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Men's fashion
Men's fashion of the nineteenth century or patricide, feminine waist and button with baby’s tooth.
During the 19th century men’s fashion was not a subject to such rapid and spectacular transformations as ladies fashion. Shiny silks of the previous century were replaced with matt woolen material in subdued colors. Color palette had been considerably shrunk. Rows of roses were no more blooming on justacorps. What counted now were restraint, elegance and perfect style of dress, perfectly fitted to figure.
Not only did the number of variations of male attire was rather limited, additionally one had to reckon with many rigid precepts: what, where, when and how to wear (eg, a precisely defined number of buttons on jackets or rigorous and detailed instructions for tying a tie).

Over the years, the same outfit was changing its function such was for example a case with a tailcoat; originally all-day dress it became exclusively an evening dress, and suit with a short jacket initially worn at home or during summer holidays, eventually became a popular dress worn in the city: to work or during casual visits.

At the beginning of the century, under the influence of fascination with the English way of life there evolved a fashion for men’s dress modeled on the riding outfit. It consisted of cloth tailcoat, fair color vest and fair, tight, knee length or slightly longer trousers, well fitted pantaloons and horse riding boots. For evening and formal occasions shallow shoes with a square buckle were worn and exposed calves were sometimes colored in pink to highlight the intricate pattern of silk stockings with which they were covered.

As an addition white shirt and tie or actually a neckerchief of very thin fabric, wrapped several times around high collar and decoratively tied in front of the neck. Outfit was complete with a hat initially with a low crown and for fanciness with a whip or cane.

English style tailcoat (anglez) in calm colors (black, brown, muted green, dark blue) was fastened by one or two rows of buttons. It had a high cut in front in the shape of inverted "U" letter revealing the bottom part of vest. On the back, tails cut in the middle, reached to the height of knee. In parallel, tailcoats modeled on the French costume of preceding era, so-called habit. were also used, but soon were replaced by English tailcoats, being still in use for some time as festive and ball costumes.

So in the early 19th century London became the undisputed center of men's fashion. It was there that an unusual phenomenon appeared - the English dandy - a young elegant man, impeccably dressed in a finely cut and sewn from high quality material tailcoat, in perfectly white shirt and tie tied in a perfect knot, taking care of every detail of his dress, cleanly and fragrant. Many years later, Thomas Carlyle in "Sartor Resartus" wrote critically that "the dandy is a man-who-wears-clothes, his profession, office and existence are founded on wearing clothes. (...) So as others dress to live, he lives to dress.” But dandyism is yet something more. It's not just about clothes - it's also a way of wearing them: free, slightly nonchalant, refined. It is also a way of being - impeccable manners, sophisticated sense of humor, self-control, distance and even certain coldness. Many prominent artists of that era were considered dandies - including among others Oscar Wilde, Alfred de Musset and George Byron - this however did not prevent them from creating immortal works which entered the canon of arts.

Frederic Chopin though he hardly could be called a dandy, still attached immense importance to his costume. He particularly cared for excellent quality of his vests, "immaculate white" gloves and shoes, which so delighted with their elegance a great painter Eugene Delacroix, that he decided to order similar ones at the same shoemaker.

Chopin was also famous for his sophisticated attention to interior design of places he lived in and where he received the cream of the society, turning those places into romantic style temples of art. Particularly admired were violas, with which he ordered his rooms to be adorned and which were being taken care of by specially for this purpose hired florist.

Sophisticated, fashion following men were staring at an unattainable model, which was the London arbiter elegantiarum George Bryan Brummel, called Beau (from French for. Beautiful) Brummel. With his approach to fashion, attention to hygiene (frequent bathing, daily teeth brushing, neat shave), lifestyle, brilliant wit, he was the first to impose a cannon of how to be truly fashionable, elegant, how to be a dandy. It was he who promoted evening outfit consisting of a dark blue tailcoat, long pantaloons of the same color, a white vest and boots made of black patent leather, which he reportedly advised to preserve and polish with ... champagne.

The Congress of Vienna (1815) brought with it more then only political changes. A rich bourgeoisie was given a voice. Also fashion was meant to meet its needs. The Biedermeier style arrived with its bourgeois practicality and reliability. Frock coat in dark, subdued colors, suitable for urban living, entered on the stage as a main male overcoat. Cut at the waist, slightly globed, with flaps closing in front it was worn on top of shirt and vest. White shirts were provided with high stand-up collars, raised up to the cheeks and wrapped in a batiste neckerchief, tied in front in decorative knot or bow. This model has gained ominous sounding name Vatermorder, which translated means: patricide, the murderer of father, probably referring to "comfort" which this rigid structure provided to its user.

