The Sack Suit

 This ad for a sack suit is in the New York Public Library’s Digital Gallery, and is dated 1900.  Click on the picture to enlarge it.  The model is drawn to be svelte, but the jacket is still big.  On an ordinary man, the jacket was big and boxy.

The caption reads, “The New Bowdoin Sack Suit” and below it, “About the nobbiest that you will see this season.”

I love the style of the text — the voice — in ads around 1900.  They all sound as if they were written by the same person.

Sack suits were more casual than knee-length suit jackets, called frock coats or frock suits, which were formal but still for daytime.

“The sack suit … was leisure wear for men who might wear a frock coat, and the best clothes of vast majority of American men,” writes Walter Nelson.  “A banker would wear a sack suit to a picnic, and a cowboy or farmer would wear it to church,”  he writes at  The Gentleman’s Page , an entertaining resource about historic menswear on http://WalterNelson.com.

Author: Pamela Tartaglio

For my vacation, I'd like to go to America a hundred years ago. Instead, I visit cool historic places, art museums and read. I share on my blog, Past and Present with Pamela. People who aren't history buffs tell me they enjoy these glimpses into the past. Please come and visit.

5 thoughts on “The Sack Suit”

  1. This is a great topic. I see items about women’s Victorian and Edwardian clothing, but little about men’s attire, earlier and later. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Yes, and there is a big difference between a sack suit and a frock suit, in class as well as cut, and it matters to the readers of historical fiction and nonfiction. I’ll have to post more photos of these suits. Besides, those knee-length frock coats are sexy. Think Wyatt Earp. Thanks for leaving a comment, Joyce.

Leave a comment. We'd love to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s