The Costumer's Manifesto: 18th Century Men's Dress
18th Century Men's Dress
I ride in a chair with my hands in a muff
And have bought a silk coat and embroidered the cuff
But the weather was cold and the coat was thin
So the tailor advised me to line it with skin:
But what with my Nivernois hat can compare
Bag, wig and laced ruffled, and black solitaire?
And what can a man of true fashion denote
Like an ell of good ribbon tyed under the throat?
My buckles and box are of exquisite taste
The one is of paper the other of paste.
Scenes from the life of a rich Aristocrat in France c. 1770:
The Enlightenment caused a number of changes inmens ideal image. Intelligence and wit were prized above physical prowess of anykind and the army became a profession only resorted to by the poorer, younger sons of thenobility. Military dress played less of a part in the fashion inspiration for mensclothes as a result, and womens dress, Asiatic dress, and Country clothing wereturned to as sources of inspiration instead.
Banyan" (Asian style robe) and turban like cap for wearing at home, inspired byPersian (Iranian) dress. Well to do intellectual men often had themselvespainted "at home" in their Banyans, instead of in formal full dress.
It should be noted that In England at this time period highfashion and everyday dress for the nobility became separated into two distinct entities,for example, a mid-18th Century English Duke might wear laces, gilt embroidery and velvetsat a formal occasion yet wear simple dark Quaker built clothes during the day, almostindistinguishable from what a middle class shopkeeper might wear.
The Dominant style in the the early part of thecentury was with the formal mode of dress which gradually phased out, until in 1800,almost all that was left was the informal day dress. Throughout the century the two stylesexisted side-by-side, usually cut along the same lives and only distinguished by color,fabric and trimming.
Go on to:
Patterns For The Drawing Below and other Men's Clothing,available at
Getting dressed in the 18th Century: