At the Queen’s Gallery, Style and Society: Dressing the Georgians, drawn mainly from the Royal Collection, has intriguing observations about Van Dyck style, masquerade, dressing children, wigs and uniform. Although the focus was inevitably on upper-class portraits, there were some interesting counter-currents.

This cartoon by Rowlandson, Three Principal Requisites to Form a Modern Man of Fashion (1814), shows clothes that were becoming fashionable at the time, including jockey boots, trousers and frock coats, which had their origins in working-class dress. The frock coat was looser cut and more comfortable than the coat previously in fashion. Young men adopted the mannerisms of the lower classes, to the dismay of their elders and the ridicule of Rowlandson, who observes that the man of fashion is now required to dress like a coachman, to study boxing and bull-baiting and speak fluent slang. In a few decades, trousers and frock coats had become the norm.

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