Romantic poets manifested their rebellion against the mundane bourgeois world, its ideals and aspirations also by means of ... fashion. Wearing soft, lined, exposing neck collars (see known in the fashion world collar à la Słowacki), they rejected the one that was rigid, uncomfortable, one worn by Biedermeier period dandy. And it was not just a collar, but above all a rigid and uncomfortable bourgeois worldview. With untidy hair, wrapped in a large black cloak, they were escaping "over and above" into spheres unattainable for ordinary mortal.

Against a background of white shirt and dark frock coat or tailcoat as multi color butterfly flourished colorful vest, painstakingly embroidered by diligent biedermeier fiancée, daughter or wife. Yes, often not just one but two vests. Or one, but with a few additional collars of different materials in different colors sewn in.

Tailcoat was still worn but its style changed. The front is now cut straight, long, ending just above the waist. But its career as all day dress slowly came to an end. In the mid-1820s it must handover its primacy to a frock coat. In return it would still reign supreme at balls, in opera and during momentous celebrations.
In the second decade pantaloons extend to ankles, where they are fastened with buttons or buckles. Loose trousers with sewn in stirrup passing under the sole, thanks to which they had elegant elastic line were also worn and they promoted by Beau Brummel. Obtaining this effect was also helped by French straps with sawn springs. After 1825 for daily use men put on only long trousers with low shoes with square, narrow tips.
Since the end of the 1820s, especially in the 1830s and 1840s a remarkable trend towards male silhouette becoming more like female silhouette could be witnessed. Just like in ladies fashion sloping shoulders, narrow waist, plain, convex torso, so called pigeon breast, slender statue, rounded hips - were obligatory. To get this effect, various tailoring tricks were used. Tailcoats and frock coats had thin, long flaps, sleeves sewn in narrowly, puffy, narrower at the top and at the bottom resembling known from ladies dresses so called gigot (ram leg), although not as exaggerated in size, padded front (convex chest). To emphasize wide, feminine-like hips tails of a frock coat were heavily globed and long pants initially had creasing at the waist and narrowed only towards the knees. As for the indented waist, some men did not hesitate to use the help of a ... corset. Also hairdo of elegant gentleman was modeled after that of ladies hairdos. At the top of the head hair were neatly piled up in waves and on smoothly shaved face there were elaborate sideburns, referring to the women's long curls, swaying gracefully on both sides of womanly face. Shallow black leather slippers were often decorated with graceful ribbons (!), and finely tied ties resembled bows and ribbons on women's dresses.
At the end of the 1830s there began lasting almost ten years fashion for ... flexible, checkered trousers. The fabrics from which they were sewn, so called [polish] lastyki, were obtained in an innovative way by adding to the yarn during weaving narrow strips of latex.

In the early 1840s tużurek [polish; kind of frock coat] arrived on stage of men's fashion. As suggested by its name (fr. tout jour - all day), it was an all-day attire. It had rounded tails oftentimes collar made of velvet and cuffs and a cut out pocket over the left breast and it was buttoned up with five buttons.

During the 1850s, men's clothing again became more masculine. There were no more padded plastrons, thin waistlines and wide lower parts of frock coats. Clothes were looser and more comfortable. In fashion were gray flannel trousers, dark or white, plain or patterned vests. White shirt was worn in the city and stripped or checkered during stays in the countryside. It was finished with lower than previously collar and its sleeves with single or double cuffs.

Ten years later clothes worn closer to the body became fashionable which resulted in more slender male silhouette. Overcoats were shortened and reached to the knees. Each of the three parts of a suit was sewn of the same material. Tużurek style frock coat, simpler in style with less cut out tails gained useful pockets. Woolen black or dark gray jacket with sharply cut out flaps in front, complete with white shirt, vest and stripped pants was an official day dress. Additionally top hat and gloves were mandatory. With time much more comfortable, shorter jacket replaced tużurek style frock coat and along with vest and trousers of the same fabric constituted until the end of the century (and beyond) the classic suit. At the end of the century trousers, loose on their entire length, gained edges. In the 1890s there again appeared ominous shadow of patricide, namely collars were reaching height of ten centimeters and were together with shirt heavily starched. As one can imagine, this was not conducive to comfort and freedom of the male neck.

