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Victorian things...

Wow... so much for me posting essays on swords, huh?
I kinda forgot I even had this thing for a while.
Oh well. I can have delusions of blogging in a regular and kinda professional fashion. But that's not really the point of LJ, is it? But you know... I'm new to this whole thing. Maybe it'll stick with me eventually.

Anyhoo, I've been obsessing over clothing. Formal Mens' Wear and the history thereof seems to have struck me in the same way blademaking and mixology did, and I'm consuming all the material I can about it. I'm even considering trying a hand at sewing and pattern use. I've never made a single thing out of fabric in my goddamned life, and here I am wanting to apprentice to a clothier or some other shite.

My interest seems to mostly lie in the Victorian period, and the growth of the Steampunk subculture makes me happy, fuels my interest, and provides similarly-minded peers.

I just wish that more steampunkers were a little more accurate in their interpretations of the period.

Perhaps because of steampunk, though, elements of the Victorian era seem to be leaking in to modern fashion in a big way... and they seem to be hanging around solidly, in a manner very much unlike the transient world of trends. The (very recently) late Alexander McQueen was a large influence on this reemergence: check out the runway photos for this winter: McQ Runway Winter 09

One of the trends I've been fond of is the reemergence of the waistcoat. You occasionally see eccentric yet fashion conscious kids in the City wearing lapel waistcoats, often as casual wear, without a jacket. I kinda love the idea.

So I've been looking for waistcoats with lapels (fucking impossible to find outside of bespoke tailors and reenactment clothiers) for the sake of everyday pompous asshole wear (as I like to moonlight as a pompous asshole), and looking for a full compliment of both day and evening Victorian gentleman's wear.

My father bequeathed upon me an antique tuxedo - in perfect condition - that he had laying around that fits me like it was tailored for me. It was made in the 50's, but it's anachronistic even for then: it's pretty much identical to the dinner jacket that was introduced to the world by Henry Pool and Co in 1860; it is single breasted, with a shawl collar, single button closure, and trousers that ride exceptionally high. So I have acceptable Victorian evening wear. I even have a few period-correct shirts, complete with separate pinned collars. All I need is an appropriate goddamned waistcoat for it (because I hate cummerbunds). Oh, and a period-correct bowtie. And kidskin gloves. It's not a dress coat, but it'll do.

Day wear is another matter entirely.
Proper Victorian gentleman's morning/day wear, at it's most formal, consists of a black frock coat, off-coloured double breasted waistcoat (typically something on the gray or off-white spectrum, although it was for a while appropriate to wear brightly coloured silk waistcoats), shirt with pinned stand-up collar or high winged collar, puff tie, cravat or (rarely) bowtie, and striped gray trousers. A slightly less formal option would be to have matching waistcoat/frock coat/trousers, all in black, charcoal, or check patterned.
I won't be able to afford any of this crap in the foreseeable future, but I've been looking around anyhoo.

Here's what I've found:

River junction has an awesome website, set up as though it was a 19th century catalog. They primarily sell Old American West clothing, and most of their Victorian wears are distinctly western. That's great and all, but not really what I'm going for. Some of their clothes seem to be poorly cut, and their frock coats are mostly atrocious.

Sutlers is an English reenactment supplier specializing in military uniforms and the like... but their Victorian section is again primarily pertaining to the Old West. Why this is is completely beyond me... Victorian fashion kind of disintegrated and turned in to something very different by the time you got out to the frontier towns. I'm looking for New York or London city gentleman, not cowboy. However, their cuts seem decent, and they offer a variety of frock coats. none of them are exactly right, though. they all button high, and have these short little lapels... very few of them have the silk revers on the lapels, and none of them have the decorative button holes along the lapel that were so common in the Victorian period. But honestly, their selection is just awesome. they have a ton of useful costuming and clothing.

These guys are rather awesome. they mostly just do shirts and ties, but they have the right ones.

Small selection, but my god do they do beautiful work. The shirt I have is from them... and it's gorgeous.


this is a bespoke clothier from Nepal that mostly just does modern suits... They have a frock coat, but it's kinda wrong (it has a ton of exterior pockets, for one... proper frocks have none). What's interesting is that they do a replica of Dracula's city wear from Francis Ford Copella's movie... which is actually a fairly accurate long frock. Except that it's fucking silver, which is all wrong.

Anyhoo. That's some of what I have so far... I'll throw what I find in the future up here as I find it.


Re: :)

That's an awesome link... thanks again, babe. that'll be invaluable.
The Alexander McQueen stuff is interesting... I'm mad in love with the sweater jacket (were it not knit... eurgh). Popular media is also probably influencing these things with flicks like Alice in Wonderland and Sweeny TOdd with their Wonked Victorian. That and people have finally gotten over the whole Hippie thing and remembered that Victorians really did know what looked good on a body. For the most part.
indeed. I'm actually rather fond of the knit stuff... I think the idea of a full length cable-knit wool sweater jacket is fucking brilliant. Silly, but brilliant. not so sure about the codpieces though. :-P
what does it say about me that I didn't even notice the cod pieces?

February 2010

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