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April – 2023 20 MINS READ
Today, we’re going to explore the history of clothing from a unique perspective. Over in Tokyo, there’s this fascinating exhibition called the “DEMI DECONSTRUCTION = Half Decomposition Exhibition 半分解展 ” by a chap called Mr Akiyoshi Hasegawa, who’s a garment specimenist. He showcases his expertise by deconstructing over a century-old piece of clothing by snapping it in half to examine its structure and shape.
Now, I know this may seem unrelated to shirts, but I invite you to immerse yourself in the dynamic shifts of fashion that have taken place throughout history. It’s been a bumpy ride, but one that’s worth exploring.
Justaucorps, also known as a “justacorps” or “justacorps coat,” is a type of coat that was popular in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was typically worn by men and was often part of a formal outfit. The word “justaucorps” comes from the French “juste au corps,” which means “fitting to the body.” The justaucorps was characterized by its fitted, waist-length design and long, flared skirts that extended to mid-thigh or knee-length. It often had a row of buttons down the front and was sometimes worn with a waistcoat or vest underneath. Justaucorps were typically made of richly colored and patterned fabrics such as silk, brocade, or velvet, and were often decorated with embroidery or trim. Justaucorps were popular among the nobility and upper classes in Europe, and were worn for formal occasions such as court events and ceremonies. They were also worn by military officers, as they were often adorned with rank insignia and other military decorations.
1740s “the Age of Reason”
From 1740, to 1749, the decade of the 1740s witnessed a series of events that set in motion the Age of Reason. The military and technological advancements of the time led to one of the world’s first truly global wars – the War of the Austrian Succession, which erupted when Maria Theresa of Austria vied for her father King Charles VI’s various crowns. This conflict involved nearly all European states and eventually spread to North America, where it gave rise to the War of Jenkins’ Ear – a series of ferocious maritime battles. Meanwhile, capitalism flourished in the aftermath of the South Sea bubble and the rule of Sir Robert Walpole, whose reign ended in the first half of the decade.

1740: The War of the Austrian Succession breaks out, with Austria, Great Britain, and the Dutch Republic facing off against France, Prussia, and Spain.
1741: Prussia invades Silesia, a territory belonging to Austria, marking the beginning of the Silesian Wars.
1743: King Louis XV of France begins to rule directly.
1744: Maria Theresa’s husband Franz I acceded to the throne as Holy Roman Emperor.
1745: Bonnie Prince Charlie(Charles Edward Stuart) leads a rebellion in Scotland against the rule of George II of Great Britain, but is ultimately defeated at the Battle of Culloden.
1747:Ahmad Shah Durrani founded the Durrani dynasty in Afghanistan 
1748: The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle ends the War of the Austrian Succession, restoring the status quo ante bellum.

1740? ENGLISH or FRENCH justaucorps
dressing before justaucorps
Before the introduction of the justaucorps, a long, fitted coat that originated in France in the late 17th century, men’s fashion in Europe generally consisted of a doublet or coat worn over a shirt and breeches, with stockings and shoes completing the outfit. The doublet was a close-fitting, waist-length jacket that typically had sleeves, while the coat was a looser, longer garment that often had a split skirt in the back to allow for ease of movement. Both the doublet and coat were usually made of wool, silk, or other fine fabrics, and were often heavily embellished with embroidery or other decorations. Breeches were snug-fitting trousers that extended to just below the knee, and were typically made of leather or wool. Stockings were often made of silk or other fine fabrics, and were held up by garters just below the knee. Shoes were generally made of leather and had a low heel. Hats, wigs, and other accessories were also common, depending on the occasion and social status of the wearer.
James VI and I (James Charles Stuart; 19 June 1566 – 27 March 1625) was King of Scotland as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the Scottish and English crowns on 24 March 1603 until his death in 1625. Although he wanted to bring about a closer union, the kingdoms of Scotland and England remained individual sovereign states, with their own parliaments, judiciaries, and laws, both ruled by James in personal union.
Louis as a child by Frans Pourbus the Younger
Collection Gaignières (histoire de France) 1560
Charles II : The King’s Clothing Choices (1660–85)
Charles II by age group:
King Charles II’s fashion choices reflected the changing trends of his time. While he initially wore the fashionable doublet and hose, by the end of his reign, he favored the simpler coat, vest, and breeches, which became the forerunner of the modern three-piece suit. Portraits of Charles II show him wearing this style, which was characterized by a long, fitted coat, waistcoat, and knee-length breeches. He also wore other types of clothing on specific occasions, allowing him to project different aspects of his personality and reinforce his authority. Overall, Charles II’s clothing choices were carefully considered and communicated his status and power to his subjects.
This essay will examine the factors that influenced Charles II’s fashion choices, how they were reflected in his wardrobe, and when he would wear certain styles.

Early life (1630-1649):
▪️ Charles II was born on May 29, 1630, in St. James’s Palace in London.
▪️ He was the eldest son of King Charles I and Queen Henrietta Maria.
▪️ Charles II spent his early years in the royal court, receiving a classical education from various tutors.
▪️ In 1642, the English Civil War broke out, and Charles II became a political pawn in the conflict between his father and the Parliamentarians.

Exile (1649-1660):
▪️ In 1649, Charles I was executed by the Parliamentarians, and Charles II fled to France, where he lived in exile for the next 11 years.
▪️ During his time in exile, Charles II made several unsuccessful attempts to regain the throne, including the ill-fated uprising of 1651 led by Charles II’s Scottish supporters.

Restoration (1660-1685):
▪️ In 1660, following the death of Oliver Cromwell and the collapse of the Commonwealth, Charles II was restored to the throne of England.
▪️ During his reign, Charles II presided over a period of relative political stability and economic growth.
▪️ Charles II was involved in several foreign policy challenges, including the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars.
▪️ He was a patron of the arts and sciences, supporting the Royal Society and promoting the work of writers such as John Dryden and Samuel Pepys.
▪️ Charles II had a complex personal life, with numerous mistresses and illegitimate children. He had no legitimate children with his wife, Catherine of Braganza.
▪️ Charles II died on February 6, 1685, and was succeeded by his brother James II. 

