Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fall Essentials ~ Retro Rack Style ~ Frock Coats

As I was saying with a twitter friend recently, coats are the best. At certain events and under certain circumstances, coats never even come off. A nice statement coat can do all the work of an entire outfit with no fuss at all, fashionable reader.  One of the key trends for fall is peacoats, as discussed in yesterday's post, but today I am going to go into some of the other coats that I think better suit a Retro Rack.

Frock Coat

First on the scene for men, not woman, the frock coat is hands down my favorite style of jacket or coat.


One of the characteristics of the frock coat is "a high degree of waist suppression, where the coat's diameter round the waist is much less than round the chest." Which means the best ones will fit the Rack and emphasize the waist. In Gail's world you can't ask much more of a garment.

 1820 Frock Coat  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Frock coats are similar to (and sometimes confused with) princess cut coats, although princess ~ in women's-wear ~ technically means there is no delineated waist seam and the nipping in is done via the vertical seams alone. I tend to prefer frock coats with defined waists and fuller skirts, but as a rule, a princess cut knee length coat is pretty much flattering on any figure.

A frock coat with full skirt & turned down lapel verses a princess cut a-line with a mock collar

A fuller skirt and more delineated waist will balance out a very large bust, and hide big hips. A collar with some interest will draw attention up to the face. The a-line slimmer version of this coat delineates the waist without adding bulk to the hips, so if you are statuesque or petite this might be a better option. Most princess coats have cleaner more modern lines giving a slightly less retro feel.

A-line princess cut 1924 Coat Jeanne Lanvin The Metropolitan Museum of Art; classic frock coat shape in velvet panels from 1948 Balmain The Museum at FIT

You can get a retro feel from the princess style by looking for added details, like fur cuffs and collar, big pockets, or choosing a retro fabric. I devoutly believe that the larger busted should opt for this style as opposed to the classic double-breasted trench, if given the choice. It's far more flattering and can be just as classic looking.

 Classic trench, versus a single breasted frock coat cut trench, versus a frock coat.

Just, a word of warning, be thoughtful about the amount of fabric and added volume with a frock coat.


Frock coats for the ladies of the Parasol Protectorate Abroad

For Prudence:
 1890s  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

For Primrose
1890 Jacket  Jeanne Paquin  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

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