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Eighteenth-century waistcoats were made in many textures and colors that could easily be mixed with different combinations of coats and breeches, thus allowing men to vary their outfits with relative ease. Now faded, Washington's voided silk velvet waistcoat was originally lavender, black and cream. It offered a sharp visual contrast and compliment to the usual black velvet that he often wore during his presidential years. The versatility of this garment resulted in a long period of use and reuse, as seen in the repair on the side seam under the armseye.


A man's straight breasted waistcoat with a short collar of voided lavender and black silk-cut velvet on a buff colored silk ground. The right-hand buttoning waistcoat closes with sixteen buttons fashioned from pieces of the voided velvet stitched over the pasteboard disks. Each button has a corresponding button hole that is edged in yellow silk thread. The front panels also feature two straight welt pockets, one on either side. The back panels are fashioned in yellow shalloon and are entirely lined in white linen. Six eyelets are sewn on the back of the waistcoat in two vertical rows of three; each holds one plain woven linen tape.





Silk, wool, pasteboard, linen


Overall: 29 1/2 in. x 38 in. (74.93 cm x 96.52 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1956

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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