Adriaen Hanneman, possibly after Van Dyck – ‘Charles II’ (Portrait of the King as a Young Man wearing a Yellow Doublet), mid-17th Century
Charles II was in Continental exile following his escape from England in 1651. In 1656 his new alliance with Spain raised hopes of a military restoration to his British and Irish thrones.©wikipediacommon
Hieronymus Janssens, Charles II Dancing at a Ball at Court, c. 1660
Thomas Hewart after Hendrik Danckerts, John Rose, the Royal Gardener, Presenting a Pineapple to King Charles II, c. 1676, oil on canvas : 113 × 120 cm. London, The National Trust

Charles II’s fashion choices were shaped by three main cultural factors. Firstly, the influence of his parents played a significant role. His father, James I, united England and Scotland in 1603, although the two countries retained separate parliaments until 1707. As a result, Charles II was technically the king of England, Scotland, and Ireland, and his coronation as such occurred on separate occasions. He was brought up as his father’s heir and dressed in elegant court attire, following his father’s example. Charles II’s French mother, Henrietta Maria, brought Parisian taste to the English court when she married Charles I in 1625. Even after fleeing England in 1644, she returned briefly when her son was crowned king in 1660. The influence of French court culture can be seen in various aspects of Charles II’s reign, but was particularly significant in the adoption of the royal lever and coucher, which involved the dressing and undressing of the king.

Secondly, Charles II’s fourteen years of exile from 1646 to 1660 had a profound impact on his fashion choices. During this time, he lived as an itinerant, often unwanted visitor, frequently short of money, clothes, and friends, and often doubting whether he would ever return to England or become king. He experienced court life in various countries, including France, Scotland, the Spanish Netherlands, and the United Provinces, as well as several cities in the Holy Roman Empire, such as Aachen, Cologne, and Spa. This gave him a cosmopolitan view of clothes and court culture, but one that was strongly influenced by French fashion and taste.

Finally, the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 marked a significant turning point for Charles II’s fashion choices. With the revival of the royal household and ceremonial, there was a renewed focus on attire and image. However, it was not a complete return to the fashion of his father’s court prior to the civil war (1641-1651). Rather, it was a blend of old and new, with elements of French fashion and court culture mixed with traditional English styles. Charles II’s clothing choices reflected this mix, with him favoring the simpler coat, vest, and breeches, which became the forerunner of the modern three-piece suit. He also wore other types of clothing on specific occasions, allowing him to project different aspects of his personality and reinforce his authority.

Overall, Charles II’s clothing choices were carefully considered and reflected the influences of his upbringing, his experiences during exile, and the changing trends of his time. His fashion choices played a significant role in projecting his image as a powerful and fashionable monarch, and his legacy can still be seen in modern men’s fashion today.

During Charles II’s reign, his clothing was carefully planned and designed by a team of skilled craftsmen and suppliers. The yeoman of the robes placed annual orders with the Great Wardrobe, a sub-department of the king’s household responsible for purchasing silks and linens in bulk for royal use. The king’s tailor would then use these materials to make the king’s outer garments, while his seamstress would make his shirts, nightshirts, and other linen items.The creation of the king’s image was a collaborative effort between the monarch and his team of tailors, embroiderers, pinkers, and a wide range of specialist craftsmen and suppliers. Of these, the king’s tailors were among the most influential in shaping his image. Claude Sourceau and John Allen worked in partnership from 1660, and Sourceau continued to serve the king for a decade once he became king, followed by William Watt from 1672 and Robert Graham from 1678. Sourceau was particularly significant because he had served Charles II while he was in exile in France in the late 1640s and knew his taste very well.

One example of the close collaboration between Charles II and his tailor can be seen in a letter the king wrote to Minette from Breda on 29 April 1660, in which he noted that “I have sent to Gentseau to order some summer clothes, and I have told him to take the ribbons to you, for you to choose the trimmings and feathers.” Sourceau was able to tell Charles II about Paris fashions, while his partnership with Englishman John Allen from 1660 ensured that a network of suppliers and craftsmen, some of whom had been in exile with the king or had served his father, were involved in the production of the new king’s wardrobe.

In addition to the influence of his tailors, other cultural factors also impacted Charles II’s clothing choices. The influence of his parents was significant, with his French mother, Henrietta Maria, bringing Parisian taste to the English court when she married Charles I in 1625. During his fourteen years in exile from 1646 to 1660, Charles II experienced court life in France, Scotland, the Spanish Netherlands, and the United Provinces, as well as a number of cities in the Holy Roman Empire, giving him a cosmopolitan view of clothes and court culture.Finally, the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 saw the revival of the royal household and royal ceremonial, but it was not a complete return to how things had been at his father’s court prior to the civil war. Despite this, Charles II’s clothing choices played an important role in creating a sense of continuity with the past, as well as projecting an image of power and authority that was necessary for his reign.

Secondly, Charles II’s fourteen years of exile from 1646 to 1660 had a profound impact on his fashion choices. During this time, he lived as an itinerant, often unwanted visitor, frequently short of money, clothes, and friends, and often doubting whether he would ever return to England or become king. He experienced court life in various countries, including France, Scotland, the Spanish Netherlands, and the United Provinces, as well as several cities in the Holy Roman Empire, such as Aachen, Cologne, and Spa. This gave him a cosmopolitan view of clothes and court culture, but one that was strongly influenced by French fashion and taste.

Finally, the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660 marked a significant turning point for Charles II’s fashion choices. With the revival of the royal household and ceremonial, there was a renewed focus on attire and image. However, it was not a complete return to the fashion of his father’s court prior to the civil war (1641-1651). Rather, it was a blend of old and new, with elements of French fashion and court culture mixed with traditional English styles. Charles II’s clothing choices reflected this mix, with him favoring the simpler coat, vest, and breeches, which became the forerunner of the modern three-piece suit. He also wore other types of clothing on specific occasions, allowing him to project different aspects of his personality and reinforce his authority.

