Tailcoat belonging to Jane Austen's
brother, Edward Knight. He was a small man!
Morning coats were sometimes made of silk, or even a wool-silk blend.
The Dress Coat. Similar to day’s “tux and tails,” the dress coat was short through the trunk and cut straight across to allow the waistcoat to peek out below. It had long, square tails in back. This was fashionable and appropriate for formal occasions. Black was the most formal but I often see engravings of gray and blue as well, as shown in the picture to the right. Formal tailcoats were made of very fine wool and given a dress finish called “superfine.” Often the dress coats themselves were called simply “superfine.” Buttons were usually covered with matching cloth.
The Frockcoat. Often I find the term frockcoat used interchangeably with tailcoat, and I used this most of my books I have published thus far. Recently, however, I discovered that the frockcoat belonged to the early Georgian Era . Though it was re-introduced late in the Regency, the frockcoat didn’t gain popularity until the Victorian Era. The two stylish gentleman to the left are wearing Victorian frockcoats. The one on the far side is also wearing trousers, and the other is wearing breeches and riding boots, showing that transitional phase. By the late Victorian, knee breeches were pretty much only worn as riding attire. But I digress. The frockcoat had a full of skirt the same length all around and no tails. It also had room for pockets in the side. It opened down the front to reveal the waistcoat. This coat, like the morning or riding coat, was also made of very fine wool.
During the Regency, Georgian-style frockcoats were required court attire. They were very ornate, with brocade or heavy-embroidery such as what you see in pictures of George Washington and other Georgian-Era gentlemen. Court costume included trimming such as fur, ribbons, and gold or silver-threaded lace. Court frockcoats were not cut in at the waist but had a more square shape, and they had long, elegant tails.
A Regency gentleman's appropriate coat is very much dictated by his taste, wealth, and the type event he is going to attend.