AskDefine | Define gaberdine

Dictionary Definition

gaberdine n : a loose coverall (coat or frock) reaching down to the ankles [syn: duster, gabardine, smock, dust coat]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. a long cloak

Extensive Definition

Gabardine is a tough, tightly woven fabric used to make suits, overcoats, trousers and other garments. The fiber used to make the fabric is traditionally wool, spun into a worsted yarn, but may also be cotton, synthetic or mixed. The fabric is smooth on one side and has a diagonally ribbed surface on the other. Gabardine is a form of twill weave.


The material was invented in the late 19th century by Thomas Burberry, founder of the Burberry fashion house in Basingstoke, and patented in 1888. The fabric takes its name from the gaberdine (with an 'e'), a long, loose overgarment tied at the waist. This was commonly worn in Europe in the Middle Ages by pilgrims, beggars and almsmen, and for some time later by many European Jews.
Burberry clothing of gabardine was worn by polar explorers including Roald Amundsen, the first man to reach the South Pole, in 1911, and Ernest Shackleton, who led a 1914 expedition to cross Antarctica. A jacket made of this material was worn by George Mallory on his ill-fated attempt on Mount Everest in 1924.
Gabardine is best known for its widespread use in the 1940s and 1950s, usually consisting of Rayon acetates and wool mixes. It was made in bright flashy colors either matte or sheen, occasionally with more modern styled abstract and atomic patterns. Some popular colors were pink, red, black, white, baby blue, and two-tone arrangements. Vintage gabardine is becoming harder and harder to come by and is very valuable. Rock 'n' roll style in the 1950s made gabardine very popular and highly collectible.

Care instructions

Depending on the type, gabardine is either dry cleaned, as most other wools, or is machine washable and dryable on a low cycle. A warm iron should be used for pressing; ironing it at a higher temperature would mark the fabric.

Pop culture references

A reference to a "man in the gabardine suit" is in Simon and Garfunkel's song "America".
In theWilliam Burroughs novel Queer , the main character Lee describes a model oilman by saying, among other things, "He wears gabardine slacks and a white short-sleeved sport shirt".
In the "The Chinese Woman" episode of Seinfeld, Kramer ceases wearing underwear to remedy a low sperm count problem. Jerry is disturbed by this, remarking to Elaine "The only thing between him and us is a thin layer of gabardine."
Members of the ill fated SAS Bravo Two Zero patrol wore SAS sand coloured smocks made of gabardine, which were of World War II vintage.
Alan Sherman's folk-song parody "The Drapes of Roth" describes the death of the hero, Harry Lewis in the garment factory fire: "With the fire raging 'bout him, Harry stood by his machine, | And when the fireman broke in, they discovered him between, | A pile of roasted dacron and some french fried gabardine, | His cloth goes shining on!
gaberdine in Bulgarian: Габардин
gaberdine in Czech: Gabardén
gaberdine in German: Gabardine
gaberdine in French: Gabardine
gaberdine in Italian: Gabardine
gaberdine in Polish: Gabardyna
gaberdine in Russian: Габардин
gaberdine in Silesian: Gabardyna
gaberdine in Finnish: Gabardiini
gaberdine in Swedish: Gabardin
gaberdine in Turkish: Gabardin
gaberdine in Ukrainian: Габардин
gaberdine in Slovak: Gabardén
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