On an annual basis, Charles II would order approximately thirty to forty new suits, single garments, or sets of garments from his tailors. However, his tailors also had to handle some repairs and alterations. For instance, in 1663-64, Sourceau and Allen received payment of 24 shillings for changing the garniture of four serviceable suits, 30 shillings for stitching buttons onto six knitted waistcoats, and 16 shillings for altering the linings of two cloaks. The king’s clothes were not only of social value but also held financial value, making them valuable perquisites. The diarist Samuel Pepys provided a glimpse into this process in his diary, where he described how the grooms of the bedchamber took the king’s linen as their fees at the end of each quarter. This resulted in the officers of the wardrobe of the robes facing a shortage of the king’s body linen. 

The need to replace the king’s linen annually was a costly affair, as exemplified by Dorothy Chiffinch, who charged £30 3s in 1672 for making eighteen day shirts, eighteen night shirts, and eighteen half shirts, six caps, and four dozen pocket handkerchiefs for the king. To make these items, Chiffinch utilized a percentage of the 437.5 ells of Holland provided by Benjamin Shute, a linen draper, to make six pairs of sheets, twelve pillow beres, eighteen day shirts, eighteen night shirts, eighteen half shirts, six night caps “for our person for the half year ended at Michelmas 1672” (£245 19s 6d), six pieces of cambric for pocket handkerchiefs (£18), and six yards of fine muslin to renew bands and make cravats (£3 6s). Although the regular replacement of the king’s linen strained his finances, it ensured that traditional court patronage continued to operate, which was an essential part of court life.

Coronation portrait: Charles was crowned at Westminster Abbey on 23 April 1661.©️wikipediacomon
Charles II (29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685)[c] was King of Scotland from 1649 until 1651, and King of England, Scotland and Ireland from the 1660 Restoration of the monarchy until his death in 1685.Traditionally considered one of the most popular English kings, Charles is known as the Merry Monarch, a reference to the liveliness and hedonism of his court. He acknowledged at least 12 illegitimate children by various mistresses, but left no legitimate children and was succeeded by his brother, James. 
Charles II, having been exposed to court ceremonial during his father’s reign and his own exile, understood the importance of such events in reinforcing the monarchy’s place. His coronation was a significant event in this regard. To ensure its splendour, Charles II ordered the examination of records and old formularies and the inclusion of all accustomed forms. His first wardrobe account included orders for coronation robes that reflected those worn by his Stuart predecessors, serving as a demonstration of his right to rule. These robes were made of purple velvet lined with ermine and trimmed with gold lace. Additionally, he wore a crimson satin waistcoat and drawers, which were cut from a calico waistcoat and drawers for the anointing. These highly traditional garments helped to assert Charles II’s right to rule and the legitimacy of the English monarchy. However, it is worth noting that he also ordered three suits from Paris for the coronation, showcasing the height of French fashion, thus contrasting the traditional garments.
Charles II’s relationship with Parliament was crucial to his restoration as the king of England, and he expressed this relationship visually with his parliament robes, which were made of crimson velvet and lined with miniver. The importance of these robes is demonstrated by the fact that the king’s skinner was paid annually for their maintenance and perfuming. However, Charles II’s relationship with Parliament was not always a smooth one. In his address to Parliament on 29 August 1660, shortly after his accession, he stated that he was not richer than when he came to them and that he had lived primarily on what he had brought with him. As a result, Parliament granted him an annual allowance of £1,200,000, but there was usually a deficit of around £400,000 per year. To put this in perspective, the officers of the wardrobe of the robes spent £15,623 11s 5d in 1660-62 (the first account) and £7,374 9s 0d in 1685 (the last account) on the king’s clothes. While the annual amount varied, taking an average expenditure of £7,500 per annum, this represented approximately 0.06% of his allocated or approximately 0.9% of his actual annual income.
Edward as a Knight of the Garter, 1453, illustration from the Bruges Garter Book, British Library
Edward the Black Prince

Edward is often referred to as the “Black Prince”. The first known source to use the sobriquet “Black Prince” was the antiquary John Leland in the 1530s or early 1540s (about 165 years after Edward’s death). Leland mentions the sobriquet in two manuscript notes in the 1530s or early 1540s, with the implication that it was in relatively widespread use by that date. In one instance, Leland refers in Latin to “Edwardi Principis cog: Nigri” (i.e., “Edward the Prince, cognomen: The Black”); in the other, in English to “the Blake Prince”.In both instances, Leland is summarising earlier works – respectively, the 14th-century Eulogium Historiarum and the late 15th-century chronicle attributed to John Warkworth – but in neither case does the name appear in his source texts. In print, Roger Ascham in his Toxophilus (1545) refers to “ye noble black prince Edward beside Poeters”; while Richard Grafton, in his Chronicle at Large (1569), uses the name on three occasions, saying that “some writers name him the black prince”, and elsewhere that he was “commonly called the black Prince”. Raphael Holinshed uses it several times in his Chronicles (1577); and it is also used by William Shakespeare, in his plays Richard II (written c. 1595; Act 2, scene 3) and Henry V (c. 1599; Act 2, scene 4). In 1688 it appears prominently in the title of Joshua Barnes’s The History of that Most Victorious Monarch, Edward IIId, King of England and France, and Lord of Ireland, and First Founder of the Most Noble Order of the Garter: Being a Full and Exact Account Of the Life and Death of the said King: Together with That of his Most Renowned Son, Edward, Prince of Wales and of Aquitain, Sirnamed the Black-Prince.

