Clothes Make the Man

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M973.49.7 M973.49.11.1-3 II-100033 M963.4.1.1-3 M978.32 II-109450 M987.48.1 M18267 M980.37.2
Evening coat, Montreal Hunt Club
H. Young
About 1880, 19th century
Gift of Mrs. H. McEachran Young
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Coat (40)
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Keys to History

The specialized clothing required for participation in élite activities presented barriers to social climbers and reinforced existing social hierarchies. Any man could buy a frock coat, either ready-made from a mail-order house or custom-made by the finest tailor, and thereby challenge the status quo, but only those men who already had access to the right social clubs wore the clothing associated with them.

Uniforms and ceremonial dress like this Montreal Hunt Club evening dress coat played a dual role. They not only reinforced hierarchy and group membership, they also provided élite men with opportunities for overt displays of fashion.

  • What

    The cutaway skirts of this Montreal Hunt Club coat identify it as an evening dress coat, as opposed to the full-skirted field coat.

  • Where

    This coat would have been worn to formal Hunt Club dinners, receptions and balls.

  • When

    The Montreal Hunt Club was founded in 1826. This coat was worn during the last quarter of the 19th century.

  • Who

    Prominent members of the Montreal Hunt Club in the 19th century included Hugh Montagu Allan (1860-1951), a Montreal business man, banker and avid amateur sportsman, and Hugh Paton, president of McGill University from 1896 to 1899.