Monday, February 1, 2010

Victorian Clothing, part III- Gentlemens' Apparel

In the 1840's with the dawn of ready-to-wear clothing, gentlemen of all classes had better access to suits and ties and dress wear. In the Victorian Age where appearance and social standing posed of premier importance, a gentleman wore a suit. During the day, a three piece black suit served him in business, with a neck tie and white shirt. But in the evening, a more formal suit would be required. Following are some wonderful clothing and accessories from the period. Courtesy of Chemung County Historical Society's Fabrics of our Lives display.

Seen here are an officer's wool uniform worn by a local Elmiran in the 1860's, and two silk plaid dresses also from the 1860's, shown with hoops. These would have been considered Sunday best for a middle class woman. The officer's coat is presumably from the Civil War.

Pictured here are a man's silk top hat, 1870's, center, and clockwise from there: A lady's straw bonnet late 1800's, two velvet bonnets, late 1800's and 1880 respectively, and finally, an 1880's lady's wool hat with feathers.

This suit with tails and bowler hat, circa 1880, strikes a dashing figure with its white bow-tie and crisp white shirt and waistcoat. It accompanies a wedding gown from 1870, and a more ornate bodice of another wedding gown from 1890.

A frock coat from 1880 stands beside a satin white wedding gown circa 1880. What a handsome couple! The suit was worn by a local physician on his wedding day.

Finally, some photos of accessories which a Victorian gentleman would wear or carry for special occasions.

A pair of 1880's gentleman's white leather gloves, 1880's cufflinks, 1860's eyeglasses, invitations and tickets to a military ball, and an 1875 pocketwatch.

Calling cards from 1880. Note the vivid colors and beautiful graphics so typical for the era.

No wonder the Victorian Age is still considered one of the most romantic in history.


  1. How romantic indeed!I'm looking at the dress and I can't get past how tiny the waist is. Oh my goodness! And to think this dress size probably fit the average woman.

  2. with corset, don't forget! And often, a lady had surgery to remove her lower rib so that the corset could fit tighter. I guess breathing and eating were optional back then. LOL!

  3. Calling cards! I remember reading about those.

  4. Okay Kathy put this on the to do list of things to see when I come visiting. OMG I love this place. Maybe I'll have some of those calling cards printed for when I come a calling. =)

  5. Tight corseting made those fainting couches a necessity!
    Beautiful clothing! Thanks for sharing, Kathleen!