Charles II’s desire to emphasize the traditional aspects of his kingship is most evident in his re-establishment of the Order of the Garter, the English order of chivalry. The significance he placed on the garter robes is apparent in various portraits of him, including a full-length depiction by Peter Lely (c. 1675). “His Majesty’s St. George’s robes” were created for him shortly after he ascended to the throne, in accordance with the traditional design. Sourceau and Allen were paid £30 “for making his majesty’s St. George’s robes with all their furniture and for attending at Windsor” (possibly to make last-minute adjustments before the garter feast) and an additional £4 10s for “a white satin suit for the installment.” They also crafted three pairs of satin breeches for his majesty’s St. George’s Day outfits. Charles II was resolute in his belief that the suit worn with the garter robes should have a traditional, backward-looking style. In April 1661, he opted to return to “the old trunk hose or round breeches, whereof the Stuff or Material shall be some such Cloth of Silver, as we shall chuse and appoint, wherein as we shall be to them an example, so we do expect that they will follow us in using the same and no other.” While trunk hose were reminiscent of fashion trends from the latter half of the sixteenth century, this interest in past styles not only emphasized the history of the Order of the Garter but also deliberately moved away from contemporary fashions, which were constantly changing. Additionally, it drew comparisons to the style and fabric of the doublet and hose chosen by his cousin, Louis XIV of France, to be worn beneath the mantle of the French Order of the Saint-Esprit.
Portrait of King Charles II of England (1630–1685), in Garter Robes and wearing the Order of the Garter (by Circle of Sir Peter Lely) ©wilipediacommon
King Charles II of England in Garter Robes 1680 ©wilipediacommon

Amidst his exile, Charles II lacked the traditional symbols of kingship known as regalia. As a result, he relied heavily on his garter regalia, which likely explains his strong attachment to the Order after the Restoration. Although Charles II only wore his garter robes during the order’s feast days, he demonstrated his loyalty by displaying the embroidered garter badge on the sleeves of his coats and cloaks. The accounts for 1678-79 reveal that Robert Graham received payment for making a light-colored coat and breeches with the coat adorned with purple, gold, and silver ribbon, as well as William Rutlish and George Pinkney receiving payment for embroidering the coat order. In addition, Charles II ordered silk ribbons to hang his lesser George on, as evidenced by the accounts for 1678-79 which show Richard Cartwright supplying nine pieces of George ribbon at a cost of £ 5431.

Other significant days at court that were celebrated by the king include Maundy Thursday during the 1660s and the days when the king touched ‘for the king’s evil. Although the king’s clothing accounts do not mention specific clothing made for these events, it is likely that Charles II chose silk garments with embroidered and applied decoration from his wardrobe. On the other hand, the king’s observation of St. David’s day required the king’s embroiderer to make leeks for key members of the royal family. In 1662-63, Edmund Harrison made two “rich leeks embroidered with pearls, gold and coloured silk for the king and queen” and smaller, less ornate versions for other members of the family at a cost of £ 13 7s 4d33. While court ceremonial events were important to Charles II, his reign also saw a change in approach to court ceremonial. Less emphasis was placed on court ceremonial, and members of the court formed stronger links with entertainments in London. As a result, tradition was important for significant events such as the coronation and ceremonies associated with the opening of Parliament, but it was allowed to slip to suit a new image of the English monarch that was more appropriate for the political climate after the Restoration.

Charles II was inspired by the past while he brought changes to his court’s fashion compared to his father’s court. Charles I preferred doublets with full sleeves, waistline pointing down at the centre front with long tabs, which were worn with fairly full breeches. His son, on the other hand, wore a short doublet and petticoat breeches and gradually shifted to a coat, waistcoat, and breeches. While satin was the favored fabric at his father’s court, Charles II chose cloth, camlet, and silk velvet for his suits and coats, with striped, flowered, and brocaded silks for his waistcoats. Charles II is often linked with creating an English style – the vest – and rejecting French fashion. John Evelyn had criticized the English interest in French fashion in his pamphlet five years earlier. While the vest was novel, many researchers have questioned whether it was an original idea. The king’s ongoing influence from his French relatives is evident from his letters sent to his sister Minette. Charles II reverted to styles derived from the French court for his suits in the 1670s. However, his accounts indicate his preference for English wools, including Norwich stuffs.

Great Plague/pesto of London

Between 1665 and 1666, there was a major outbreak of the plague in Europe. This outbreak was brought to London by a Norwegian trading ship and quickly spread throughout the city, which was particularly vulnerable due to its narrow streets and poor hygiene.

The plague is a bacterial infection spread by infected fleas and symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting, and swelling of the lymph nodes. The plague is highly contagious and can become a fatal illness when it becomes severe.

In London, people were infected and died one after another, leading to a shortage of burial places and the accumulation of bodies. Medical facilities in the city became overloaded, and many doctors and nurses became infected with the plague and died. Furthermore, the plague hindered the movement of people within London and dealt a serious blow to commerce and trade.The Great Plague killed an estimated 100,000 people—almost a quarter of London’s population—in 18 months. The plague was caused by the Yersinia pestis bacterium, which is usually transmitted through the bite to a human by a flea or louse.

The outbreak of the plague was a very difficult time for London’s citizens. However, it came to an end due to another disaster, the Great Fire of London in 1666. The Great Fire burned the city, destroying many buildings and streets and causing many people to lose their homes. However, this fire destroyed many unsanitary buildings that were considered the cause of the plague, resulting in improved sanitation in the city. Additionally, after the Great Fire of London, buildings in the city were rebuilt with higher fire resistance, transforming the city into a more disaster-resistant urban area.

The Great Fire of London

The Great Fire of London was a catastrophic event that occurred in 1666, causing significant damage to the city and altering its landscape forever. The fire began on September 2nd, 1666, in a bakery on Pudding Lane and quickly spread throughout the city, fueled by dry conditions and strong winds. Despite the efforts of firefighters and citizens, the fire raged for four days, consuming countless buildings and leaving the city in ruins.One of the main reasons the fire was so devastating was due to the lack of a coordinated response. The Lord Mayor, Sir Thomas Bloodworth, was slow to take action, and by the time he finally ordered the demolition of buildings to create firebreaks, the fire had already spread too far. This allowed the fire to continue its destructive path through the city, eventually destroying over 13,000 homes, 87 churches, and several significant landmarks, including St. Paul’s Cathedral.

The fire also had significant social and economic impacts. Many people were left homeless and without means to support themselves, leading to widespread poverty and hardship. As a result, many people fled the city, and those who remained struggled to rebuild their lives and the city around them.Despite the chaos and devastation caused by the Great Fire, there were also some positive outcomes. The fire helped to eliminate many of the city’s slums and unsanitary conditions, and it paved the way for the construction of new and improved buildings and infrastructure. Additionally, the fire prompted a renewed focus on fire prevention and firefighting techniques, leading to the creation of the first professional firefighting force in London.

