Clothes Make the Man

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Introduction M972.51.1-2 M2002X.6.1 I-27904.1 M972.81.13 I-42589.1 M973.49.7 M973.49.11.1-3 II-100033
Journal des dames et des modes
1828, 19th century
19 x 13 cm
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Print (10661)
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Keys to History

Over the course of the early 19th century, social pressures to keep the spheres of men and women separate gradually consigned fashion to women. A keen interest in fashion was considered unmanly.

The contrast between men and women's clothing became increasingly obvious. Dark shades and lack of ostentation, thought to be consistent with the serious and "manly" pursuits of business and politics, dominated men's wardrobes. Colours and fabrics once worn by both men and women became associated solely with femininity.

  • What

    This early-19th-century fashion plate contrasts the sombre yet elegant man's clothing with the exuberant frills of his female companions.

  • Where

    Men's fashion plates were usually found in specialized tailoring journals, but were rare in women's magazines. This one appeared in the Journal des Dames et des Modes.

  • When

    This fashion plate is dated November 1828.

  • Who

    A man's tailor would frequently draw his attention to fashion plates. This one, appearing in a woman's magazine, might have been brought to his notice at home.