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Court Dress

In 1869 the Lord Chamberlain’s office issued new guidelines governing the wearing of court dress. In an effort to standardise the appearance of gentlemen attending at court, the guidelines prescribed a suit of clothes cut from black silk velvet and trimmed with cut steel buttons. Hitherto court uniform had consisted of a coat and breeches of superfine cloth worn with a floral waistcoat. This in turn had descended from the lavishly decorated court clothes that were worn during the reign of King George III.

 

This new, more restrained style of dress became the regulation uniform for high sheriffs and retained some of the elements of dress from a previous age. Amongst these was a species of folding cocked hat known as a chapeau–bras which first made its appearance in the dying years of the 18th century, together with the black silk rosette worn at the back of the neck – the last vestige of the bag wig of the 1740s. The coat itself echoed the style of the 1780s though the advancement of 19th century tailoring techniques lent a more fitted silhouette to this later garment. To offset this more sober uniform, a great variety of cut steel buttons, shoe buckles and sword hilts were produced, allowing the wearer to express his personal taste.

 

Today we make shrieval court dress to much the same standards set a century or more ago. Whether for ladies or gentlemen, each suit is fully bespoke, cut and handmade from the finest Italian velvet, trimmed with a choice of buttons and shoe buckles in the correct court patterns. For ladies we offer a design service and are happy to advise on style and choice of material. We also undertake the alterations and renovation of court uniform.