The term jacket has a variety of meanings and and even wider variety of actual types. A jacket is a garmet for the upper body, usually with a front opening and having a collar, sleeves, and pockets. Jacket-like garments evolved from medieval doublets. The term is French in origin, evolving from the short coats worn by French peasants. Modern jackets are primarily a garment worn for warmth in cool weather or the upper part of a suit worn as dress wear. Jackets differ from coats which are cold waether garments in that they are generally lighter and shorter. There are also jackets make for cold weather. Boys will wear heavy jackets during the winter rather than coats cut longer like overcoats. Jackets are cut in a wide vaeriety of styles for specialized purposes. Jackets are also worn for dresswear, often with lapels. These jackets worn with suits are also called coats as are sports jackets, a more casual style, which is worn without matching trousers.
The term jacket has a variety of meanings and and even wider variety of actual types. A jacket is a garmet for the upper body, usually with a front opening and having a collar, sleeves, and pockets.
The term is French in origin, evolving from the short coats worn by French peasants. The Middle English term was "jaket" and the Middle French was "jaquet" which was a dimunative of "jaque" meaning a short jacket from "jacque" for a French peasant. Gentlemen in the 17th and 18th century wore long coats falling at times to just above the knees. The shorter jackets were worn by laborers including peasants.
One of the first jacket-like garments was the doublet ("pourpoint" in French). Modern jackets can be said to have evolved from Renaissance doublets. The doublet was a close-fitting, short jacket worn by men beginning in the 14th century, apparently in England. Initially the doublet was a long sleevless fitted garment with buttons worn without sleeves.
Sleeves and collars were added in the 15th century and the garment was cut, orimarily covering the chest and shoulders. The term "doublet" was derived from the French word double, which meant layers of material. The French name derived from the term for quilting. The doublet became a popular garment throughout western Europe during the 15th century. Subsequent versions of the doublet had varying lengths of material below the waist. The doublet came to be worn over a shirt and hose which were tied together.
Men in the mid-16th century began weaing jerkins, a close fitting, hip-length sleevless jacket that was often mafe from weather and worn over the doublet. The origin of the word jerkin is unknown. Gradually the doublet evolved into the waistcoat.
The French Revolution had a huge impact on fashion. One of the influences was to popularize the dress of the common man. The Paris mobs which spearheaded the Revolutions were called the "sancullotes" because they wore long trousers insread of knee breeches. The short jackers of the peasentry were also part of the fashion revolution and the long coats worn by the airistocracy and fashionable wealthy class as well as wigs began to go out of style.
Wigs disappeared very quickly at the end of the 18th century and were little seen in the 19th century. Knee breeches and long coats persisted into the early 19th century. Jackets did not become more widely worn until after the second half of the 19th century.
Modern jackets are primarily a garment worn for warmth in cool weather or the upper part of a suit worn as dress wear. There are also a wide variety of specialized styles.
The term jacket and coat as a cold weather garment are sometimes used interchanheably. In modern usage, jackets differ from coats which are cold weather garments in that they are generally lighter and shorter. There are also jackets make for cold weather. Boys will wear heavy jackets during the winter rather than coats cut longer like overcoats. Often the shorter jacket is more commonly worn by boys than the longer coats. Examples are the anorak, parka, ski jacket, and others.
Jackets are cut in a wide variety of styles for specialized purposes. Many of these specialized jackets are worn by men rather than boys. Terminology can vary from country to country. A lounging jacket is called a smoking jacket in the United States and in England a tuxedo jacket is called a smoking jacket. A tuxedo jacket is also referred to as a dinner jacket. There are a variety of short jackets such as the bolero, bellboy, mess jacket, battle jacket (often called an Eisenhower jacket).
The jackets worn with suits are also called coats as are sports jackets, a more casual style, which is worn without matching trousers. In this sence jacket is used interchangeably with coats. Jackets worn for dresswear often have lapels, the principal exception being the Eton jacket.
Suit jackets/coats: Suit jackets for boys first appeared with the skeleton suits in the late 19th century. Since then a great diversity of styles have been worn. Some have been quite plain, some very fancy--hardly seen as suitable for a rough and tumble boy in our modern casual era. Some suit jackets have been quite destinct from the suits worn by a boy's father while others have been quite similar. The conventions for wearing suits has changed considerably. Styles have also changed significantly overr time. Many styles of suit jackets were developed in England in the 19th century. Out modern styles for suit are basically just refinements of these styles. There have also been important difference among countries in the styles of jackets worn by boys, although perhaps not as significant as the country differences with pants.
Sport jackets/coats: Sport jackets or coats as we now know them began to appear after the World War I (1914-18). I am not positive why they are called sport coats. Certainly they are not worn for sport. Probably the term originated in England where they do strange things (I hope our British friends wont be to offended) like dress up in ties and jackets for sports. British boys at prestigious Public schools (a strange term for exclusive private schools) might wear might wear a brightly colored blazer, for example, for cricket or other sports. Not only did the players dress up, but the spectators who came to see the games ("matches" for our British friends) also dressed up. The term sport coat as it is now used probably refers to a suit-type jacket for informal special occasions, such as sporting events, but not occasions formal enough to require a suit with matching trousers. The players in cricket, for example, would wear the white trousers worn at a cricket match. The players would usually take off their blazers to actually play in the match.
A wide variety of pants and trousers have been worn with different types of jackets. This has included kneepants, knickers, short pamts, and long pants as well as many stylistic variations of these basic types. Younger bous, for example might wear suspender shorts with suitsrather than regular short pants. The type of trousers has varied over time as well as with the type of jacket. There have also been substantial differences among countries, although this has varies over time. During some periods there have been substantial similarities between countries such as is the case today.
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