This full-length portrait of Meriwether Lewis shows the explorer in civilian clothes in Washington, D.C. just prior to his departure for the West. Lewis was known as somewhat of a dandy, and he is depicted wearing the newest fashions of the period. Skin tight white pantaloons contrast with his dark, high waisted, curved front riding coat with clawhammer tails. The most popular color for civilian coats in the United States during the early 19th century was dark blue, referred to in period documents as 'the national color,' and complemented with a double row of brass buttons. After navy blue, brown and bottle green dominated period coats. Fashionable gentlemen wore Hessian boots with their scalloped tops and tassels. The army cockade on the far side of Lewis’ round hat indicates that although he is dressed in civilian attire he is an active-duty military officer.