Tuesday, February 4, 2014

History's Runway: The Hammond Driving Coat, 1906-1908

Driving Coat
Hammond & Co.
This and all related images from:
The Victoria & Albert Musuem

At the turn of the Twentieth Century, in large part due to the influence of the more casual King Edward VII, men’s fashions began to change. This was also part of the growing interest in sporting and leisure activities amongst men of the middle and upper classes. A need for more relaxed clothing was necessary to accommodate activities such as riding a bicycle, playing golf or even driving a motor car.

Here’s an example of the type of clothing developed during the Edwardian era to offer comfort and durability during outdoor wear. By this point, while a man’s wardrobe was increasingly casual, his assortment of costumes was almost as varied and vast as a woman’s—allowing for different attire for a wide range of activities and locations.

This driving coat, made between 1906 and 1908, is made of black and white hounds-tooth check tweed. Double-breasted with ten buttons, the coat features a versatile pointed lapel which can be buttoned and worn close to the throat. Hip pockets afford lots of storage and a small ticket pocket at the waist was a handsome and useful addition. The coat is lined with gray silk to the waist and the “skirts” are lined with gray, black and white vertical stripes of woven wool.

Made in London, this is the work of the tailors at Hammond & Co. 

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