Body Dressing “Manliness, Modernity, and the Shaping of Male Clothing”

In this chapter of “Body Dressing” it is addressed that men beginning in the nineteenth century also took fashion or dress serious especially for social activities though men were not as costumed as women. As men’s fashion became more demanded, the idea of masculinity being presented in dress also came about. As expressed in the article Gender in the Proceedings, gender roles in the 18th century “Men and women were thought to inhabit bodies with different physical make-ups and to possess fundamentally different qualities and virtues. Men, as the stronger sex, were thought to be intelligent, courageous, and determined”. The need for tailoring is also discussed in this chapter. In late 18th century, the interest in standardized measuring and cutting techniques set the bar for mass production of clothing, which also offered the tailoring industry to be loose in its craft to the people. There became no sense of standardization for the “ideal model”; the tailoring industry gave more flexibility to the fit of clothing rather than basing designs of clothing on an ideal model body reaching a wider audience. The tailoring system also opened the door for new trends of style of fashion to come about at a more fast paste. The role of a tailor can also be considered erogenous in context of how personal the tailor has to be to their client’s body parts. Because of this view on the tailoring process there became protocol for the measurement system to bodies as of 1880’s. For example, tailors were now advised to stand aside their clients instead of in awkwardly in front of their client’s groans. Outfitters and hosiers offered a more simple system for consumers by offering a ready-to wear selection of clothing to people as a start to retail transactions. This also gave more account to the transition of garment styles. For example, the idea of characterizing garments to associate with different activities and those not job related (“Lounge suit- reserved for relaxation in a domestic setting”) and those that include physical attention (knitted sweater). As time progressed, style of dress became glamourized and constituted to sexual attractiveness for a visual appeal. For example the shortening of athletic gear acted as a way of evaluating themselves visually against other men as competition as well as to attract women.

Femininity vs Masculinity style dress in the 1800’s

The emergence of Mens swim wear in the early 1900’s

Mens 1800’s Lounge suit


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