Cravats were heavily starched and tied in asymmetrical fashion during the early 1850s, but toward the end of the decade, softer cravat styles emerged.
What to look for: Matching trousers, waistcoats and frock coats.
This was especially true in the 1840s when men’s clothing offered tightly tailored coats and trousers. What to look for: Single-breasted, semi-fitted coats falling to mid-thigh.
In the early 1840s, shirts contained high straight collars with thin cravats worn in a bow tie style. 1850s men’s fashion was still considered formal, but clothing was looser, less tailored and made a statement with embellishments.
Shirt collars were still worn high and starched with tips turned down into wings during the earlier part of the 1890s.
Older gentlemen still wore frock coats, but younger conservative men would sometimes do so, as well.
Even the most seasoned family historian will run into this headscratcher from time to time as Victorian fashions throughout the time period can look very similar to the untrained eye. Every fashionable gentleman could be seen wearing narrowly tailored sack suits during the 1870s.
Lounge suits continued to trend well into the 1890s with trousers sporting creases down the front. Cuffed trousers were also fashionable during the early 1900s.
But just as you can decipher the dates of Victorian family photos by photo type,women’s clothing styles and hairstyles, you can also do so by using fashion hints found in men’s clothing from the Victorian era. Frock coats were still considered fashionable for daywear, as well. Many type of facial hair: full mustaches, full beards, walrus mustaches that droop down and are oiled.
This article will help you date old family photos and identify ancestors by breaking down men’s Victorian era clothing style characteristics by decade. Men’s clothing of the 1860s featured single-breasted and semi-fitted coats and jackets that fell to the mid-thigh. And even though matching suits were still worn, men’s fashion began to shift toward mismatched separates. As the Victorian era neared its ending during the 1880s, fashionable men preferred lounge suits over more formal suit styles for daywear.
Later in the decade, cravats were wider and fabric was held in place by frames. Tight trousers and waistcoats, high upstanding collars with neckties tied around them. During this time, men’s frock coats had wider lapels and waistcoats were adorned with metal buttons and patterns.
What to look for: Low, tight-cinched waists, rounded chest and flared frock-coats giving the illusion of an hourglass figure. The sack coat — a loosely fitted jacket — was also introduced.