Clothes Make the Man
Judge Monk's group, Montreal, QC, 1867
William Notman (1826-1891)
1867, 19th century
Silver salts on paper mounted on paper - Albumen process
10.2 x 14 cm
Purchase from Associated Screen News Ltd.
© McCord Museum
Keywords: male (26812) , Photograph (77678) , portrait (53878)
Keys to History
As definitions of masculinity evolved throughout the 19th century, men conformed to the increasingly dominant social belief that they should not be interested in fashion. The sombre colours and unobtrusive styles that had begun to dominate men's wardrobes earlier in the century became entrenched during the last half of the century.
An 1860s etiquette manual cautioned that: "The dress of a gentleman should be such as not to excite any special observation, unless it be for neatness and propriety. The utmost care should be exercised to avoid even the appearance of desiring to attract attention."
Counselled against even appearing to be interested in fashion, men were constrained to express their sense of style much more subtly than before.
Arthur Martine, Martine's Hand-Book of Etiquette, and Guide to True Politeness (New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1866), p. 48.
The clothing worn by these men exemplifies the restraint that overtook men's fashions during the last half of the 19th century.
Posed formally in a professional photographer's studio, these men are dressed relatively casually.
This photograph was taken in 1867, when men's clothing was much looser than in earlier decades.
This group of men, who vary widely in age, show a few stylish touches--the contrasting stripe on the trousers, the carefully knotted ties and the negligently posed walking stick.