Artist/maker unknown, French. Worn by Tench Francis, Jr., American, 1731 - 1800.
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The shape of waistcoats changed as the eighteenth century progressed, with skirts becoming shorter and eventually disappearing. Made to either match or complement the coat and breeches, luxurious fabrics and decoration were used only where they would be seen; backs were made of plain fabrics such as linen or warm wool. These three examples show some of the variety of embellishments—including silk and metallic embroidery, glittering spangles, and quilting—that would have bedecked a fashionable man's waistcoat.