E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Jackets on which the trousers buttoned, very commonly worn by boys in the first quarter of the nineteenth century. In the illustrations of Kate Greenaway, The Pickwick Papers, Nicholas Nickleby, etc., are plenty of such skeleton suits. Shell-jackets are short fatigue jackets worn especially by military officers.