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Adopted and Adapted: The Cross–Cultural Appropriation of the Eighteenth–Century Blanket Coat (or Capote) in North America

by Michael Ballard Ramsay

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This paper is part of a project to reinterpret certain fashions at The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, United States, and will explore the design of blanket coats (also known as capotes) in the Chesapeake Bay region of the United States, 1750–1790. The blanket coat had humble origins but would prove indispensable in the harsh climates and terrains of North America. Throughout the eighteenth century, the use of the blanket coat spread from France’s colonial holdings throughout North America. This paper explores the diverse cultural groups that adopted this garment and seeks to understand the different ways these coats were adapted through the various design details seen in the historic record.

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