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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. If you’re hitting a brick wall when it comes to identifying family members in old photos from the Victorian era, you’re not alone. Collars were then worn down with long, knotted ties during the latter part of the decade.
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. 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.
Keep in mind that the descriptions are generalities and you could end up coming across exceptions to these clothing clues during your research. Waistcoats during this decade came without collars. Very slim cravats with tiny bow ties were also popular. Lounge suits offered slim silhouettes and jackets were worn partially undone, showing off a more relaxed style and revealing high-buttoned waistcoats and watch chains. In the Victorian era, men’s daily dress was more formal than it is today. Men also wore their collars highly-starched with neckties and elaborate cravats during the earlier part of the century, and by the late 1860s, string-style cravats that were more narrow emerged. What to look for: Lighter-colored trousers and black coats.