In the nineteenth century rules on selection of attire depending on the time of the day when specific activities or entertainment were performed were strictly adhered to. Thus, "negligee" had a different meaning than today, as it meant loose dress worn before noon, in which among others visit by friends were received, "half-dress" in turn, was a day time attire, appropriate for example for a walk and "dress" – meant evening dress, required while attending an elegant ball or in the theater.
Fashionable men, especially with artistic and intellectual ambitions or the one who wanted to impress with mysterious, exotic charm, in the morning received visitors in oriental costume. He wore dressing-gown sewn from Turkish fabric and lined with silk or wool, tied with a silk cord with decorative tassels. His head was adorned by a richly embroidered oriental cap or Turkish fez cap. On his feet he put on no less exotic Chinese, Kazan or Circassian shoes with tips rolled up. Smoking pipe on a long stem he charmed the ladies. In the mid-century the role of morning costume was also served by - maybe not as showy, but more practical – smoking jacket (polish: bonżurka from French: bon jour - good morning). The outfit was similar to a loose jacket with collar and cuffs, made ​​from soft woolen fabric. Sometimes front and cuffs of clothing were decorated with braids.

Tailcoat which was initially an all day dress in the 1860s became the exclusive evening dress. The only acceptable deviation from this rule could be a military or clerical uniform. For the exclusively black woolen tailcoat, adorned with silk, also black reverses a long pants of the same material were being put on. They were provided with black stripes stiffening legs, so that they had a straight, elegant line. White tailcoat shirt had a starched, arranged in tabs front and stiffened cuffs and collar. Mandatory vest was in 1860s black only to once again take a white color in the near future.

Despite the fact that since about 1860 ties resembling our contemporary, with elongated shape and flat knot started to be worn, the exclusive finishing for elegant evening silhouette was a white bow tie made of cotton.

This very rigorously treated outfit - rigid etiquette did not tolerate any exceptions! - was a perfect setting for a fabulously colorful, rich dresses of beautiful ladies. 1880s were the most brilliant years for the tailcoat, its style till the end of its popularity was only minimally changed. Black top hat, white gloves and a black coat or cape complemented formal, evening dress.

So dressed dandy with a monocle in his eye, with white silk scarf cache nez (fr. cover your nose) fancifully tied around his neck, nonchalantly waving a stick with silver or ivory grip, became a symbol of a gentleman at the end of the nineteenth century.

Since the 1880s tailcoat gained a surprising new function. It was being put on ... servants. There were sometimes awkward situations when a noble guest was being "presented with" dirty plate or glass. To avoid such unfortunate situations dress was modified. In servant livery buttons were shiny, pants deprived of stripes and under the chin a black bow tie was placed.

At the end of the 1880s on the stage of the evening fashion there appeared a tuxedo. It is sewn from a thin black woolen material it was looser fit and had a similar to a tailcoats shawl-like, finished with a black satin, collar, but it was devoid of distinctive tailcoat tails. Originally worn open with the time it gained a one button fastening. To complete a black vest and black bow tie were being worn. The British replaced the vest with a broad silk belt, folded into horizontal tabs, among which laid a small pocket.

Americans and Britons argue to this day about the paternity of a tuxedo. Americans, among whom this convenient, appropriate for less formal occasions dress had gained a great popularity, regarded its inventor to be a millionaire Griswold "Grizzly" Lorillard. Apparently he himself was the first in 1886 to appear in such clothes in the exclusive Tuxedo Club in New York (hence the American name tuxedo or tux). Britons derive tuxedo directly from the smoking jacket, jacket that was worn by men while they indulged in their fatal habit in special smoking rooms. It was a nod to the ladies, because thanks to this change of clothes tailcoat did not acquire disgusting for the ladies smell of tobacco smoke. It was sewn from colorful velvet with oriental patterns.

