19th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: 1830’s menswear

Despite my concerns about your interest in last week’s Victorian Batgirl dress (black and white and a fashion sketch), it attracted lots of attention.  So much discussion about bats and aesthetics, and links to modern versions of the dress!  It rated an 8.3, because while some of you thought it was fabulous, a few of you don’t care for Victorian fancy dress.

This week I felt it was time for a change – we leave the details of the Renaissance, the splendor of Worth, the puffs of James, the wacky sexiness of Victorian fancy dress, indeed, all the frills and furbelows of womenswear, behind.

Instead, we look at menswear.  What will you think of this restrained man’s ensemble from the early years of the Romantic era?

Men's ensemble, 1833, silk coat, Metropolitan Museum of Art

The fitted blue silk jacket dates to 1833, and is worn with a palest yellow waistcoat, pleat-front buff trouser-breaches with stirrup bottoms, and a black silk cravat.  Simple with a touch of interest, or boring and mismatched?

Rate the outfit on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. I really like it. I love men’s wear in general, however, I am morally against pleated front pants…they make you look hip-py. I can forgive these just a little because I think the pleating is actually very well done…and that stirrup pant… I know this look was the normal and it was how they dealt with fit…but I can’t help but to just laugh at it…maybe it is because I used to wear stirrup pants when I was 8.

    8 points. 1 point deducted for the pleats and another for the stirrup pant.

  2. Wow this could have come right out of a Spandau Ballet video, except not enough shoulder padding! I love it, although I really never got into the whole bouffy hair and whiskers that were worn with such clobber.
    It amazes me that menswear went from the 18th C where you just couldn’t be a big enough peacock to this early 19th C restraint without getting whiplash.
    I think it’s lovely, I love the colours together, and I think MrC would look quite delicious in such garb 🙂 9.5 because only God and Vionnet are perfect!

    • Madame Ornata says

      Oh yes I could totally see MrC looking very dashing in this fabulous kit.

  3. Paul Miller says

    Attn: Sinbad
    1833 called and they want their overly pleated pants back.

  4. i like it, love the be coat, but it looks very feminine to me. the pleated stirrup pants are just a little too 80’s girl for me!
    so 7 points.

  5. Sorry but I think this outfit is horrible, those pleated pants are just terrible and the stirrups, well I’m speechless. I love the black necktie and the waistcoat, so its 2 points from me.

  6. I love the top part of the outfit, but hate it from the waist down – much prefer my men in slim fitting trousers!

    4.5/10 from me (breakdown 4.5/5 for top half 0/5 for bottom half)

  7. On a woman, the pleated pants wouldn’t work well, but I think they’d be fine on a man’s figure.

    I think it’s a beautiful combination of fabrics, colors, and lines. (The jacket is in one of my favorite shades of blue.) I’d give it a 10 except I’m philosophically opposed to giving out 10s; when you do that, you make it harder to grade the next apparent “10” that outshines the last one. But I will go with a 9.5.

  8. Frecklehead says

    Not a fan of the pleats or the stirrups, but the color and cut of the jacket and vest is lovely! Wear them with a simpler pair of trousers and you’ll be quite the well-dressed gentleman! With these pants 6/10, but with different pants 10/10

  9. Love the Jacket, like the waistcoat, Can’t think of any Man who could wear or would wear those pants even without the stirrups. Give it a 7.
    I must be about the same age as Abby because I too had a pair of stirrup pants. (with floro green and black sripes)

  10. Minerve says

    Love this outfit! I like the cut of 1830s jackets and this color is just perfect. It reminds me of one Ben Whishaw is wearing in the movie ”Bright Star” (which is set earlier though – late 1810s).

    I quite like the pants, actually. That soft cream color really matches the rest of the outfit.

    I don’t really mind the pleats. They do look a bit silly – but hey, it’s the 1830s. It’s like the 80s – these decades can get along with lots of funny things in my mind. And I’ve always liked the round hips 1830s pants give to masculine silhouette – such an unusual sight! Overall, 8/10.

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