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Miss Whitlock
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« on: July 22, 2016, 02:17:51 PM »

So, I am really not sure where to put this.  Huh

I have been taking your collective advice to do my own research, since I have only the vaguest clue as to mens/boys clothing from 1850-1860s. The research consisted of looking up the old daguerreotypes or photographs, using various Google search terms, and looking at Liz's compendium entry on dressing boys. I came up with some things, but I kinda want to run them by ya'll to see if I am on the right track.

So:
  • Men always have a shirt, of a white or possibly super-washable-calico-or-stripe-similar-to-apron fabric?
  • Men always have trousers, which seem to generally be dark colored
  • Men always use suspenders to hold up their pants, usually with a couple buttons on each strap in the front (I didn't look at the back)
  • Center fly trousers are ok for general working-impression use
  • Men and boys wear hats (not sure about rules/generalizations for these, but they definitely wore them)
  • That being the basic outfit, the boys could then also optionally add a tunic that is belted (not sure with what) or a vest and/or coat
  • Men could add a vest and/or coat, or an overshirt thing, which kind of looks like wool, is always tucked in (?), and still has the regular shirt and a necktie underneath
  • Also, neckties were common, but optional for working wear.
  • The shirts seem to be center closure (except the overshirts, which appear to have the option of that Seven Brides for 7 Brothers style), and the regular shirts may have maybe only had openings down about 12-16 inches (hickory-style opening?).
  • Collars on the shirts seem to have been only present some of the time, and there seems to have been some variety in shape if they were there.

How'd I do? Any glaring holes or bad assumptions? I am kinda thinking out loud; is that ok, or should I try to formulate a more specific question? Any other notes or suggestions?

Thanks!
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Ms. Jean
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« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2016, 04:48:14 AM »

Looks like you've gathered good information!

Have you read through the Men's and Boys threads here?  Lots of expert advice available!

Also, the over shirt can be linen.

HTH, Jean
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Ms. Jean
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2016, 06:04:11 AM »

The first rule is to not say "always" or "never", because you can find exceptions to every rule Smiley.  However, most of your conclusions are good general rules.

I would make the following counterpoints:

- Trousers could be light colored or even white if they are made of a washable fabric

- Trousers could have front suspender buttons either singly or in pairs

- Fly-front trousers are not just OK, but pretty well universal style by the 1860's

- Caps can be worn as well as hats

- Men's overshirts may be tucked or untucked.  If you think about it, it's pretty difficult to tuck in a shirt that's worn over your suspenders...
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Miss Whitlock
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2016, 12:49:35 PM »

I will certainly read the mens forum again then, since last time I think I sort of skimmed it.  Roll Eyes Linen overshirts? Interesting!

Gotcha, never say never.  Cheesy

Those are good counterpoints; duly noted.  Smiley

I am curious about the overshirts, since the idea of the suspenders (called braces in sutlery... wonder if that is correct?) did preclude tucking things in. Did they just not wear suspenders if they wore an overshirt? I suppose the bulk of a heavy overshirt might fill out the waistband enough to make suspenders unnecessary.

Thanks for all the help Ms. Jean and Mr. Ruley! It is very encouraging!
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2016, 07:31:07 PM »


I am curious about the overshirts, since the idea of the suspenders (called braces in sutlery... wonder if that is correct?) did preclude tucking things in. Did they just not wear suspenders if they wore an overshirt? I suppose the bulk of a heavy overshirt might fill out the waistband enough to make suspenders unnecessary.


Suspenders could be called braces, or gallusses - and probably lots of other things.

I think of a true overshirt as being worn like a vest or coat.  As such, an ordinary shirt would be worn underneath, with the suspenders over that; and the overshirt worn untucked as a top layer.  But that's just my preference.

If the overshirt is to be tucked in without braces, then some other means must be used to hold up the trousers.  If the man has a narrow waist, the adjustment belt or laces at the back of the trousers may be adequate for this.  Otherwise, there are illustrations of men wearing belts over trousers, although as I understand it belt loops were uncommon.
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Miss Whitlock
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« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2016, 10:53:56 AM »

Oh really? Wow, I need to go back and reexamine the tucked overshirts.

Do you have a rule you use generally for when to wear vests/coats/overshirts and when shirtsleeves are ok? It seems that shirtsleeves were generally ok for working in, but they didn't exactly save their vests or coats for Sundays either....
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2016, 03:32:04 PM »

From what I've observed, it really depend on the work being done, the weather, and the economic station and needs of the individual. It's very hard to define a rule, as there are nearly unlimited possibilities for each individual's situation.
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Elizabeth
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2016, 06:11:58 AM »

The modern man has a number of "layers" for transitional seasons. So does the period man. Which he chooses will depend on who he is, what he's doing, and the statement he needs his wardrobe to make about him.

In example, it's a bit chilly... a modern man doing heavy work might choose a sweatshirt, a hoodie, an insulated flannel, a rugged sweater, or a windbreaker jacket. The period man in a similar situation has options too... perhaps an over-shirt, perhaps a knitted shirt, perhaps an under-shirt, perhaps a rugged coat.

The office worker or professional man is unlikely to wear an over-shirt to work; but "blue collar" workers can consider it an option.
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