Another theory is that as early as 1860 the famous English tailor, Henry Poole invented jacket of such style for the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII), as an alternative to the more formal tailcoat. A dozen years later American guests of the Prince, delighted with the new dress, transplanted it into New York's soil, where it was presented first in the Tuxedo Club.
The undisputed king of men's headgear of the nineteenth century was a top hat. Created by London hatter John Heathcote in the last years of the eighteenth century it survived and was fashionable in almost unchanged form during the next century. It was worn both during day and in the evenings as an item of formal dress. It consisted of a crown in the shape of a high, rigid cylinder and of narrow brim. Originally top hats were made of high quality felt made from beaver’s skin, then of silk. Those hats very well cared for: polished to give them a gloss, cleaned with velvet cloth, brushed and periodically turned over to a specialized shop for cleaning and ironing. These precious marvels of hat making artisanry were carefully stored in special profiled boxes. Most elegant ones – for evening use - were exclusively in black, for daytime occasions also brighter colors were allowed even white.
To make life easier for users, Antoine Gibus Paris hatter invented and patented in the 1830s a spring mechanism allowing to collapse the top hat to a shape of a flat cake. This enabled user to comfortably hold the hat under his arm in situations requiring head to be uncovered. In honor of the inventor this type of headgear was called gibus (or opera hat) and in polish szapoklak (from French: chapeau claque - which originated from the sound produced by a spring bouncing after appropriately hitting brim on the shoulder and restoring the original shape of the top hat.)

However not always this chic part of male attire enjoyed admiration and delight. On the polish lands during the partitions a kind of "condemnation of the top hat" took place. Gentlemen wearing it were being perceived by the patriotic society as cosmopolitans leaning to foreign fashion. Sometimes, especially during the national mourning (1861-1866), they were subject to attacks by more hotheaded patriots. Top hats were being thrown down and trampled upon, and it happened that they were being flattened directly on the head of the subject.

Who could have thought that proud, spoiled, top hat, major decoration of man’s head after a brisk career throughout the nineteenth century and almost half of the twentieth will be degraded to an item of chimney-sweep dress, luxurious hotel porter uniform, or an attribute of circus magician. Remains of its former splendor can sometimes shine during equestrian events when it is placed on the elegant rider's or horsewoman head or appears as a carnival costume prop.

From the 1820s straw hats (boaters) with wide brim (with narrow brim at the end of the century), bound with ribbon were worn as item of recreational attire used while relaxing in the countryside or during summer trip. With sport dresses and for hunting hats-caps with visors were worn. In the second half of the century assortment of men's headwear has included a bowler hat - a hat, as its [polish] name suggests, looking like a half melon. It was relatively small with a stiff, hard, half-round crown, narrow brim and rolled up top edge. At the beginning of the following century bowler has become a favorite part of the London City official’s attire, as well as of Tsarist Okhrana (secret police) agent.
And what kind of overcoat was covering nineteenth-century gentleman? At the beginning of the century, during Emperor Napoleon's time, fashionable become a long, wide carrick style coat with multilayer cape-like collar. It took its name from a carriage, for rides in which it was being frequently and happily used.

From 1820 redingote began to be worn, knee-length, with globed tails, modeled on the English raincoats. Then paletot, looser and longer than frock coat, which initially was worn over the vest, but with time as overcoat. Also sweeping capes so favored by the romantic artists enjoyed popularity.

Elegant man used jewelry with restraint, utilizing limited variety. Adornment of the male wardrobe were (mostly gold) watch-chains, cufflinks, tie and shirt pins, made ​​of precious and semiprecious stones, coral (often carved), pearls bound in gold or silver. Man's hands were decorated by signet and wedding ring. But there were specific curiosa, such as fashion prevailing in the 1860s for buttons in which a variety of memorabilia, be it travel (shells), or a family (wife's hair, or milk teeth of children) were placed behind glass.

In Poland, in Russian partition, after the fall of the November Uprising, a short, cloth [polish:] czmara started to be worn as a national dress for men. It was a dress fastened with one row of buttons with brads on the front of the torso and stand-up collar with no flaps. Against prohibition by the tsarist authorities during the national mourning, besides black dresses of ladies, there also appeared black czamaras as manifestation of patriotic sentiments. Those men wearing such a dress were being persecuted. To humiliate the Poles, Russian gendarmes cut off ribbons and flaps of czamaras and knocked down of their heads konfederatka-style caps.

Under the Austrian partition where regime was much milder, inhabitants of aristocratic strata and landed gentry introduced a fashion for wearing a national dress namely: kontusz, żupan, kalpak with tassel, during family ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. With permission from the government of Galicia kontusz style dress became official dress for all kind of public and political celebrations. Sometimes it happened that those old polish clothes were being ordered from abroad – kontuszes from Vienna and belts from Vienna or Moravia. Oftentimes they were remote from original ones, becoming a subject of ridicule from experts who called those items “frock coats or coats with goats”. Well, at a time when Poland was not marked on maps, even such inept imitations of the national dress warmed hearts yearning for a free homeland.
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