A Coat for all Ages
The frock coat / captain’s coat / gentlemen’s coat, whatever you want to call it, this style of coat, which can still be seen in formal wear today has been around for centuries.
First, a brief definition. The frock coat is a formal coat with skirts that hang to the thigh or longer all around the waist of the coat. In most cases the frock coat is fitted and the waist of the coat is substantially smaller around then the chest of the coat. In some cases the frock coat will have tails instead of the long skirt. Also, the frock coat usually has lapels that are made out of a different material then the fabric that the rest of the coat is made out of.
Here are a couple of ways that you will see the frock coat in and around the Ren Faire and other various faires:
Pirate Captain’s Coat
Here is the one that interests me the most. The captains coat, will range from the very ornate to the very plain and course. Whether you get one with frills of one without, you will find that almost all pirate coats have one thing in common, Rounded or tapered tails to the coat, big pockets and of course, it can become an expression of the pirate himself. Seeing as the coats during the Golden Age of Piracy came off the merchants and naval captains of the day, they would be brightly colored and most of the time they would not be coordinated with the rest of their outfit.
The other version of the Captain’s coat is the coat that was made for warmth, out of course material, and usually lined the less elaborate coats were actually made with utility i mind. You can see a great example of the useful an the ornate in the PotC movies. Jack Sparrow’s frock coat if very useful and not very elaborate, while Barbossa wears a very fancy coat that fits the feel of his character much better.
Due to the love of the frock coat during the Victorian age, the frock coat can be seen on almost every character type at Steampunk and Victorian faires. Whether you are looking for the gentlemanly look or if you are wanting to make yourself the penultimate steampunk explorer, a frock coat might just be the finishing touch that you need. Add some embroidered cog-works or gears, fashion gears onto it and then you will be set.
A few things to keep in mind when buying a frock coat:
- If you try it on with regular street clothes remember that you are going to need room in it to move around. A poet shirt, a vest, a baldric and much more are going to take up room inside that frock coat. You might want to buy big.
- Think about the heat. If the faires you attend are mostly summer month faires and they are not in the extreme north then a frock coat might cook you while you are wearing it.
- Also, think outside of the box. The frock coat can be your most versatile friend. Looking for a pirate outfit – frock coat. Looking for more of the landed gentry look – frock coat. French nobleman – frock coat. Try one on at the next faire you attend. See ho you like it.