Obsolete Fashion: My, What a Lovely Jabot!

Image via gogmsite.net

If you were to pull a Bill and Ted and time machine back to, oh say, 18th-century France, to the home of some aristocrat, you’d probably see some dude dressed in a fancy waistcoat with a mess of white fabric cascading down the front of his shirt. “Haha!” you’d laugh. “Did you have a lobster dinner? Looks like you forgot to take your napkin-bib off!” The ‘dude’ would probably look at you real funny-like, and after much gesturing and word exchange, he’d inform you that the ruffles at his collar are not his serviette, but rather–ahem–his jabot.

Right-e-o, a jabot. Of course! You knew that.

You also knew, naturally, that jabots were de rigeur for gents in the 18th century, and a popular accessory for women come the late 19th century. Generally, they’d be made of lace-trimmed linen or all lace.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Back in the 18th century, jabots were commonly known as chitterlons or chitterlings. They were so hot right then. At least, most people thought so. Washington Irving didn’t, though, and he wrote about guys who were wearing “exuberant chitterlings; which puffed out at the neck and bosom like unto the beard of an ancient he-turkey.” Gobble gobble!

Images via Vintage Victorian and Liverpool Museums

As for the love affair between jabots and women, it began in the 18th century as a popular menswear-inspired adornment to the robe à l’Anglaise. As mentioned before, the jabot hit its peak popularity in womenswear during the late 19th century, as seen in the photo above at left from Harper’s Bazaar, 1896.

Would you take a jab at the jabot?



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  1. Avatar
    Sarita 01/13/2011 at 5:11 pm #

    I LOVE jabots. I just found a vintage 70s button-down with a beautiful jabot. I am sure some people will think I am nuts to wear it, but I don’t care. I like the flair they add to any outfit.

    • Avatar
      Hannah (ModCloth) 01/13/2011 at 8:24 pm #

      That’s the spirit! I bet it will look super duper. 🙂

    • Avatar
      Sarita 01/13/2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Thanks, Hannah! I will totally post a pick of the top once I get a chance to wear it. : )

    • Avatar
      Hannah (ModCloth) 01/14/2011 at 1:13 pm #

      I’d love to see it. Let me know when you post! Woohoo!

  2. Avatar
    Julia B 01/13/2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I think they look great on anyone! (Men/women of any size)! So luxurious and classy!

  3. Avatar
    Nicola 01/17/2011 at 9:01 pm #

    There is a boarding school in England (Christ’s Hospital School) that includes Jabots as part of the uniform!

  4. Avatar
    Jennifer 01/19/2011 at 10:02 am #

    I love them!! I’d definitely wear one. I think they’re pretty. [:

  5. Avatar
    Krissi 07/20/2012 at 11:12 am #

    They remind me of The Partridge Family….just not a big fan of 70’s fashion….

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