The Rake’s Style and History

By Jo Phillips

The term ‘rake’ may have origins in 17th Century Europe but today, the rake has evolved from misbehaving dandy to sleek, mysterious figure. Aesthetically, the rake likes the finer things to wear; the rakish character was usually a figure born into nobility and could therefore afford finer fabrics. Now, although he may draw inspiration from the opulent style of the Old-English gentry, the rake may usually update his look to tailored outfits.

This month will see the publication of Thames & Hudson’s 17th Century Men’s Dress Patterns, a collection of 1,000 images and instructions that deconstruct 17th Century menswear. Featuring historical garments from the V&A’s prestigious collections, the book promises to fascinate and inform costume designers, fashion historians and any lover of fashion in general.


The Parisian Gentleman, also published by Thames & Hudson, is a book already published with a stunning insight into modern menswear, specifically suiting and luxury leather goods. The rake enjoys fine quality and will enjoy discovering, within this book, twenty of menswear’s leading style-makers. The book, as well as featuring a bright array of images, features essays on fashion history and descriptions of craftsmanship.


After having read these books and drawn to the idea of owning an ode-t0-the-past piece of clothing, why not take a look at this particular coat. This autumn/winter season marks the reintroduction of Crombie’s King Coat from their Iconic Collection. Because the rake’s roots lies in European nobility, this coat is a must-have due to its history in Britain’s royal family; King George VI wore this bespoke original overcoat during a visit to the Crombie mill. The 2016 update emulates the aristocratic elegance whilst embracing practical requirements; the skirt, for example, is slightly longer for warmth. Shop the piece here.jg

Verified by MonsterInsights