 1630's a short bodice without basques was also worn.  The centre front was usually cut in one piece, without a stomacher and with a very low neck and slightly pointed waist,.  This style as a rule had voluminous sleeves.
"This period had a very characteristic neckline.  It was cut very low and narrow in front, and the side pieces sloped out to give a broad neckline. This, together with the wide shoulder seams, large sleeves, epaulettes and high waistlines all emphasized the fashionable trend towards breadth, which reached its peak 1630-1640.  After 1630, there was no change in cut, there was a lessening of the rigidity of construction.  The boned body was discarded, the boning being transferred to the lining of the short bodice or shortgown.  The stiffening from the sleeves and stomacher was reduced.  This was especially noticeable in England, where the whole interpretation of the fashionable silhouette was softer and more fluid."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 28)
1625-30.gif (53905 bytes) c. 1625-30 - Embroidered Jacket (Victoria & Albert Museum)
callot1625c.jpg (55480 bytes)

Callot, French dairymaid, c. 1625

One sees less fashionable women in Holland and England continuing to wear the older longwaisted style through the 1640s, however.

callot1630.jpg (59711 bytes) Callot, fashionable French woman, 1630
1639Hollar.JPG (382347 bytes) Wenceslas Hollar, 1639: fashionable English women

1645 - 1680 Norah Waugh:
"By 1650, the waist was quite low and in order to balance the design the tabs or basque became smaller.  The stomacher was still worn, but bodices with plain fronts were becoming more usual.  Although still cut on the same principles, these longer bodices required more fitting.  The back was shaped as before with two side seams starting at the armhole, curving to within an inch each side centre back and continuing in parallel lines down to the waist.  The front might be cut with a centre front seam shaped in to the waist and with an underarm seam; more frequently, this bodice also had two side front seams starting from the armhole and curving over the bust to run in two parallel lines ending in a blunt point which by 1660 was very long.  This cut also frequently had an underarm seam.  The neckline was now oval, running round the outside edge of the shoulders straight across the back and dipping slightly in front...."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 30)

"Some women adopted the man's doublet for riding.  When in the 1660's the man's riding coat was becoming fashionable wear, women began to appear in it.  It was worn for hunting but also sometimes for travelling by coach."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 31)

1643hollar.jpg (705349 bytes) 1643 - Wenceslas Holler, ‘Mulier Anglica habitans in Pago’. Country wife wearing linen coif, straw or felt hat, apron, jacket, bodice, neck scarf or collar.
1660.jpg (85465 bytes) c. 1660 - Pink silk jacket, embroidered with blue thread (Victoria & Albert Museum)
1680 - 1720 Norah Waugh:
"The jacket, or waistcoat, with short basques, was too useful a garment to be discarded and continued to be worn for negligée wear and especially by working women.  There were also simple bodices, laced up centre back or perhaps crossing in front and caught together centre front with bows.  These were more for casual wear and were habitual for children and young girls.  The riding coat was a replica of the man's coat, and was always worn with cravat and cocked hat.  It was frequently used for travelling.  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p,. 66)
1690quilted.jpg (46675 bytes) Quilted jacket; green and red floral patterns were woven into the fabric prior to quilting.  English, c. 1690, from Quilting by Averil Colby
1720 - 1770 Norah Waugh:
"The riding coat continued to be based on the man's coat, but in the 1740's, in order to allow for the riding hoop, the front was cut separately and a basque was added.  The back was still cut in one, and was open from the waist, and there were often pleats from the side seams.  The casaqin was now called a pet en l'air, and there were other jackets for informal wear, some cut like the riding coat but with low neck and short sleeves.  There were also wrapping gowns, some with loose fronts and fitted back like the mantua.  The bed-gown or countrywoman's three-quarter-length gown was what is now called a dressing-gown.  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 70)
kohler385a.JPG (31065 bytes)

kohler385b.JPG (40187 bytes)

Kohler, women's jacket, probably early/mid 18th century

A similar jacket can be seen in Janet Arnold's Patterns of Fashion, but with a slightly elevated waistline reflecting a later date

1732.jpg (22587 bytes)

Elisabeth Oberbüchler, a refugee from Salzburg, by Pesne, 1732

This jacket has long sleeves and pockets; it is closer to what English women were wearing as riding habits in the 18th century. It may be a distinctly German style, but given the lack of pictoral and other evidence, it's hard to say.

Jacket sold on Ebay, ca. 1740s-1750s; a similar jacket can be seen in Arnold's Patterns of Fashion; click on picture to see more details
CorsetBlanc.JPG (116165 bytes) 1769 - corset blanc (white corset), from M. Garsault's Description des Arts et Métiers
Waugh: "This is usually made in white linen and lined, it is only boned each side of the centre front.  The centre back can be sewn together, or open and laced.  The fronts can be laced, buttoned, or tied with ribbon ties. The sleeve O may either be sewn in, or just laced on top of the shoulder."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 107)

This perhaps ought to be classified with corsets or stays, not jackets, except that it has sleeves that tie on.

BedJacket.JPG (123361 bytes) 1769 - camisole (Bed jacket).  Waugh: "This is less fitting than a corset and usually ties in front with ribbons.  R is the sleeve."

This is likely an 'undress' garment -- something worn in one's own home, not out in public. 

Juste.jpg (45944 bytes) 1769 - juste (jacket).  Waugh: "This is usually worn by countrywomen.  The sides are sewn down to the waist only, and then are left open to form basques.  The sleeves are either plain to the elbow, x, or shorter, y, in which case a pleated frill, z, is added.  The jacket is lined and the edges bound with ribbon; it fastens in front with ribbon ties."  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 109)

Broken Eggs, 1756, by Jean Baptiste Greuze -- see the tied-on sleeves worn by the older woman.
Le Geste Napolitain, 1757, by Jean Baptiste Greuze -- again, tied-on sleeves worn

bed-gown.JPG (125995 bytes) 1769 - manteau-de-lit (bed-gown).  The sleeves are cut in one piece with the body, and squares from the sides of the gown are added to the sleeves for additional length.  The squares of fabric at the sides of the gown are folded to make an inverted pleat.  (Cut of Women's Clothes, p. 110)

Jackets worn by women in paintings by Chardin:
Grace Before the Meal, 1744
Girl Peeling Vegetables
The Laundress, 1730s

Greuze, 'The Wool Winder,' 1758-1759
Greuze, 'The Laundress'

Lacroix' 'Street Cry' print: A Sweeper


Jackets in this period became shorter and more tightly fitted, and often had long, tight sleeves.

Pierrot Jacket at the Met
1780s Jacket or fitted bodice on Karen Augusta's web site; click on picture to see more details


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Copyright 2003, M. E. Riley