A frock coat is a formal men's wear garment that was popular in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The most prominent feature of a frock coat is its knee length construction with a single vent and suppressed waist creating a subtle hourglass silhouette.
Due to the length and waste suppression of the frock coat many people mistakenly believe that this type of jacket was meant to be worn as an outerwear garment; while there were outerwear frock coats available the closest modern analogy to a frock coat is a common men’s suit coat.
There are many different styles of frock coats, each one appropriate for different Victorian era occasions. A double-breasted frock coat was considered the most formal style, and was an acceptable clothing choice for formal events. In contrast, the single breasted style of frock coat was considered informal in earlier years before making the transition to fully accepted formal ware in the 19th century when it eventually overtook the double-breasted frock coat in popularity.
Today frock coats are not generally worn as shorter suit coats are considered more fashionable and modern. However, like all styles of fashion, the frock coat has enjoyed brief returns during retro inspired fashion movements. Proper frock coats have enjoyed brief stints in popularity from time to time, as well as lent a great deal of influence to frock coat inspired garments like the zoot suit.