The Great Fire of London had a significant impact on the reign of King Charles II. At the time of the fire, Charles was in Oxford, and upon receiving news of the disaster, he quickly returned to London to take charge of the relief efforts. During the aftermath of the fire, Charles worked to ensure that order was restored and that the city could be rebuilt. He ordered the demolition of buildings that were deemed unsafe, and he oversaw the creation of a plan for the reconstruction of the city. He also took steps to address the social and economic impacts of the fire, providing financial assistance to those who had lost their homes and encouraging people to stay in the city rather than fleeing to the countryside.

One of the challenges faced by Charles in the wake of the fire was the potential for social unrest. Many of the city’s residents were angry and frustrated, and there were concerns that this could lead to rebellion or even revolution. To prevent this, Charles took a number of steps to restore order, including suspending the writ of habeas corpus and authorizing the arrest and imprisonment of suspected troublemakers. Despite these measures, there were still many who were dissatisfied with the way that Charles handled the aftermath of the fire. Some felt that he had not done enough to prevent the disaster, while others criticized his response as heavy-handed and authoritarian. Nevertheless, Charles remained committed to rebuilding the city and restoring the confidence of its residents.

In the years that followed the Great Fire of London, Charles continued to oversee the reconstruction of the city, including the rebuilding of St. Paul’s Cathedral and the construction of new buildings and infrastructure. His efforts helped to transform London into a modern and vibrant city, and his reign is remembered as a time of great change and innovation in the history of England.

In 1666
A knee-length coat known as the justacorps or justaucorps (/ˈʒuːstəkɔːr/) was worn by men during the latter part of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century. This coat, of French origin, was introduced to England as part of a three-piece outfit that also included breeches and a long vest or waistcoat. This ensemble served as the predecessor to the frock coat, which later evolved into the three-piece suit worn today. As fashion trends changed over time, the fabric selection and style of the justacorps varied accordingly.
In 1666, Charles II of England transformed men’s fashion by introducing a new knee-length vest or waistcoat to be worn in combination with breeches and an overcoat of the same length. The coat was called the justacorps or cassock due to its resemblance to the vestments worn by priests. This ensemble is believed to be the ancestor of the modern-day three-piece suit worn by men. This outfit was a simpler, more “sober” version of the earlier but similarly designed justaucorps, veste, and culottes worn in the French court during King Louis XIV’s reign. By the 1670s, King Charles was increasingly influenced by French fashion, which spread to the English public.

According to Susan Mokhberi, the justaucorps was modeled after a similar Persian coat with floral embroidery and a tight-fitting body and sleeves. Like Persian rulers who bestowed the coat on important subjects as a symbol of favor, King Louis XIV also used the justaucorps in the same way, and it became associated with French absolutism and the similarities between the Safavid and Bourbon absolutist regimes. As fashion trends changed over time, the fabric selection and style of the justacorps varied accordingly.

The Convention Parliament was dissolved in December 1660, and, shortly after the coronation, the second English Parliament of the reign assembled. Dubbed the Cavalier Parliament, it was overwhelmingly Royalist and Anglican. It sought to discourage non-conformity to the Church of England and passed several acts to secure Anglican dominance. The Corporation Act 1661 required municipal officeholders to swear allegiance; the Act of Uniformity 1662 made the use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer compulsory; the Conventicle Act 1664 prohibited religious assemblies of more than five people, except under the auspices of the Church of England; and the Five Mile Act 1665 prohibited expelled non-conforming clergymen from coming within five miles (8 km) of a parish from which they had been banished. The Conventicle and Five Mile Acts remained in effect for the remainder of Charles’s reign. The Acts became known as the Clarendon Code, after Lord Clarendon, even though he was not directly responsible for them and even spoke against the Five Mile Act.

The Restoration was accompanied by social change. Puritanism lost its momentum. Theatres reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell, and bawdy “Restoration comedy” became a recognisable genre. Theatre licences granted by Charles required that female parts be played by “their natural performers”, rather than by boys as was often the practice before; and Restoration literature celebrated or reacted to the restored court, which included libertines such as John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester. Of Charles II, Wilmot supposedly said:

We have a pretty, witty king,
Whose word no man relies on,
He never said a foolish thing,
And never did a wise one

To which Charles is reputed to have replied “that the matter was easily accounted for: For that his discourse was his own, his actions were the ministry’s”.

From doublets to vests: how Charles II changed men’s fashion
During the seventeenth century, there was a notable shift in men’s fashion from the Jacobean era’s doublet and hose to the early Georgian period’s vest and coat.
In most cases such a shift is often an evolution over a period of time. With the vest and coat, however, the change can be pinpointed to a specific introduction by Charles II. The new male attire was introduced on 14th October 1666 to deal with direct accusations that England was being dictated to by France in all matters, right down to the clothes the court wore. France had long influenced the fashions of Europe and the wearing of another nation’s fashion signified subservience; in the patriarchal world of seventeenth-century England, France was making England its mistress simply through the dictation of court dress.
John Evelyn’s pamphlet, Tyrannus of 1661, condemned this fashion and offered a solution: “would the great Persons of England but owne their nation, and assert themselves as they ought to do, by making choice of some Virile and comely fashion.” The vest and coat introduced in 1666 were just that, according to Evelyn, “the most graceful, virile, and useful mode that ever appeared at court.” This new attire asserted England’s independence from foreign influence and presented a truly masculine example for the rest of society, as the English court dictated fashion.
Unlike the doublet, which gave the illusion of a figure through padding and whalebone contours, the coat and vest embraced the wearer’s natural form. It was made with English wool, rather than expensive silk, and lacked ribbon and gold thread, which were considered effeminate. The dress represented masculinity through honesty, thrift, and independence.Interestingly, this new fashion is rarely depicted in portraiture, with Peter Lely’s portrait of Sir Thomas Whitmore (1643–1682), KB being a rare example. However, any painting from the 1660s to the early 1700s on Art UK shows men dressed in silk Persian gowns.
Ironically, Charles II’s efforts to assert England’s independence from France through fashion were ultimately undermined by his overseeing of the Secret Treaty of Dover on May 22nd, 1670, which formed a close alliance with France in exchange for money and a promise to revert England to Catholicism. At the same time, the French court began to adopt the vest and coat, adding silk and other effeminate trinkets. The English court followed suit and became the subject of yet another debate on masculinity.

