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Book Review
 The Cut of His Coat by Brent Shannon

 Book Review of Men's Costume History Book


Men's Costume History - Social and Fashion History Book Review
The Cut of His Coat by Brent Shannon

Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914
Author - Brent ShannonThe Cut of His Coat: Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914, by Brent Shannon

My website deals primarily with female costume and fashion history as that is my main interest.  However one must acknowledge that male dress does complete the overall fashion picture!

Brent Shannon's book 'The Cut of His Coat' takes a fresh look at male dress and with 100 years perspective suggests that Victorian and Edwardian men were just as preoccupied with fashion as women of that era.

The book 'The Cut of His Coat': Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914, by Brent Shannon is a Victorian Studies/Literature/Gender & Class listing and available from OHIO UNIVERSITY PRESS,   Details for purchasing can be found further below.

The book 'The Cut of His Coat' deals with consumer behaviour of men and the sartorial changes in male dress 1860-1914. This book does not dive into what should men wear but how behaviours and changes set the stage for masculine consumption in the later twentieth century. A summary of the book is below.


The Cut of His Coat:
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914
Author - Brent Shannon

The visual markers of class membership and manly behaviour underwent a radical change in late-nineteenth-century England as the variety of material goods available to the middle class dramatically increased. 

In The Cut of His Coat: Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914, Brent Shannon examines etiquette manuals, period advertisements, and fashion monthlies, as well as novels by authors such as George Eliot, Anthony Trollope, Thomas Hughes, and H. G. Wells, to trace how new ideologies emerged when mass-produced clothes, sartorial markers, and consumer culture began to change.

Although Victorian literature traditionally portrayed women as having sole control of class representations through dress and manners, Shannon argues that middle-class men participated vigorously in fashion.  Public displays of their newly acquired mannerisms, hairstyles, clothing, and consumer goods redefined masculinity and class status for the Victorian era and beyond.

The Cut of His Coat probes the Victorian disavowal of menís interest in fashion and shopping to recover menís significant role in the representation of class through self-presentation and consumer practices. In an insightful epilogue, Shannon references the latter-day metrosexual phenomenon and connects it to his larger historical study.

Ellis Hanson, author of Decadence and Catholicism said 'The Cut of His Coat is highly readable, well-organized, and thorough, and its insights about the fashion-consciousness of men pose a useful and original challenge to the standard line on the subject. This book will appeal not only to professional historians and literary critics, but also to general reader of Victorian fiction and enthusiasts of Victoriana. It is like one of those nifty wardrobes advertised for sale by the new department stores of the era, a polished piece of furniture with carefully labelled chapters and neatly hanging concepts that help us organize all that information and tuck it away without getting it wrinkled.'

See below for ordering details

CONTENTS of The Cut of His Coat:
Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914
Author - Brent Shannon

  • The 'Disappearance' of Menís Fashion and Consumption in Victorian Britain.
  • The Emergence of the Male Consumer and the Commodification of the Male Body
  • Fashion and the Birth of the Menís Lifestyle Periodical
  • Competing Masculinities and Class Aspirations
  • Class Performance and the Triumph of Middle-Class Sartorial Taste; Epilogue (Metrosexuals and Modern Consumer Masculinity).
  • Brent Shannon teaches English at Transylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky. He has published articles on nineteenth-century literature and culture in Victorian Studies and Studies in Browning and His Circle.

Book Information

  • The Cut of His Coat
    Men, Dress, and Consumer Culture in Britain, 1860-1914
    By Brent Shannon
    Victorian Studies
    xii + 252 pp, illustrated, 6Ē x 9Ē
    ISBN-13: 978-0-8214-1702-7, cloth, $49.95
    ISBN-10: 0-8214-1702-9
    ISBN-13: 978-0-8214-1703-4, paperback, $24.95
    ISBN-10: 0-8214-1703-7
    Published on October 2, 2006, by Ohio University Press

To order books:-

  • Ohio University Press, University of Chicago Distribution Center, 11030 South Langley Ave., Chicago, IL 60628. Call: 773-702-7000. FAX: 773-702-7212. In the U.K. and Europe: contact Eurospan Group, c/o Turpin Distribution, Pegasus Drive, Stratton Business Park, Biddleswade, Bedfordshire SG18 8TQ, UK; Tel: +44 (0) 1767 604972, Fax: +44 (0) 1767 601640;
  • Email: Orders and customer service:;
  • All other information: or

This work is a unique piece of research in areas so far neglected

Please note we DO NOT sell this book. Obtain the book from the details directly above.

Please DO NOT write to fashion-era for extra information on this book as none will be sent.

Page added 4 Jan 2007.



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