Best of 1870s Men’s Fashion: All You Need To Know About

The 1870s was an era of significant change in men’s fashion, where the styles began to converge from those of women’s. Men’s tastes ran more to conservative and understated, while women’s clothing became increasingly complex, colorful, and restrictive.

In the 1870s men’s fashion began to shift away from the flamboyant styles of the previous decades. It was a time where men’s clothing began to take on a more subdued and understated quality, while still remaining stylish and fashionable.

Overview of 1870s Men’s Fashion

Welcome to the world of 1870s men’s fashion! During this decade, men’s clothing remained relatively consistent with previous years, but with a few notable changes. The silhouette of the 1870s was marked by a narrow waist, broad shoulders, and a slightly flared skirt. The waistcoat was an essential part of the three-piece suit, and the collar was being pressed down into wings. The shirt was the standard first layer, and cotton was now the most common fabric.

Frock coats were still fashionable, but morning coats were becoming a more casual alternative. Both were typically paired with trousers that were cut straight and narrow. The trousers were usually made of wool or cotton, and they were worn with suspenders to hold them up. The shoes were either lace-up or button-up, and they were typically made of leather.

Facial hair was a popular trend during the 1870s, and it was a great way to stand out in a crowd. Full beards were still in style, but they were slowly being replaced by mustaches. Short hair was the norm, and it was usually combed straight back or to the side.

Accessories were an essential part of men’s fashion during the 1870s. The top hat was still popular, and it was often worn with a morning coat. Bowler hats were becoming more common, and they were typically worn with a frock coat. Gloves were also popular, and they were usually made of leather or silk.

Daywear and Eveningwear of 1870s men’s fashion

1870s men's fashion daywear and evening wear
by collections.vam.ac.uk

If you were a man in the 1870s, your daywear would have consisted of a three-piece suit in dark colors, usually accompanied by either a frock coat or a morning coat. Frock coats were fitted with buttons along the torso and flared at the waist, ending just above the knee. Morning coats were a more casual alternative. They were cut straight at the waist and had tails at the back. The waistcoat, which was often made of silk or wool, was typically single-breasted and had lapels. The trousers were usually made of wool and were straight-legged.

For eveningwear, a dark tailcoat paired with a white shirt, a dark, double-breasted waistcoat, and dark trousers was the standard look. A white cravat or bowtie was also typical. We would recognize it today as “white tie and tails.” This formal wear was usually reserved for special occasions such as weddings, balls, and other formal events.

It’s important to note that 1870s men’s fashion was heavily influenced by the Victorian era, which was characterized by a focus on modesty and restraint. This is reflected in the conservative styles and muted colors of men’s clothing from this time period.

Daywear

When it comes to 1870s men’s fashion, daywear was all about looking sharp and stylish. Here are some of the most popular styles of the era:

Frock Coat

1870s men's fashion frock coat
by lilyabsinthe.com

The frock coat was a staple of 1870s men’s fashion. This long, single-breasted coat was typically made from wool and had a full skirt that flared out from the waist. Frock coats were often worn for formal occasions and were paired with matching trousers and a waistcoat. They were also sometimes worn with a top hat for an extra touch of elegance.

Morning Coat

1870s men's fashion morning coat
by mediakron.bc.edu

Another popular style of coat during the 1870s men’s fashion time was the morning coat. This coat was similar to the frock coat but had a shorter skirt that tapered off in the back. Morning coats were typically worn for less formal occasions, such as daytime events or business meetings. They were often paired with striped trousers and a waistcoat.

Lounge Suit

1870s men's fashion lounge suit
by mediakron.bc.edu

The lounge suit was a more casual option for 1870s men’s fashion. This two-piece suit consisted of a jacket and trousers that were made from matching fabric. Lounge suits were often worn for everyday activities and were a more comfortable alternative to the more formal frock and morning coats. They were typically made from wool or tweed and were often paired with a waistcoat.

Eveningwear

When it comes to eveningwear in 1870s men’s fashion, there were two main options: the dress coat and the tuxedo. Each had its own unique features and was appropriate for different occasions.

Dress Coat

1870s men's fashion dress coat
by mediakron.bc.edu

The dress coat was the standard eveningwear for formal events. It was a dark tailcoat paired with a white shirt, a dark double-breasted waistcoat, and dark trousers. A white cravat or bowtie was also typical. This look would be recognized today as “white tie and tails.” The dress coat was typically made from wool or silk, and the fabric was often decorated with intricate patterns or embroidery.

