English, Man’s suit, ca. 1765, Brushed and fulled-wool plain weave; Center back length: 105.4 cm (41 1/2 inches) (coat), Mary B. Jackson Fund 1995.054
A beautiful example of eighteenth-century tailoring, this man’s suit is made from a restrained taupe fulled-wool fabric that accentuates its cut. The labor-intensive process of fulling subjected the woven textile to moisture, agitation, and pressure, followed by a mechanical raising of the cloth’s pile through rubbing. This technique increased the cloth’s strength and density and gave a soft, luxuriant feel to the finished fabric. A retreat from the French-influenced heavily embellished silk garments worn at court, this suit’s apparent simplicity correlates to the shift in taste towards an aesthetic associated with nature and the English countryside. The style came to be known as Anglomania and eventually supplanted the French taste in both England and France.