The Original Workshirt

7th August 2020

Nowadays, if anyone thinks of smocking, it is generally associated with royal baby outfits and gorgeous little dresses. But smocking was originally utilitarian, as some of these stunning examples from the West Berkshire Museum in the UK show.

Detail from an original farmer’s smock (source)

Not only were smocked garments traditionally worn as workwear by shepherds and farmers, they were almost exclusively made for men. 

Favoured for their durability, stretch and reversibility, smocks were a staple in many men’s wardrobes during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

19th Century painting showing a man in a smock (source)

While fashions do change, there perhaps aren’t many fashion styles that have switched so dramatically. Will any 21st Century men’s fashion styles be primarily worn by beloved newborns in 150 years’ time?!

Intricate smocked detail on a traditional garment (source)

You can read more about the fascinating history of the 19th-century male smock frock by clicking HERE.

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