Thursday, October 31, 2013

Men's Fashion Retrospective ~ Before 1900

Dear Fashionable Reader, I get a lot of questions about the fashionable male. Some want to know how to dress better, some want to know how to dress more steampunk.

via icanhascheeseburger

First may I direct your attention to this post on thrifting for Victorian menswear for shopping tips?

Now that we have that out of the way, let us move on to more of a timeline retrospective on the fashionable male. My personal passion is for Regency, Victorian, and Edwardian menswear so the focus will be on that in particular, but we will touch on some earlier stuff as well. What I'm going to talk about is what aspects give the look of the time period, that is are iconic in our minds and inspire the viewer to think on a specific style in history. I'm not thinking in terms of absolutes, there are always exceptions, but mainly generalities.



Fighting Trousers 

1600s


Full Attire and Doublet & Breeches both 1630-1640  The Victoria & Albert Museum

1600-1624 Man’s Nightcap The Victoria & Albert Museum

1620-1640 Collar Manchester City Galleries

1700s


1760  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1790  The Mint Museum

The feeling of the time period: buckle shoes, stockings, knee britches, long waistcoats, long jackets in the frock or morning style usually single breasted, lace at the neck and wrist, gloves, lots of embroidery and gilt detail, fabrics very opulent including velvet and brocade. Outfits are very coordinated and matched.

Waistcoat  1790  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

What women were wearing? Crazy paniers, huge fluffy dresses, madness.

Dangerous Liaisons

Want inspiration? Watch Dangerous Liaisons, Marie Antoinette, or the Slipper and the Rose

Early 1800s (Regency) 



1815 Man’s Suit  1815-1820  The Victoria & Albert Museum

1830s  The Kyoto Costume Institute

The feeling of the time period: stockings & knee britches for evening, boots, short waistcoats, jackets in the cut-away or morning style, stock and cravat in crisp white or silk colors, fabrics more conservative. Outfits are more complimentary colors than matchy matchy.

1820 Top Hat  1820  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1830 Stock  1830  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1834 Stock  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Waistcoats often characterized by a high small collar or a shawl collar, could be double or single breasted. They were commonly the most colorful and patterned part of an outfit.

 1835 high collar vest 1835-1840 & shawl collar waistcoat 1840s both Metropolitan Museum of Art

Mandarin Collar Vest  1845-1859  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

A note on terminology: in most literature a vest was single breasted, a waistcoat was double-breasted. I tend to refer to them all as waistcoats so as to keep the feel of a past time period. Ah the concessions of a writer.

For above stairs, the gentleman often wore a banyan.

 1830 Banyan and Waistcoat The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What were women wearing? Nightgowns. Sigh.

My preferred Sense & Sensibility

Want inspiration? Watch some BBC Austen.

Middle 1800s (Early Victorian) 

 

1856 Boy’s Ensemble  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1850s  The Museum at FIT

 1865-1870  and 1867-1868  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The feeling of the time period: the three piece suit is introduced in force, shiney shoes close to modern formal wear, waistcoats/vests stay short, jackets range from cut-away to frock to morning style (as occasion dictated), narrow trousers were popular, stock and cravats in crisp white or black, fabrics quite conservative. Jacket and trousers often match.

 1850s Morning Vest The Metropolitan Museum of Art; 1860s Waistcoat Victoria & Albert Museum

 Waistcoats often came in plaid, possibly due to Queen Victorian's love of Scotland.

1862 Riding Boots  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1850 Top Hat  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1865 Derby The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What were women wearing? Increasingly wide (horsehair petticoats to hooped crinoline supported) dresses

1858  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Want inspiration? Watch North & South, Cranford or Under the Greenwood Tree

Late 1800s (Classic Victorian)


1871 Wedding Suit  The Victoria & Albert Museum

The feeling of the time period: similar to above only more and more specialty outfits for specific occasions, waistcoats/vests stay short, jackets range from cut-away to frock to morning style (as occasion dictated), narrow trousers were popular, stock and cravat in crisp white or black mainly, fabrics quite conservative influenced by Victoria's mourning. Jacket and trousers often match. Dandy's or Pinks (named after the high collar points) distinguish themselves partly because of their more brightly colored preferences.
 