Tuxedo

The tuxedo, also known as a dinner jacket, was a more relaxed alternative to the dress coat. It was typically made from black or dark blue wool and featured satin or silk lapels. The tuxedo was often worn with a white dress shirt, black trousers, and a black bowtie. This look was less formal than the dress coat and was appropriate for less formal events such as dinners, parties, and other social occasions.

Accessories

Accessories were an essential part of 1870s men’s fashion. They added the finishing touches to a man’s outfit and helped to elevate his style. In this section, we will explore the different types of accessories that were popular during this era.

Hats

1870s men's fashion hats
by gentlemansgazette.com

Hats were a must-have accessory for men in the 1870s. They were worn for both practical and fashionable reasons. Top hats were the most formal and were typically worn with morning dress or evening dress. Bowler hats were a popular choice for everyday wear, and straw boater hats were worn in the summer months.

Shoes

1870's men's fashion shoes
by gentlemansgazette.com

Shoes were an important part of a man’s outfit in the 1870s. Square-toed shoes with low heels were the most popular style. They were typically made from leather and were available in a range of colors, including black, brown, and tan. Boots were also worn, particularly with morning dress or riding attire.

Ties and Cravats

1870s men's fashion ties and cravats
by historicalemporium.com

Ties and cravats were an essential accessory of 1870s men’s fashion. They were worn with both formal and informal attire and were available in a range of styles and colors. The four-in-hand tie was the most popular style and was worn with daywear. Cravats were worn with evening dress and were typically made from silk or satin.

In the 1870s men’s fashion underwent significant changes. The decade was marked by a move away from the flamboyant and colorful styles of the previous decade towards more austere and practical clothing. The trends of the time were characterized by a focus on simplicity, functionality, and durability.

One of the most significant changes in men’s fashion during the 1870s was the simplification of clothing. The 1860s saw a rise in the popularity of elaborate and flamboyant clothing, but the 1870s saw a move towards simpler and more practical clothing. The styles of the time were characterized by clean lines, simple cuts, and subdued colors.

Another trend of the 1870s men’s fashion was the rise of ready-made clothing. Prior to this time, most clothing was made to order, but the 1870s saw the emergence of mass-produced clothing. This allowed men of all classes to purchase stylish and fashionable clothing at an affordable price.

The waistcoat was also an essential element of men’s fashion during the 1870s. Waistcoats were typically made of silk or wool and were often decorated with intricate designs. They were worn under the jacket and were an essential part of formal attire.

Impact on Modern Fashion

1870s men's fashion impact on modern fashion
by clusterfrock.com

When it comes to 1870s men’s fashion, the 70s have left a lasting impact on modern style. From the tailored suits to the refined accessories, many of the fashion trends from this era are still relevant today.

One of the most notable impacts of 1870s men’s fashion is the three-piece suit. This classic ensemble has remained a staple in men’s formal wear for over a century. The fitted jacket, vest, and trousers create a sleek and sophisticated look that is perfect for any formal occasion.

Another trend that has stood the test of time is the bow tie. This accessory was a popular choice for men in the 1870s and has since become a timeless classic. Whether you’re dressing up for a wedding or dressing down for a casual night out, a bow tie can add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

In addition to the three-piece suit and bow tie, the top hat is another fashion staple that originated in the 1870s. While it may not be as common today, the top hat is still a symbol of sophistication and class.

Finally, the 1870s men’s fashion saw the introduction of the wingtip shoe. This stylish and versatile shoe has remained popular throughout the years and can be worn with both formal and casual attire.

FAQ

What were the common fabrics used for men’s clothing in the 1870s? 

Cotton was the most common fabric for men’s shirts, while wool was used for suits and coats. 

What was the typical silhouette for men’s clothing in the 1870s?

The typical silhouette for men’s clothing in the 1870s was a fitted waistcoat, a frock coat, and trousers with a slight flare at the bottom.

What were the common accessories for men’s clothing in the 1870s?

Men’s clothing in the 1870s was often accessorized with a top hat, a pocket watch, gloves, and a walking stick.


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More interested in modern fashion? Check out our article about old money men’s fashion or the best of 2000s fashion trends for men.

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Andreas Weigert
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