The women’s jacket appeared during the 1880s and was instantly a hit among the Victorian ladies. By this time, women had begun participating in outdoor activities like hunting and so an attire comprising of matching jacket and skirt was worn along with a high-collared shirt, a top hat, and a veil. These jackets worn by women were designed in such a manner that it followed the silhouette of the day.
Women also wore long jackets and skirts for the purposes of traveling or even while going for a walk. The jackets were worn with the bustle and a hat. Norfolk jacket was popular with men and women both. In case of women, the jacket reached the mid-thigh, was single-breasted, buttoned high with box-pleats over the back, large pockets on the hips and a belt.
By the late 1880s, the Norfolk jacket had substituted the patrol jacket. Patrol jacket reached up to the hips, was single-breasted, had a Prussian collar and was worn with matching tight breeches. Between 1870- 1880, the angle-fronted jacket was worn during sports activities.
It was single or double breasted, with its front being cut in a manner to expose the waistcoat. Blazer or scarlet jackets as it was initially known was worn for outdoor sports like cricket and boating during the 1890s. It was later on also available in bright colored cloth.
The jackets were an essential part of the men’s clothing without which they did not step out of the house. The jackets were regarded by men as a means to show sophistication. During the Victorian period, there were two categories of jackets that could be worn like for some jackets, the buttons were placed on the chest while in case of others, they were placed at the waist.
Men preferred to have a slim waist like their female counterparts. The jackets worn by men were a garment initially worn by laborers, apprentices, etc. It was during the mid-1800 that men started wearing jackets while going out for dinner and the jackets were also known as Tuxedo, which had a shawl collar with silk facings and a couple of buttons. The jackets were suitable for dinner parties held at home or even while going to men’s club.
By the 19th century, the jackets were considered to be good enough as a part of the men’s suit. The jackets substituted the coats worn on informal occasions. Men wore jackets from the 1840s but its popularity reached its peak in the 1850s when the jackets were available in different shapes and were even named differently.
During the late 1840s, men wore the lounging jacket which was single-breasted and short-skirted, rounded fronts, pockets with flap on the hips and a slit on the left breast. In the 1860s, the lounging jacket was worn with trousers and a waistcoat made from the same fabric. This jacket was worn by men even on informal occasions.
A popular type of jacket worn sometime around 1858 was the Tweedside. It was a loose, sing-breasted jacket that reached up to mid-thigh, had patch pockets with a small collar and was buttoned high. Another jacket popular amongst the men was the Norfolk jacket which was made from sturdy fabric, worn for rough outdoor activities like shooting. By 1880s this jacket was commonly worn by the working class.