drrobert

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
104
Design for a modern-looking Inverness coat

Moderator's Note: In the course of the discussion about the demise of the hat as an essential element in gentlemen's apparel, a conversation began about the Inverness cape/cloak/coat. In order to keep that discussion from being lost among the postings on headwear, I thought it prudent to begin a separate thread on this subject. One can find the introductory postings as well as the discussion of what caused the disappearance of men's hats here.
As indicated by some of your posts, I believe that a modern-day looking Inverness overcoat would be a stellar addition to any gentleman's wardrobe. I can envision such a coat due to its uniqueness , its understated elegance, and quality of construction producing "double takes" for most viewers of that garment and individuals coming up to the wearer and pleading desperately to know "where did you get that overcoat?" I see the starting point for this coat beginning with Thomas Mahon's most recent copy of Victorian overcoat done in gray(see his website for a picture of this gorgeous looking coat) with truncated features for the cape portion lending a more modern flair of that overcoat . Perhaps there could be other features of such an overcoat that could be tweaked to look more modern and I would like to know what those would be. I would humbly ask Thomas Mahon or Chris Despos or any other competent designer to rough sketch or rough draft what they believe a 21st century looking Inverness coat would look like. If they or someone else can come up a design that will produce the effects on observers that I think would automatically follow from such a beautiful piece of tailoring, then I would be happy to go forth for such a bespoke overcoat and gladly make it my first official pictorial post for AAAC public scruitiny and commentary.drrobert
 
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Sator

Honors Member
3,547
Patterns for an Inverness Coat

I would humbly ask Thomas Mahon or Chris Despos or any other competent designer to rough sketch or rough draft what they believe a 21st century looking Inverness coat would look like. If they or someone else can come up a design that will produce the effects on observers that I think would automatically follow from such a beautiful piece of tailoring, then I would be happy to go forth for such a bespoke overcoat
The tailors on the forum might like to confirm this but my impression is that it is much easier if you give your tailor a working pattern to cut off rather than getting him to draught a tricky garment from scratch. If you really are serious about it I would suggest going to one of those tailors with pictures of the completed garment along with the following patterns:

1. Louis Devere : The Handbook of Practical Cutting (1866)



2. Vincent c.1888 quoted from Waugh, The Cut of Men's Clothes 1600-1900:




You should sit down with your tailor and work out how to adapt the pattern to your measurements. You might also like to get Devere from Amazon as it has text describing how to cut the garment.
 
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drrobert

Active Member with Corp. Privileges
104
To SATOR

Your illustration of an Inverness coat is a good place to start at, but I would want something more modernistic. Possibly it would mean the caped portions would be much shorter so that buttons would show more or it might mean a 12-18" flap on the back in gray wool with red lining that could be seen underneath the flap and then that flap just continues over the shoulder for maybe 10-12" and sweeps away from the top of the overcoat to reveal the shirt and tie underneath. Like anything else, as difficult as construction would be for this garment, the thought process involved in the design for such an overcoat is even harder. But back to your illustration, it certainly functions well as a starting off point which I hope that between myself and others will result in a design that would be worthy of Chris Despos or Tom Mahon or any other competent bespoke tailor of note. drrobert
 

Sator

Honors Member
3,547
Your illustration of an Inverness coat is a good place to start at, but I would want something more modernistic. Possibly it would mean the caped portions would be much shorter so that buttons would show more or it might mean a 12-18" flap on the back in gray wool with red lining that could be seen underneath the flap and then that flap just continues over the shoulder for maybe 10-12" and sweeps away from the top of the overcoat to reveal the shirt and tie underneath.
It's really up to your imagination and your tailor now. You can also see that the first pattern gives you options for a cape that is more or less full so obviously they made adjustments according to individual preferences back then too. I find it is a fine balance between wanting to maintain authenticity and modernising the garment to make it as wearable today as you can.

Maybe some of the tailors here can provide some input?
 

medwards

Honored Professor | Moderator, All Forums
5,117
United States
DC
Washington
Moderator's Note: In the course of the discussion about the demise of the hat as an essential element in gentlemen's apparel, a conversation began about the Inverness cape/cloak/coat. In order to keep that discussion from being lost among the postings on headwear, I thought it prudent to begin a separate thread on this subject. The previous four postings in the thread you are now reading were from that thread. One can find the introductory postings as well as the discussion of what caused the disappearance of men's hats here.
 
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DougNZ

Advanced Member
2,312
New Zealand
Hawkes Bay
Hastings
Inverness capes are still regularly worn by people in Scottish National Dress, particularly pipe bandsmen. These are mainly nylon to be waterproof, but some of the manufacturers make beautiful examples in wool, also.
 

Kav

Inactive user
5,193
This is a gut reaction and niether condemnation or approval for your project. I got to try on an Inverness, have a maker in the U.K. earmarked from an older post for one someday. Many garments, especially for outdoors have settled on dimensions and details because THEY WORK.
 

comrade

Senior Member
786
Probably 35 years ago J. Press in New York,
before they even had a street-level storefront,
sold Inverness Capes. I assume it was RTW,
although the garment could have been a sample
for their "custom" trade. In any case, one might
contact them. At the time, of course, Press
was a family-owned business and records and/
or patterns may have disappeared when the firm
was acquired by a Japanese(I believe) corporation
in the 80s.
 

WA

Honors Member
3,968
United States
WA
Bellingham
Capes are rather easy to make. Not much to them.

Decide what you like, how many buttons, if any. How long or short. Inverness means sleeveless coat.
 

Concordia

Advanced Member
2,647
United States
Massachusetts
Newton
Apart from the antique-show value, does anyone have a sense of what the practical use of the Inverness might be?

It seems that the cape has some ability to deflect snow and rain that might otherwise cling to the back of a standard topcoat. But the wearer's suit jacket sleeves would be exposed, which is an obvious deficit in extreme weather.

Any other thoughts?
 
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