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Former U.K. Prime Minister Winston Churchill giving his famous 'V' sign during World War II on Downing Street, London, wearing a black lounge suit with formal trousers, dotted bowtie, dark waistcoat, homburg hat, and a walking stick.

The stroller (US), also known as a Stresemann (Europe), director's suit (Japan), black lounge suit (UK), or Marlborough suit (UK) is a men's day attire semi-formal intermediate of a formal morning dress and an informal lounge suit; comprising grey striped or checked formal trousers, but distinguished by a conventional-length lounge jacket, single- or double-breasted in black, midnight blue or grey. This makes it largely identical to the formal morning dress from which it is derived, only having exchanged the morning coat with a suit jacket, yet with equivalent options otherwise, such as necktie or bowtie for neckwear, a waistcoat (typically black, grey, or buff), French cuffs dress shirt of optional collar type, and black dress shoes or dress boots. The correct hat would be a semi-formal Homburg, bowler, or boater hat. Just as morning dress is considered the formal daytime equivalent of formal evening attire dress coat i e. white tie, so the stroller is considered the semi-formal daytime equivalent of the semi-formal evening attire dinner jacket i.e. black tie (also called tuxedo).

For a semi-formal wedding day attire, the groom may dress in a dark-grey suit jacket with a dove-grey or buff waistcoat and optionally a wedding tie. For a semi-formal funeral day attire, the mourner may wear a matching black jacket and waistcoat presumably with black necktie.

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NameEdit

The American term stroller is unknown in the United Kingdom, where, though the garment itself saw a limited period of popularity, is simply called black lounge suit. Because black was then reserved for formal attire, it was unknown as a colour for lounge suits, so the term was unambiguous. In the United Kingdom this mode of dress is now unusual, though the dress code sometimes occurs in fraternal orders such as Freemasonry for semi-formal daytime meetings. It is also still worn within the legal profession, especially by barristers- Indeed the striped formal trousers are in some circles referred to as "barrister trousers".

In German, a stroller is called a Stresemann, after the Weimar German chancellor Gustav Stresemann who used to wear it as an alternative to morning coat. In Germany it also known as Bonner Anzug ("Bonn suit") after the capital of post World War II Western Germany. In Japan, it is known as a "director's suit", from the term inside director.

HistoryEdit

 
Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in a stroller at his first presdiential inauguration in 1981.

In early 20th century, Gustav Stresemann, like other German politicians of his age, wore morning coat or a frock coat in the Reichstag or when making public appearances. However, Stresemann found the long knee-length coats impractical for daily work in the Chancellery. To avoid having to change completely, he began to wear the prototype of this jacket at his office, thus giving reason to the style's synonym, while switching to a morning coat when engaged on more formal business. This his style was introduced during the negotiations of the Locarno Treaties in 1925, and quickly caught on as a more practical variation of morning dress

Winston Churchill is depicted in many photographs and paintings wearing a black lounge suit and striped formal trousers while serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The stroller's apparent decline in use, as opposed to the staying power of its evening counterpart the dinner jacket, could be attributed to several factors: dytime formality in general, and specifically the standard of changing clothes for various occasions, fell out of general use in post-World War II Western culture; and strollers sometimes associated with uniformed servants, a concept which had also fallen out of favour. By the late 20th century, fictional characters in media depicted wearing strollers were often portrayed as self-important or inflexible snobs, often in opposition to more sympathetic characters dressed casually.

Traditionally, in Continental Europe and the British Commonwealth of Nations, morning dress is worn to formal day events, and white tie for formal evening events. However, when both dress codes declined in use in the United States, this effected also the use of the stroller.

Yet, notably, at his first inauguration in 1981, former U.S. President Ronald Reagan wore a black stroller.

In mediaEdit

In the 1964 Walt Disney film Mary Poppins (set in the 1910s), the character of Mr. Banks wears a stroller to work every day at the bank. In the long-running BBC sitcom Are You Being Served? (1972-1985), the character Captain Peacock always wore a stroller as the store's floorwalker. Gentlemen's valets of the early 20th century are often depicted in television and film wearing strollers as their standard apparel. The character of John Bates of Masterpiece's Downton Abbey typically appears in a stroller while serving as his lord's valet.

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