In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, tailors were responsible for making a variety of outer garments including capes, cloaks, coats, doublets, and breeches. They gave shape to them by using coarse, stiff linen and canvas for interlining, horsehair cloth and even cardboard stiffened with whalebone for structural elements. Imperfect or asymmetrical body shapes could be evened out with wool or cotton padding. Luxury garments were often lined with satins or furs to keep their wearers warm. Tailors were the structural engineers for women's fashions and made whalebone stays or corsets until the nineteenth century. Women largely made relatively unshaped undergarments and shirts for men, women, and children. The nineteenth-century tailor added trousers, fancy waistcoats, and sporting clothing of all sorts to his repertoire. The tailor was particularly adept at working woolen fabrics, which he shaped and sculpted using steam and heavy irons. Menswear had long used wool as a staple fabric. In Britain wool connoted masculinity, sobriety, and patriotism but in the early nineteenth century, it became extremely fashionable, almost completely replacing the silks and velvets used in the previous century. At the same time, men began to wear trousers rather than breeches and by the 1820s, tightly cut trousers or pantaloons could be worn as evening wear. Though they no longer made corsets, women's sidesaddle riding habits and walking suits remained the province of the tailor and were cut and fashioned from the same fabrics as male garments.
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