Thursday, January 6, 2011

Lending a whole new meaning to "Menswear Inspired"

A friend of mine tipped me off to a small but beautiful collection of free downloadable patterns online--all eighteenth century menswear presented by Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Our first collective opinion was "ladies clothes next?" followed shortly by adoration for this banyan:


Isn't it the pips? Gorgeous fabric. Sumptuous cut. That kicky high collar and double breasted design.

A banyan is an at-home garment, much like modern sweatpants, but for wearing, not while watching the football game, but for while you're lounging about your study reading important things by comtemporary philosophes while smoking an intricately carved pipe and calling your mistress over with another glass of port. Or that's how I imagine it. No, really, it's essentially a robe or dressing gown. They were often made in rich fabrics or bright Indian cotton prints. Though examples exist of dressing gowns from the eighteenth century for ladies, they seem to have been most popular as men's garments. Men liked their banyans so much that they were often painted in them, lounging in their studies, reading important things...suffice to say, this banyan is a men's garment.

For men? Forget about it. They can stick with their sweatpants. We all want one as a winter coat! What do you think? With a pair of slim jeans and a good pair of boots? Or a crazy-full crinoline skirt underneath?

More free patterns with full description of the extant garments on which they are based here.

11 comments:

Nicole MacDonald said...

wow... tad overdone for lounging at home in my humble opinion *lol* it is beautiful though

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dolleygurl said...

Oh jeans and boots for sure! Gorgeous - but i cant see it as a mans outfit!

Connie said...

I want one!!

Rowenna said...

Nicole--no kidding, those eighteenth-century dandies didn't dress down for anything!

Dolley--would be a fab winter outfit!

Connie--me too!!

Isis said...

That banyan is so gorgeous!

Rowenna said...

Isis--isn't it, though? I kinda wish they still made "loungewear" like this :)

Miss Rosemary said...

Oh it's DEF a winter coat. I love it. Not for men, unless it's in the context you imagine it. I think a guy would be laughed out of town wearing that today but a girl could make it chic. Go for it, and buy some kickass boots to match.

Rowenna said...

Rosemary--I know, I can think of very few men who could pull this off in a modern context. In the eighteenth century, it would look totally snazzy though!

Katy F. said...

I love it! It would so look great with jeans and boots!

The Dreamstress said...

Oooh...I'd love it with skinny jeans and boots!

Helen said...

Absolutely love this! I've been looking for a distinctive winter coat. I think you may have solved the problem for me.