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The Pelisse, The Paletot and The Pardessus

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By Pauline Weston Thomas for Fashion-Era.com

 

Fashion History of the Pelisse, Paletot and Pardessus

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The Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot

Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot are all terms for 19th century styles of coats and shorter coats.

Both the late 18th century and the early 19th century pelisse were three quarter length coat. Later versions had a shoulder cape or capes. It was often trimmed with fur, ruched silk trimmings or satin along its edges. When the dress sleeves became larger after 1825 the use of the pelisse declined for out of doors as the sleeves could not fit well under it.  But a pelisse style of coat dress remained popular for indoor wear.

The pelisse mantle was a later early Victorian modification and was a cloak with a waist length cape that created open hanging sleeves which accommodated the fuller dress sleeves.

From the mid/late 1820s a short heavy coat called a paletot became popular with younger women although older women still favoured cloaks. The 1850s saw a hybrid garment called a paletot-cloak which had splits for the arms and the earlier paletot sac of the 1840s was similar, but generally had a hood rather than a collar.  Does not seem so very different from the pelisse mantle does it?  All these changes really occurred because the gigot sleeves of the 1830s made fitted coats more impossible to wear.  Hence cloaks, mantles, capes and shawls all loose and shapeless were the best option to a pelisse coat proper.

The Redingote was seen first in the 1790s.  It was introduced as a full-length overcoat that was lightweight,  but also had capes and buttoned across the chest.  It was popular in many forms through the 19th century, yet it is often hard to distinguish between the full length pelisse and a redingote and a carriage or walking dress was often referred to as a redingote in the fashion journals and periodicals of the day.  Redingotes are featured on the next page.

Pelisse Diagrams

Pelisse 1771 Pelisse/Redingote of 1810
Line drawing of Pelisse mantle 1771. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Line drawing of Pelisse redingote 1810. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot
Pelisse 1814 Pelisse 1825
Line drawing of Pelisse mantle 1814. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Line drawing of Pelisse 1825. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot
Back of Caped Pelisse 1830 1840's Fur Trim Pelisse
Line drawing of cape Pelisse mantle 1830. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Line drawing of Victorian Pelisse mantle 1840s. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot

The Paletot and The Pardessus

Paletots were shorter often loose roomy coats and here are some various line drawings of them below.  In the main unlike mantelet variations they always had an inserted sleeve head and varied from three quarter length to hip length, but unlike the pelisse they are very much something we would recognise today as a coat, with some being reminiscent of car coats.

These examples followed the general line of the silhouette of the day with the earlier ones showing the fullness need to cover a crinoline and the later ones showing the cut at the hip more suitable to the general silhouette of the 1870s.

The Pardessus differed in that it was often banded with velvet or fur trim.  It was really just like a fitted paletot and it is French for passed over.  So it was a coat that was passed over other clothes.  The princess seaming in the illustration below would give a  nice streamlined silhouette.

Shorter Victorian Coats

Shorter Victorian Coats

Paletot Paletot
Line drawing of Paletot 1855. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Line drawing of Paletot 1860. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot
Paletot Paletot
Line drawing of Paletot 1865. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Line drawing of Paletot 1871. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot
Paletot 1870s The Pardessus
Line drawing of Paletot 1870s. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot Pardessus line drawing. Fashion history and costume history of of Pelisse, Pardessus, and Paletot

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Fashion-Era.com looks at women's costume and fashion history and analyses the mood of an era. Changes in technology, leisure, work, cultural and moral values. Homelife and politics also contribute to lifestyle trends, which in turn influence the clothes we wear. These are the changes that make any era of society special in relation to the study of the costume of a period.

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