Antique Fashion & Costume Plates
- Part 13
Male Fashion Through Fashion Plates 1800-1900
The carefully selected fashion plates from James
Laver's Fashions and Fashion Plates 1800 - 1900, a petite little
18cm by 12cm book of 1943, includes some reprints of men's fashion
plates from all the well known fashion journals of the C19th
Male fashion changed comparatively
little throughout the century once the John Bull style was set at the
turn of 1800. Generally it remained rather sober in
keeping with Victorian industry. It was only after 1900 and the
practical requirements necessitated by the 1914-18 war that more relaxed
styles entered general fashion styling. As always this was mostly
initially through sportswear or battle dress which is always more
accommodating to the realities of function in dress. Eventually
the more relaxed way of dressing enters mainstream fashion.
This site concentrates solely on female adult fashion
history my main interest, but the fashion plates from this little book
are so representative of male dress in the C19th that I
include them here with their original text description for those
who need a very basic image of Victorian male dress. You can see
all the female fashion plate selection from this book
Male Fashion Through Fashion Plates 1800-1900
Le Beau Monde, 1807
No description by Laver on the male dress, but the female
dress is described so is included here:-WALKING DRESS
An elegant walking dress, is a straw gypsy hat, tied down
with a white silk or a rich half-lace handkerchief; a muslin
gown, ornamented with knotted work crossing the shoulder to
correspond with the bottom of the dress. The body is made
quite plain to draw round the bosom, and fulled in the back
to imitate the frock waist, with a light-yellow sarsnet or
camel-hair scarf, richly diapered at the ends with various
colours; the scarf is worn so that the dress may be exposed,
tastefully tied with a careless knot in front. Lilac gloves
and half boots made of kid, a beautiful white down muff,
adds much to the elegance and splendour of this much-admired
Walking Spring Dress.
Le Petit Courrier des Dames, 1840
MEN'S MORNING DRESS
Cut-away coats like frock-coats are made lighter and more
supple, stiffening being suppressed. The revers are a little
wider, opening wider across the chest. It is young, it is
dashing, it is elegant, all at the same time, and what is
more important, it is new. The waistcoats are of the
fashionable Valencia. The trousers are of light woollen
Le Petit Courrier des Dames, 1850
Most men wear the frock-coat with two rows of buttons, with
a short skirt, the sleeves and body of the garment easy-fitting, the
collar and revers plain. The trousers are of coutil, white, or with
widely spaced stripes, rather narrow and falling straight over the
The Gazette of Fashion, 1861
MEN'S WALKING COSTUME AND SPORTS COSTUME
The first figure on our engraving represents an easy form of
walking coat. It is single-breasted, with a bold turn at
top. The waist is long comparatively to the length lately
worn. The back is cut broad across to the scye (armhole).
The side-seam is tolerably straight. There are three holes
and buttons only at front, the top one reaching nearly on a
level with the bottom of the scye. The skirt is plain, and
reaches to the knee. There is no seam across the waist, as
the coat is cut with a side-body let in, a style still
retained in France, although totally exploded in this
country. The pockets are in the plaits, one outside the left
breast, and one in the right fore-part at the hollow of the
Another style of morning-coat is illustrated on the centre
figure. It is very different in character, and partakes more
of the jacket form. It is single-breasted, with low waist.
The back skirt is only open a short distance from the bottom
without a tacking. The fore-part and skirt are cut in one,
and a long fish taken out under the arm to reduce the coat
at the hollow of the waist and give freedom over the hip.
There are three buttons and holes at front. Narrow collar
and low in the stand. Sleeve easy.
Single-breasted morning waistcoats without collar having
been much worn during the summer, will continue in favour
for the autumn. They are usually made to button up rather
Trousers for morning wear continue to be straight in the
leg. The side-seams are lapped rather broad.
On the third figure we have the representation of the
costume for shooting worn by French sportsmen. The jacket is
single breasted, long in the waist, and also in the skirt.
There are four buttons and holes at front, and a narrow
collar; sleeve roomy. A pouch pocket in each skirt and one
to each fore-part.
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This Fashion Plates Page Added 8 Oct 2005
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