Chapter

The Three-Piece Suit

David Kuchta

in The Three-Piece Suit and Modern Masculinity

Published by University of California Press

Published in print May 2002 | ISBN: 9780520214934
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520921399 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520214934.003.0004
The Three-Piece Suit

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This chapter demonstrates the ideologies that influenced the introduction of the three-piece suit. It notes that after the restoration of Charles II, the crown's role as arbiter of taste would be defined in terms of inculcating new yet purportedly timeless virtues: thrift, modesty, economy, mixed with gentility, nobility, and politeness. It further notes that in introducing the three-piece suit, Charles II attempted to appropriate an iconoclastic, oppositional ideology and use it to redefine court culture, thereby restoring the crown's moral authority and political legitimacy. It emphasizes that the three-piece suit was to be Charles II's permanent fashion statement, a style that attempted to teach the nobility thrift and put a stop to the seemingly constant alteration of styles, so disruptive of political stability, as John Evelyn believed.

Keywords: ideologies; three-piece suit; restoration; Charles II; virtues; fashion statement; thrift; John Evelyn

Chapter.  4691 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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