fancy dress suit
Ace of Clubs fancy costume for a boy of about 8 Jacket : Red cotton, open down front, fasening with hooks and eyes. Long sleeves. Neck, front opening, hem and cuffs trimmed with yellow bands on which black clubs ar appliqued. Belt to match. Knickers/shorts : Black satin. Three button, concealed front fastening. Four metal buttons at front waist, two buttons at CB. Cape : Black satin, lined with red cotton, fastening with two press stud fastners either side neck CF. Stiffened collar. Lower end sewn back to show lining at front. Cap : Black satin with net lning. Turned up and stiffened brim. Red cotton with clubs in applique of black cotton. Neck frill : Spotted net, pleated and mounted on narrow central tape, fastening with single hook and eye.
This outfit was worn by Patrick Tait, aged four and a half, at a fancy dress party in Bangalore, India, in September 1913, and a photograph of him in the outfit is below. The tunic, shorts, cloak and crown-shaped hat are made inexpensively from black, red and yellow cotton satin, decorated with glued-on 'club' shapes, cut from black cotton. The outfit would have been comfortable to wear, unlike other contemporary suggestions for children's fancy dress, such as 'Humpty Dumpty' or 'Gainsborough's Blue Boy', and instantly recognisable from packs of playing cards. Patrick's parents, like many Britons, lived and worked in India in the early twentieth century, when it was part of the British Empire. Most British families felt isolated and homesick in India, and parties and social events, run on as British lines as possible, were very important to them. Fancy dress parties for both children and adults were extremely popular in Britain from the 1880s to the 1930s, and the fashion was eagerly adopted by the British overseas.
fancy dress suit
Neck frill: 12ins
© Manchester Art Gallery