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The Evening Times (DC)
The Evening Times (DC)
Contributed by klstacy_home

Description: Wore a Green Dress Suit - Chicago Alderman Coughlin

Date: July 31 1899

Newspaper published in: Washington, DC


Page/Column: Page 2, Column 1

A Chicago Alderman Astonishes Swell Society at Saratoga
Saratoga, N. Y., July 31.--From out of Chicago weeks ago came the news that Alderman John Coughlin, of that town, sometimes known as "Bath-House John," was having constructed for him a green dress suit in which he proposed to make his social bow to the East. Those who supposed this was a dream of the flippant young persons who write things for Chicago papers were proved to be wrong, for at the first grand ball of the Saratoga season, which occurred Saturday night at the Grand Union Hotel, there also occurred Alderman Coughlin and his green dress suit.
The hundreds of guests who crowded the ballroom for several startled minutes absolutely refused to believe their own eyes and stood blinking in dazed bewilderment. Gradually, however, the conviction that their sense of sight was not playing pranks was forced upon them, but then their wonder grew, for the truth was stranger than any illusion.
There stood the hero of a hundred aldermanic battles and a thousand tales of political prowess, arrayed in coat, waistcoat and trousers of a greenness that in tint was between a Jersey landscape by Innes and a Chinese idol carved of jade. All doubt that the material of which the garment was made had been specially woven for this most daring dress reform vanished as the electric lights brought out its wondrous changing shimmering green.
The orchestra stopped playing, the floor manager threw furniture to the right and to the left, and the dancers formed a line and marched past the alderman in dumb joy. It was a triumph for Chicago, complete, overwhelming, satisfying. With a reassuring wave of his hand Alderman Coughlin endeavored to put the people at their ease. Another wave started the music, and then, with a tall, good-looking, handsomely dressed partner, who proved to be Mrs. Coughlin, he began gliding over the floor in the intricate step of the Hibernian two-step and the dance went on.
Of course nothing else was talked of all Saturday night and yesterday, but the Chicago alderman takes his honors modestly, and is now circulating freely about the corridors dressed in a boulevard silk hat, a Piccadilly frock coat, a blue plaid vest, trousers of mixed grey and red, and patent-leather shoes.
Mr. Augustus Van Wyck, who is also a guest at the Union, was among those who frankly confessed that Mr. Coughlin has furnished the sensation In the way of the whole history of Saratoga. "I am convinced," said Mr. Van "Wyck to the hero of the day, "I am convinced, Mr. Alderman, that you have not taken so important a step without an equally important purpose."
"Judge, you are right," said the alderman. "My purpose is to reform man's dress until it shall be as variegated and picturesque as woman's. Now, I have a black dress suit, such as waiters wear, and I laid it our last night by the side of the green one. Judge, Im telling you the truth when I say that the green one made the black one look like a selling-plater by the side of the stake-horse.

Submitted: 04/20/15

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