Historical Sew Fortnightly

The HSF ’14: Challenge #22: Gentlemen

Do you know how long it has been since I’ve done a HSF inspiration post?

Long enough that I’m now two challenges behind!  Anyway, catching up to do!

Per popular vote, the theme of the HSF ’14 Challenge #22, due Monday 1 December, is ‘Gentlemen’: Make a historical item for a gentlemen, or a ladies item inspired by/borrowed from menswear.

I am just overwhelmed with ideas!  There are so many fantastic things I could make, either for Mr D (I live in hope…) or as menswear or menswear inspired things for me!

Here are a few bits of manly fashions that amuse and attract me:

Shepherds, 1430s

Shepherds, 1430s

Medieval stirrup stockings?  Of course!

Saint Lucia in Court, 1532, Lorenzo Lotto

Saint Lucia in Court, 1532, Lorenzo Lotto

Obviously, the actual menswear depicted in Lotto’s painting is pretty fantastic (those stockings!  Those slashed shoes!), but Saint Lucia’s gown, with its slashed sleeves and bodice, is also menswear inspired (probably), as slashing was said to have become a fad after the slashed effect of mens clothing after a battle.

Portrait of a Young Man, by Federico Barocci (Il Baroccio), perhaps c. 1580-90 but possibly slightly later, ca. 1600

Portrait of a Young Man, by Federico Barocci (Il Baroccio), perhaps c. 1580-90 but possibly slightly later, ca. 1600

Is there anything not to love about Barocci’s young man’s outfit?  That fabric!  Those buttons!  The utterly gorgeous ruff!  (and, of course, some ruff styles were unisex).

Outfit worn by Charles X Gustav of Sweden (1622-1660), 1647 Collection of the Royal Armoury.

Outfit worn by Charles X Gustav of Sweden (1622-1660), 1647 Collection of the Royal Armoury.

Mid 17th century men’s clothes are so funny, but also quite gorgeous.  That silver trim!  And the cape!

 

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France, at the age of 16 years, 1771

Archduchess Maria Antonia of Austria, the later Queen Marie Antoinette of France, at the age of 16 years, 1771

And, of course, there is always 18th century woman’s riding outfits, with multiple elements borrowed directly from menswear.

Court suit worn by Johann Hummel, Uncut voided silk velvet, silk faille, silk embroidery floss, gold & silver embroidery purl & frieze, rhinestone & metal sequins c. 1810-14 Paris, France, FIDM Museum, 2008.947.2A-C

Court suit worn by Johann Hummel, Uncut voided silk velvet, silk faille, silk embroidery floss, gold & silver embroidery purl & frieze, rhinestone & metal sequins c. 1810-14 Paris, France, FIDM Museum, 2008.947.2A-C

One day I’m going to make a fully embroidered men’s court suit…or two, so I can have one for me!

Riding habit of green wool, circa 1825. From the Rijks Museum.

Riding habit of green wool, circa 1825. From the Rijks Museum.

Following on from their 18th century predecessors, most 19th century women’s riding habits have designs and decorations that are heavily based on menswear and mens tailoring.

Banyan, French, 1830s, silk, Les Arts Decoratif

Banyan, French, 1830s, silk, Les Arts Decoratif

And this particular banyan is so glorious that if I had one I would wear it every day – as a coat!

Gazette of Fashion and Cutting-Room Companion 1872

Gazette of Fashion and Cutting-Room Companion 1872

I love the more relaxed mens sporting and outdoors fashions of the mid-late 19th century, and the way they inspired 20th century ‘Safari’ gear.

1887, Godey's Ladies Book

1887, Godey’s Ladies Book

Boater hats?  Borrowed from menswear!  And, of course, both of these yacht club costumes were heavily influenced by menswear (and are fabulous).

George Arliss was a stage actor in the early ’20th century, and oh boy, did he know how to look fabulous!  Check out the striped buttons, and the little piggy on his watch chain!

Journal des Dames et des Modes 1912

Journal des Dames et des Modes 1912

This would be the ladies costume take on the men’s sporting wear, and I think it’s just sublime!

Madge Bellamy, 1920s

Madge Bellamy, 1920s

As is, of course, Madge in jodhpurs! And jodhpurs, like any trousers for women, are clearly menswear influenced!

So, get your linen shirting, your serge and tweed and your tailoring books out, and happy sewing!

13 Comments

  1. This is a fantastic theme – there are so many ways to interpret it. I’m already set up for this challenge since I have half a banyan that was supposed to be for Paisley and Plaid, but didn’t get finished in time.

  2. Sheila says

    I’ve just stumbled across this website. It’s excellent! I’ll be a regular visitor. So much to learn…

  3. I am so hoping I get to do this one. I have so many ideas. I am thinking maybe an 1840s shirt because I would wear it all the time. I would love to do a regency coat for me or a waistcoat.
    However I haven’t completed a challenge since the White challenge (which I think I forgot to post) and I am unsure if that will change anytime soon.
    Still it’s always enjoyable to see what everyone else does.

  4. So many awesome things. I wonder, was the simple but unbelievably revolutionary shirtwaist also inspired by menswear? There’s this 1797 plate of what an anonymous reader on my blog labelled as a riding habit. I guess it is, but it’s all separates. What I’m getting at is, riding hsabits were worn with men’s (style) shirts – that plate specifically names it – and that plate also has a very modern separates-with-shirtwaist/blouse look to it.
    http://marmota-b.blogspot.cz/2013/11/i-wish-this-were-me-in-1797.html

    By the way, are those hats really bowlers? I thought bowlers were those hard, round hats.

  5. I haven’t been as active as I hoped for this HSF, but I have to jump back in for this challenge! All these examples are so inspiring…

  6. Planning on getting a jump on the riding habit I’ve been dreaming of for years for this challenge–perhaps finishing the waistcoat or shirt in time.

    • Jamie your spencer jacket is beautiful. I love all of the detail work that you did with this.

    • And I love your banyan and waistcoat Prentice. The whole outfit looks very pulled together and lush, and the lining material is fabulous with that print.

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