Jerkin Definition - Definition of Jackets for the Apparel Industry presented by Apparel Search
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Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, in a buff
The stock phrase buff jerkin refers to an oiled oxhide jerkin, as worn by soldiers.
Leather jerkins of the sixteenth century were often slashed and punched, both for decoration and to improve the fit.
Jerkins were worn closed at the neck and hanging open over the peascod-bellied fashion of doublet (as worn by Martin Frobisher). At the turn of the seventeenth century, the fashion was to wear the jerkin buttoned at the waist and open above to reflect the fashionable narrow-waisted silhouette (as worn by Sir Walter Raleigh, 1602).
By the mid-seventeenth century, jerkins were high-waisted and long-skirted like doublets of the period.
The origin of the word is unknown. The Dutch wordjurk, a child's frock, often taken as the source, is modern, and represents neither the sound nor the sense of the English word.