Saturday, August 16, 2008

Correct Dress for a Butler

As nearly as possible, the butler's costume should parallel the following description, but each passing season finds some minor detail slightly changed, and each new season finds a slight variation from the costume of the season before. So the best thing to do is to find out definitely from a reliable clothier or from the men's furnishing department of a large department store, just what the butler's costume of the present time consists of. Ordinarily, the butler wears white linen in the morning, with black or dark gray trousers, a black waistcoast that buttons high, and a swallow-tail coat. It is also permissible for him to wear a short roundtail coat in the morning hours; it is similar to the gentleman's tailless evening coat, but it is not faced with silk. A black or dark tie and black shoes complete the outfit, which is worn until after the midday meal. If guests are to be entertained at luncheon, the butler wears his afternoon and evening livery. Otherwise he dons it only after luncheon or about three o'clock in the afternoon. It consists of complete black evening dress similar in cut and style to that worn by gentlemen. There are no braidings or facings, though the material of the suit may be every whit as excellent in quality as that worn by the master of the house. The butler does not wear a white waistcoat, a watch chain, or jeweled studs with his after noon or evening livery. Nor may he wear a boutonniere or an assertive tie or patent leather shoes. And it is extremely bad taste for him to use perfume of any kind. He wears white linen with plain white studs in the shirt front, a standing collar, white lawn tie and plain black shoes. His watch is slipped into his waistcoast pocket without chain or fob. White gloves are no longer the custom for men servants in the private home. When acting as footman to his mistress in the afternoon, the butler wears the livery described for the second man.

In cold weather he is supplied with a long footman's coat; and he is also supplied with a top hat and gloves, all matching in color and style those worn by the chauffeur.

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