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  1. #1
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    Doublets vs. Doublets

    I am currently researching the history of the doublet as one of my freelance writing contract assignments. Unfortunately, as much as I've learned on XMTS about historic Highland attire, I've not yet been able to answer this question adequately.

    What, if any, is the historical connection between the article of clothing known as the "doublet" (worn primarily during the Renaissance and not particularly connected to kilts) and the varieties of doublet worn today as part of Highland attire (e.g. Balmoral, Kenmore, Montrose, Sheriffmuir, Regulation)? Are these modern jackets simply an evolution or continuation of a fourteenth century trend? Or did they evolve quite independently of each other but somehow acquire the same name? What was the role of the military (Highland regiments) in their adoption? And when did doublets first start being worn as part of formal Highland attire?

    Extra difficulty: I need info based on verifiable sources that could be cited as a reference (which means: no personal opinions, or Wikipedia)...

    Any takers?
    Duos habet et bene pendentes!

    To my eye, the peacock -- the male peacock, has escaped his cage, and I don't think anyone's going to be able to corral him or get him back into the cage of conformity. He's on his own now, and he's flying high!
    - Bill Cunningam (NY Times photographer)

  2. #2
    M. A. C. Newsome is offline
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    I would think the connection is simply in the shared use of the word "doublet" (to describe a close-fitting jacket), just as you will find a shared use of the word "shirt" or "shoes." It seems to me it is a case of the same general word being used to describe a variety of styles.

  3. #3
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    Excellent questions, mate! I wish I had the answers.

    Best of luck!

  4. #4
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    Random thoughts

    I too have no answers but here are a few random thoughts.

    Scotland has, throughout its history and from earliest times, been influenced by its military involvement and trade links with other nations. Hence fashions in clothing have been open to these imported ideas.

    Dr Alexia Grosjean of the School of History at the University of St Andrews has done work on the Scottish abroad (especially in Sweden). Dmitry Fedsov of the University of Aberdeen has done research on Scottish soldiers abroad (especially in Russia). The National Library of Scotland has a lot of material on “Scots Abroad”. In short, a lot of coming and going that meant that both goods and ideas were imported and exported.

    On the Clyde, where I grew up, there were extensive international trading links from at least the mid-16th Century with the Baltic, the Netherlands and France.

    The Protestant Reformation also forged extensive cultural links with the emerging protestant nations of continental Europe.

    On doublets in particular, it may be worth contacting the Scottish National Museum of Costume, Shambellie House, New Abbey, Dumfriesshire, DG2 8HQ. Phone from Scotland is 0300 123 6789.

    You could also Google the Costume Society of Scotland and enquire if any of their members have done research on doublets.

    And don’t forget to share your findings with the rabble!
    It's coming yet for a' that,
    That Man to Man, the world o'er,
    Shall brothers be for a' that. - RB

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacRobert's Reply View Post
    I too have no answers but here are a few random thoughts.

    Scotland has, throughout its history and from earliest times, been influenced by its military involvement and trade links with other nations. Hence fashions in clothing have been open to these imported ideas.

    Dr Alexia Grosjean of the School of History at the University of St Andrews has done work on the Scottish abroad (especially in Sweden). Dmitry Fedsov of the University of Aberdeen has done research on Scottish soldiers abroad (especially in Russia). The National Library of Scotland has a lot of material on “Scots Abroad”. In short, a lot of coming and going that meant that both goods and ideas were imported and exported.

    On the Clyde, where I grew up, there were extensive international trading links from at least the mid-16th Century with the Baltic, the Netherlands and France.

    The Protestant Reformation also forged extensive cultural links with the emerging protestant nations of continental Europe.

    On doublets in particular, it may be worth contacting the Scottish National Museum of Costume, Shambellie House, New Abbey, Dumfriesshire, DG2 8HQ. Phone from Scotland is 0300 123 6789.

    You could also Google the Costume Society of Scotland and enquire if any of their members have done research on doublets.

    And don’t forget to share your findings with the rabble!
    Excellent advice, MacRobert!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDNSushi View Post
    Extra difficulty: I need info based on verifiable sources that could be cited as a reference (which means: no personal opinions, or Wikipedia)...
    The thing about Wikipedia is that it is ALL verifiable - check the bottom of every article.

    Regards

    Chas
    [FONT=arial]Regards[/FONT]
    [B][SIZE=2][FONT=Comic Sans MS][I]Chas [/I][/FONT][/SIZE][/B]

  7. #7
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    The OED defines doublet as a "close-fitting body-garment, with or without sleeves, worn by men from the 14th to the 18th centuries", and give citations referring to it up to 1835. It seems to have become something of a generic term for "jacket" or "male outer garment", so I suspect that would explain the use for the articles of Highland wear. I have no idea of the actual history of (for example) the Montrose doublet - perhaps Matt can enlighten us as to its origins? - so I can't speak to whether there was a tailoring evolution or simply the application of the term "doublet" to a new item of clothing.
    --Scott
    "MacDonald the piper stood up in the pulpit,
    He made the pipes skirl out the music divine."

  8. #8
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    Traditionally a 'doublet' (referring to two layers of cloth) was worn over a 'singlet,' or what we would call a shirt. Until well into the 19th century shirts were regarded as underwear, and never worn by themselves but always covered by a doublet or 'sleeved waistcoat.' In Scottish military dress 'doublet,' 'tunic,' and 'coatee' have all been used, but a Doublet or Tunic has tashes (erroneously referred to as 'inverness skirts'), while a coatee is cut square across the front at waist level and has short tails with turnbacks.

    Today Highland Dress retains the Doublet usage mainly to differentiate it from other forms of formal dress. It's a selling point for highland outfitters.

  9. #9
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    Three references to hand for you Sushi: Scottish Costume 1550-1850 by Stuart Maxwell & Robin Hutchison; History of Highland Dress by J Telfer Dunbar; The Costume of Scotland by J Telfer Dunbar. I can scan the relevant bits from these for you, if you wish.

  10. #10
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    If you have the moments to spare to do so, I would greatly appreciate it. I don't have access to much in the way of reference volumes over here in Japan. I can't very well just go to the local university library, which is what I would do were I in Canada... <sigh>

    Otherwise I'll just need to work with the assumption that the two items are different, with different histories, merely sharing the same descriptive name.

    Cheers,

    JD
    Duos habet et bene pendentes!

    To my eye, the peacock -- the male peacock, has escaped his cage, and I don't think anyone's going to be able to corral him or get him back into the cage of conformity. He's on his own now, and he's flying high!
    - Bill Cunningam (NY Times photographer)

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