Victorian London - Clothing - Clothing of the 1830s/1840s

The dress of the men and women of that time can be studied in the illustrations to Nicholas Nickleby and other contemporary publications: "dandies" wore high-collared coats and roll-collared waistcoats, short in the waist; round their necks were high stiff stocks, with "an avalanche of satin" falling over the chest, and ornamented with a large and a small pin connected with a thin chain; and high sharp-pointed - almost Gladstonian - shirt-collars. No gentleman could wear anything in the daytime but Wellington boots, high up the leg, over which the trousers fitted tightly, covering most of the foot, and secured underneath by a broad strap. The great-coats of those days were no misnomers. They were really enormous garments, adorned with several capes and deep pockets; they were Chesterfields, Petershams, Taglionis, Sylphides; and well I recollect some splendid driving-coats, ornamented with enorrnous mother-o'-pearl buttons as big as crown-pieces, with pictures on them of mail-coaches going full speed, which were exhibited to admiring crowds in the tailor's window in Regent Street. Afterwards came the neat paletot, the blanket-like poncho, the blue pilot, and the comfortable Inverness. Some old gentlemen wore cloaks, too, in my youth; and I have a dim recollection of one kind, properly, I believe, called roquelaure, but known to the London public as a "rockelow."

Edmund Yates, His Recollections and Experiences, 1885
[chapter on 1836-1847]