For a hat he prefers the Buckingamo or Montero , the Band or Cravat something soft , and so on .
Evelyn corrected this brochure for a second edition , and added the following note :
” Note that this was published two years before the Vest , Cravatt , Garters and Boucles came to be the fashion and therefore might haply give occasion to the change that ensued in those very particulars . “

The entry in the diary describing the sudden change of fashion is dated 18th October , 1666 .
” To court . It being the first time His Majesty put himself solemnly into the Eastern fashion of vest , changing doublet , stiff collar , bands and cloak , into a comely dress , after the Persian mode , with girdles or straps , and shoe – strings and garters into buckles , of which some were set with precious stones , resolving never to alter it , and to leave the French mode , which had hitherto obtained to our great expense and reproach . Upon which , divers courtiers and gentlemen gave His Majesty gold by way of wager that he would not persist in this resolution . I had sometime before presented an invective against that unconstancy , and our so much affecting the French fashion , to His Majesty ; in which I took occasion to describe the comeliness and usefulness of the Persian clothing , in the very same manner His Majesty now clad himself . This pamph let I entitled Tyrannus , or the Mode , and gave it to the King to read . I do not impute to this discourse the change which soon happened , but it was an identity that I could not but take notice of . “

Samuel Pepys ”DIARY”
1666 Oct
8th . Towards noon , by water to Westminster Hall , and there by several hear that the Parliament do resolve to do something to retrench Sir G . Carteret ‘ s great salary ; but cannot hear of any thing bad they can lay to his charge . The House did this day order to be engrossed the Bill against importing Irish cattle : a thing , it seems carried on by the Western Parliament – men , wholly against the sense of most of the rest of the House ; who think if you do this , you give the Irish again cause to rebel . Mr . Pierce says , the Duke of York and Duke of Albe marle do not agree . The Duke of York is wholly given up to this Lady Denham . The Duke of Albemarle and Prince Rupert do less agree . The King hath yesterday in Council declared his resolution of setting a fashion for clothes , which he will never alter . It will be a vest , I know not well how ; but it is to teach the nobility thrift , and will do good . By and by comes down from the Committee Sir W . Coventry , and I find him troubled at several things happened this afternoon . Which vexes me also ; our business looking worse and worse , and our work growing on our hands . Time spending , and no money to set any thing in hand with ; the end thereof must be speedy ruin . The Dutch insult and have taken off Bruant ‘ s head , which they had not dared to do ( though found guilty of the fault he did die for , of something of the Prince of Orange ‘ s faction ) till just now , which speaks more confidence in our being worse than before . Alderman Maynell , I hear , is dead . Thence returned in the dark by coach all alone , full of thoughts of the consequences of this ill complexion of affairs , and how to save the little I have , which if I can do , I have cause to bless God that I am so well , and shall be well contented to retreat to Bramp ton , and spend the rest of my days there . So to my office , and finished my Journal with resolutions , if God bless me , to apply myself soberly to settle all matters for myself , and expect the event of all with comfort
15th . Colvill tells me of the viciousness of the Court ; the contempt the King brings himself into thereby ; his minding nothing , but doing all things just as his people about him will have it ! The Duke of York becoming a slave to this Lady Denham , and wholly minds her . That there really were amours between the Duchesse and Sidny ; that there is reason to fear that , as soon as the Parliament have raised this money , the King will see that he hath got all that he can get , and then make up a peace ; that Sir W . Coventry is of the caball with the Duke of York , and Brouncker with this Lady Denham : which is a shame , and I am sorry for it , and that Sir W . Coventry do make her visits : but yet I hope it is not so . Pierce tells me , that Lady Castlemaine is con cluded to be with child again ; and that all the people about the King do make no scruple of saying that the King do intrigue with Mrs . Stewart , who , he says , is a most excellent – natured lady . This day the King begins to put on his vest , and I did see several persons of the House of Lords and Commons too , great courtiers , who are in it ; being a long cassocke close to the body , of black cloth , and pinked with white silk under it , and a coat over it , and the legs ruffled with black riband like a pigeon ‘ s leg : and upon the whole I wish the King may keep it , for it is a very fine and handsome garment . Lady Carteret tells me ladies are to go into a new fashion shortly , and that is , to wear short coats , above their ancles ; which she and I do not like ; but conclude
Samuel Pepys ©wikipediacomons
King Charles II’s Own Fashion: An Episode in Anglo-French Relations 1666-1670
Charles II Construction of new St Paul’s.
Charles II visiting Wren during the building of St Pauls . King, He died 1680.This illust maybe writing at 1668 to 1670s.
St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral in London, England, and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London and is a Grade I listed building.

The present cathedral was built by order of King Charles II over a period of 35 years from 1675. It was designed by Christopher Wren and features a large dome and two towers on the western facade, with dimensions of 157 m long, 74 m wide and 111 m high. It is considered a masterpiece of the Baroque style.

In 1661, five years prior to the devastating fire of 1666, Wren began providing counsel on the restoration of the Old St Paul’s. His proposal involved both interior and exterior upgrades to enhance the classical facade originally conceived by Inigo Jones in 1630. Wren envisioned replacing the worn-out tower with a dome, utilizing the existing framework as a scaffold. He created a sketch of the dome plan, which demonstrated his notion that it should stretch across the nave and aisles at the crossing.

After the fire, there was optimism that a significant portion of the old cathedral could be saved, but ultimately the entire edifice was torn down in the early 1670s. In July 1668, Dean William Sancroft contacted Wren, stating that he had been tasked by the Archbishop of Canterbury, in conjunction with the Bishops of London and Oxford, to formulate a design for a new cathedral that would be “Handsome and noble to all the ends of it and to the reputation of the City and the nation.” The design process lasted several years, but eventually, a plan was approved and attached to a royal warrant, with the caveat that Wren could make any further changes he deemed necessary.

The outcome was the current St Paul’s Cathedral, still the second largest church in Britain, with a dome declared as the finest in the world. The construction was financed by a coal tax and was completed during Wren’s lifetime, with many of the primary contractors employed for the duration.

