Thursday, July 29, 2010

Victorian attire for the well dressed gentleman...

Inspired by the stylish old chap above (a Victorian tin type photograph), and some recent pre-1920s finds, we decided to do a little research into the sartorial trends of the Victorian & Edwardian man, something we don't have too much experience in. In 2010, at well over a century old, these are definitely things you don't come across everyday, so it is especially exciting when we find them, and to share the discoveries with you!

Some Victorian & Edwardian pieces we currently have

Male fashion in the second half of the 19th century was dominated by the frock coat (see below), a mans coat with full skirt both front and back that reached just above the knee. It was commonly used for both day and evening wear through the 1890s, making it the most versatile coat of the Victorian wardrobe. The most significant difference between the trousers of then and now is the waistline. The Victorian man wore his pants higher, at or just below the navel. Trousers always had a button-up fly, as the zipper was only invented late in the century, and wasn't commonly used in clothes until the 1930s. Belts weren't used either, instead braces or suspenders in canvas or leather kept your pants up.

1800s/1900s black wool frock coat with matching vest, button fly trousers with suspenders

The Victorian gent wore a variety of vests in every combination of cut, color and cloth. Chinese silk became ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive during the mid 1800s, and silk vests were very common for day and evening wear, an expressive flash of color in an otherwise monochromatic get up. Many men would wear their coats buttoned only at the top, thereby allowing more of their vests to be flaunted. Towards the turn of the century, wool and cotton (see below) vests in conservative colors became more common for day wear.

1900s/1910s white 'Manhattan' back buttoned dress shirt with detachable wing tip collar & white cotton vest

Although similar to the shirts we wear today, due to limitations in machining and tailoring Victorian shirts were cut more fully. They also often buttoned up the back. Shirts were washed less frequently, and as a result men wore band collar shirts, adding detachable collars and cuffs to smarten their look for formal occasions. Some even had removable bib fronts which were reversible, allowing stains to be hidden and thus staying neat in appearance without laundering the entire shirt.

1800s/1900s Beaver top hat with box

Like vests, hats were always worn, and in a wide variety of styles. Top hats were de rigueur for formal events throughout the 19th and early 20th century, and also as day wear for the more established gentlemen. Bowlers or Derbies became more common as the 19th century progressed, and by the turn of the century outnumbered most other hat styles.

Circa 1915 'John B. Stetson' bowler hat

1800s/1900s Leather suitcase

Mustaches at the ready....rocking the Victorian look!

No comments:

Post a Comment