1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Nightshirt
Shirt for gentleman, with embroidered bosom.

Socks for men 1872
1880s Boating Cap and Jacket Kerry Taylor Auctions

Evening Suit  1880s  The Victoria & Albert Museum

Evening Vest  1885-1895  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What were women wearing? Huge oval hoop dresses evolving to the bustle through natural form, back to the bustle, finally A-frame.

Fashion overview Alfred Roller (modified)

1894-1896  The Indianapolis Museum of Art

Want inspiration? Watch Forsythe Saga, The Buccaneers or one of the longer running time series like The Pallisers

Opposing Votes for Men

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Then & Now ~ Black Evening Dress with Lace Details

Then

Evening Dress  1890s  Augusta Auctions

 Now

Anna-Scholz-Lace-Dress-from-Bloomingdales

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

10 Ways To Steampunk Your Halloween


It seems to me, Gentle Reader that Halloween is the perfect time to get all over steampunk. What with the fall colors and the spirit of DIY and costuming, not to mention a surfeit of smoke machines (steam!) it's a great excuse to play with the steampunk aesthetic. So I have gathered for you, 10 ways to steampunk up your Halloween festivities.

1. Steampunk Costume


If you're not of the type to do it yourself, here are some cheap steampunk Halloween costumes. However, if you are of a mind to go thirfting here are some basic tips for women or men, and here is a DIY on making your own pocket belt from an old pair of cargo pants.I suggest guiding your costume choices with a theme or an aesthetic, here is Liz, an editor at Tor, whose costume is all editing related: she has a stet gun, a bracelet of old typewriter keys and so forth.


Of course, you could always dress up as Professor Elemental. Very meta.

 

2. Steampunk Pumpkins 


I've forayed into this arena myself, bellow is my attempt at a teacup pumpkin and a whole set made by a particularly creative fan.



3. Steampunk cupcakes


Just add a spider or orange icing.

4. Get decorative


Use old metal parts for large or small installation decorations. Here, for example is a steampunk spider, crawling out the the fireplace or over the mantlepiece. Or you can use teacups and teapots, even old cracked ones, and place orange candles inside them, have small black cats or some other creature perched inside, crawling out. Don't forget that octopus and other slimy creatures can be both creepy and steampunk.

5. Use accessories to decorate. 


Here, for example a black parasol becomes a table decoration accompanied by various nibbles.


Or, a top hat becomes a table feature. You could use a clean one to pass out candy, or even cover one with cling film before filling with chips or dried flowers.


Take inspiration from Sheyne & Glenn's scientific Victorian steampunk octopus wedding. Smoke machines are the best!

6. I know it's Halloween, but don't forget savory food. 


Here are some cheesy nibbles from the frozen food section of my local grocery store, we just arranged them nicely. A few small pumpkins or gourds scattered about, the occasional gear or steampunk object, an old clock, and suddenly it's Steampunk Halloween.


7. Lighting is worth a bit of attention. 


In addition to carving pumpkins, you can also use parasols for lighting (although take care to be mindful of fire hazards).


Cover with some fake spider webbing and a big bug or two and creepy combines with classy.

8. If you wanted to get super creative...


Helium inflated balloons make great looking hot air balloons or chubby dirigibles. Here some friends created hot air balloon hats for a very silly event using string, ribbon, glue, and tiny baskets:




Here's a DIY on how to turn a paper lantern into a hot air balloon decoration, uses a paper cup for the basket. Did you know there were black paper lanterns available? You could do a mini version of multiple hot air balloons on a string around Christmas lights (the red ones would be suitably creepy). Or here are other options in the hot air balloon arena, keep to a creepy Halloween color pallet and adapt for the occasion.

10. Thinking of drinks? 


How about adapting the idea of these Free Harry Potter/Halloween Drink Printables for your steampunk Halloween party?


The author with the Gentlemen of Steampunk: Trip & Glenn of The League of S.T.E.A.M (playing bookends) and Thomas Willeford of Brute Force Studios.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.