Before 1660 Jan Baptist Weenix
Jan Baptist Weenix, also spelled Jan Baptiste Weeninx (1621–c. 1659) was a painter of the Dutch Golden Age. Despite his relatively brief career, he was a very productive and versatile painter. His favourite subjects were Italian landscapes with large figures among ruins, seaside views, and, later in life, large still life pictures of dead game or dogs. He was mainly responsible for introducing the Italian harbour scene into Dutch art, in mid-size paintings with a group of figures in the foreground.
However tight finances were, it is hard to imagine the king becoming a fashion designer, as can be seen by checking portraits from around the 1660s, but it is more likely that there was another fashion influence that simplified it.
17th century
In 1634, William Feilding, the 1st Earl of Denbigh, wore a coat resembling a justacorps. In the painting, his native servant wore a turban and sherwani, indicating that Feilding had visited Persia and India from 1631 to 1633. The portrait was likely painted soon after his return to commemorate his journey. Feilding’s outfit consisted of a silk Hindu or Indian jacket and pyjamas, and he was depicted hunting with an oriental servant who pointed out a parrot in a palm tree.
Although Charles II introduced a new outfit in 1666, the justacorps did not gain popularity until around 1680, replacing the previously popular doublet. The justacorps was a knee-length coat that covered an equal length vest and breeches underneath. It opened center front and had many buttons and buttonholes lining the entire length of the opening. The sleeves were fitted with deep cuffs, and some versions featured a flared skirt through the addition of gores and pleats. The justacorps was made of luxurious fabrics such as colorful silk, satin, brocade, damask, and wool and was often accented with contrasting fabrics of different colors and patterns displayed through turned-back cuffs or a decorative sash worn across the shoulders. Worn primarily by aristocratic, wealthy men, justacorps were very ornate in design. By the early 18th century, the justacorps silhouette had become wider, with a fuller skirt, and laid the foundation for men’s fashion throughout the rest of the century.
The Cut of Men’s Clothes by Norah Waugh 1678
Luis Francisco de la Cerda (later Duke of Medinacelli) in a red justacorps with horizontal pockets and lavish decoration, c. 1684. ©️wikipediacomon
James portrayed c. 1685 in his role as head of the army, wearing a general officer’s state coat
Portrait of Sir Charles Sedley 1687 Godfrey Kneller
Grinling Gibbons, c.1690 Godfrey Kneller
18th century
During the first half of the 18th century, the justacorps underwent changes in its appearance. Although its center front opening remained, the buttons only extended to the waist area, allowing for a fuller skirt. The cuffs became tighter and functional pockets were located at a more accessible hip-level position. The opening of the justacorps was rounded towards the mid-chest and flared away from the body. In the second half of the 18th century, the justacorps became narrower with a straight edge opening similar to the 17th century style. The sleeves reverted to a deep, turned back cuff. The choice of textiles varied depending on the use. Durable fabrics like wool were used for everyday situations and were less ornamented compared to those worn in elegant, formal settings. The justacorps made from ornate fabrics such as silk and brocade were decorated with elaborate embroidery and lace.
It is important to distinguish the justacorps from the frock coat, which was less ornate, had a different cut and silhouette, and did not become popular until the late 18th century. In the second half of the 18th century, the justacorps became narrower with a straight edge opening similar to the 17th century style. The sleeves reverted to a deep, turned back cuff. The choice of textiles varied depending on the use. Durable fabrics like wool were used for everyday situations and were less ornamented compared to those worn in elegant, formal settings. The justacorps made from ornate fabrics such as silk and brocade were decorated with elaborate embroidery and lace.
Portrait of William, Lord Digby, 1715 Godfrey Kneller
1750s? English waistcoat / VEST
Charles II was determined to create a style that was uniquely British as opposed to French fashion, and employed waistcoats to achieve this. He was particularly bored with French fashion and was looking for a new fashion style that expressed British uniqueness. Waistcoats were also relatively simple to make, thus gaining popularity as an easily wearable garment for the general public.

According to Samuel Peeps, who recorded his diary, waistcoats began to be worn in place of coats in 1666 Oct 17. He wrote in his diary on that date that.

“The Court is all full of vests; only my Lord St. Albans not pinked, but plain black – and they say the King says the pinking upon white makes them look too much like magpies, and therefore hath bespoke one of plain velvet.”

Charles II was keenly aware that the waistcoat had become a fashion item expressing British uniqueness and declared that he would ‘never change’ its style. The waistcoat later became a very popular garment in Britain and was worn by many.

Portrait of Sir John Armytage (1732-58) 2nd Bart of Kirklees, 1758
(Portrait of Charles John Crowle of Crowle Park, 1761-62
George III, 1738 – 1820. Reigned 1760 – 1820, by Studio of Allan Ramsay, 1763. Oil on canvas.
Portrait of John Monck, 1764
Retrato de D. Manuel de Roda, 1765
Portrait of Thomas Fortescue 1767
Sir Christopher Wren, 1711 Godfrey Kneller
Portrait of John Talbot, later 1st Earl Talbot 1773
Portrait of John Scott of Banks Fee, 1774
The Grand Tourist, like Francis Basset, would become familiar with Antiquities, though this altar is an invention of the painter Pompeo Batoni, 1778.©️wikipediacomon
In the history of France from the 17th century to the 18th century, we can see the rise and fall of the royal nobility.
In the early 17th century, Cardinal Richelieu, who was close to French King Louis XIII, became Prime Minister and strengthened the royal power to stabilize domestic and international situations. After Richelieu’s death, Cardinal Mazarin, who succeeded him as Prime Minister, continued the same policy and strengthened the French monarchy.However, in the mid-17th century, the nobles began to rebel against the monarchy. The Fronde rebellion, led by the nobles, shook the royal power temporarily. Although the rebellion was suppressed, the dissatisfaction of the nobles did not dissipate, and the conflict between the monarchy and the nobles continued even under the reign of Louis XIV. Louis XIV adopted a policy of direct rule without appointing a prime minister, which weakened the power of the nobles. Also, he promoted cultural and artistic development, such as the establishment of the Royal Academy, to enhance the prestige of the kingdom. However, during the later years of his reign, financial difficulties and religious issues arose, and the domestic and international situations became unstable.
Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinthe Rigaud, c. 1701 The Earl of Denbigh by Anthony van Dyck ©️wikipediacomon
In the 18th century, Louis XV came to the throne. He pursued a policy of tolerance towards the nobles, which further deepened the conflict between the monarchy and the nobles. France was also involved in wars with neighboring countries, such as the Seven Years’ War, and its national strength declined.In such a situation, the French Revolution broke out in the late 18th century. The revolution began with dissatisfaction towards the nobles and the monarchy and had a significant impact not only in France but also in world history.
1770s? FRENCH waistcoat / VESTE
1610s, “loose outer garment” (worn by men in Eastern countries or in ancient times), from French veste “a vest, jacket” (17c.), from Italian vesta, veste “robe, gown,” from Latin vestis “clothing,” from vestire “to clothe” (from PIE *wes- (2) “to clothe,” extended form of root *eu- “to dress”). The sleeveless garment worn by men beneath the coat was introduced by Charles II in a bid to rein in men’s attire at court, which had grown extravagant and decadent in the French mode.

The Rococo fashion trend was characterized by opulence, elegance, refinement, and ornamentation. In contrast to the seventeenth-century women’s fashion, the eighteenth-century fashion was more sophisticated and ornate, reflecting the true style of Rococo. This trend extended beyond the royal court and became popular in the salons and cafes of the rising bourgeoisie. The exuberant and playful style of decoration and design that we now know as ‘Rococo’ was referred to as le style rocaille, le style moderne, and le gout at that time.

The robe volante, a flowing gown with a bodice and large pleats flowing down the back to the ground over a rounded petticoat, gained popularity during the early eighteenth century, towards the end of King Louis XIV’s reign. The color palette was rich and dark, with elaborate and heavy design features. After Louis XIV’s death, fashion evolved into a lighter and more frivolous style, marking the transition from the baroque period to the well-known Rococo style. Pastel colors, more revealing frocks, and trims such as frills, ruffles, bows, and lace became popular.

An Embarrassing Proposal, 1715-16 Jean Antoine Watteau

The later period introduced the typical women’s Rococo gown, the robe à la Française, which had a tight bodice with a low cut neckline, large ribbon bows down the centre front, wide panniers, and lavish trims of lace, ribbon, and flowers. The Watteau pleats, named after the painter Jean-Antoine Watteau, became more popular, with gowns featuring intricate details down to the stitches of lace and other trimmings. The ‘pannier’ and ‘mantua’ also became fashionable, featuring wide hoops under the dress that extended the hips out sideways, becoming a staple in formal wear. These features originated from seventeenth-century Spanish fashion, initially designed to hide the pregnant stomach, and were later reimagined as the pannier.

Die musikalischen Wettbewerb Jean Honore Fragonard 1732

1745 marked the Golden Age of the Rococo, with the introduction of an exotic and oriental culture in France known as a la turque, made popular by Louis XV’s mistress, Madame Pompadour. In the 1760s, a style of less formal dresses emerged, such as the polonaise, inspired by Poland, and the robe a l’anglais, incorporating elements inspired by male fashion. Accessories were also important, as they added to the opulence and decor of the body, with ladies required to wear gloves to cover their hands and arms at official ceremonies if their clothes were sleeveless.

French Revolution (1796/7/14 – 1795/8/22)
Antoine-François Callet – Louis XVI, roi de France et de Navarre (1754-1793), revêtu du grand costume royal en 1779 Les Incroyables, 1796 Objecttype: modeprent spotprent
Gravure illustrant la décapitation de Louis XVI
Français, si je meurs, n’oubliez pas de toujours désirer le bonheur de la patrie.
Frenchmen, if I die, do not forget to always desire the happiness of the homeland.
The end of aristocratic society in the French Revolution.
The Incroyables, meaning “incredibles” in French, were a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the French Directory (1795-1799), along with their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses or “marvelous women.” After surviving the Reign of Terror, they sought catharsis and connection through extravagance, decadence, and frivolity. They hosted numerous lavish parties and introduced fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today may seem exaggerated or even effete. Their upper-class accent, in which the letter R was barely pronounced, led to them being mockingly referred to as “incoyable” or “meveilleuse.” The movement heavily influenced the politics, clothing, and arts of the time, with even members of the ruling classes participating. The Incroyables originated from the muscadins, anti-Jacobin street gangs in Paris during the 1790s. Although the terms are often used interchangeably, the muscadins were generally from a lower social class, being mostly middle-class. The era of the Incroyables ended when society became more sober and modest.

Two ‘Incroyables’, so called because they, together with their female counterpart ‘the Merveilleuses’, dressed extravagantly as a rebellious group during the French Directoire (`1795-1799) . Left: ‘incroyable’ dressed in a frak, striped waistcoat and calf trousers. Cravate. Striped stockings. Accessories: earring in right ear, diamond brooch(?), walking stick, top hat, boots with pointed noses. Right: ‘incroyable’ dressed in a frak with large lapel and double row of buttons. Striped waistcoat and knee-length trousers. Striped cravate. Stockings. Accessories: stitch with coathanger, lorgnet in hand, earring in left ear, brooch(?) in the shape of a crescent moon, walking stick, flat shoes with pointed noses.

Les Incroyables, 1796 Objecttype: modeprent spotprent
A separate section will cover the history of clothing from the French Revolution to the present-day French Republic. With the decline of the monarchy, France’s global influence waned, and power shifted to Britain during the Industrial Revolution and then to the United States. During this period, clothing trends aligned with these shifting power structures. Despite this, France’s cultural influence has remained significant, particularly in the realms of art and fashion. Even in the 20th century, France has maintained its uniqueness in these areas, and no other country can compare.
So I ask you. Do you like France?”
I always love.
Jacques-Luc Barbier-Walbonne, Bon Adrien Jeannot Moncey, Duke of Conegliano, Marshal of France, Oil on canvas. 1806
– References –
William Morris
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リバティプリントデザイン図鑑 世界でもっとも美しいテキスタ
酒井 惠美 (著)
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William Morris
Christine Poulson (日本語訳版あり)