I think the question should be put "Could such a shirt have been used in 19th century America" and the short answer is yes.Was it common?Not very but examples have been documented.Among ready mades(which were all over the place incidentally )paisley was mostly used in women's clothing but small.unobtrusive paisley patterns were seen in men's shirts.I've definetly seen the pattern in both 19th century ties and vests,sometimes quite large scale and gaudily colored.Now,on the home front it is pretty much anything goes for home-made garments,informed by personal taste(or lack thereof) and what was available.I've seen home sewn shirts made from parlor table cloths with large ,bright and often strange patterns so a paisley shirt would be downright sober by comparison.I think most folks today would be downright surprised by what one could see people wearing in 19th century America-lots of colors and patterns that most wouldn't have imagined folks wearing.
Thank you very much for your interesting answer, showing your deep insight in the matter.
I will translate it now word by word with the help of my dictionary in order to understand all the nuances it contains. For me it is a very valuable answer, thanks again.
In my question about the "old west" you may already have seen my problems to express my thoughts in a suitable way. And so you suggested to reformulate it to "Could such a shirt have been used in 19th century America".
People like me, living in a smaller land by comparison, do sometimes forget how big the USA are and how different live was and surely is there. So I tried to concrete my question, because my special interest is the frontier and the everyday-living there. I said "old west", but obviously is this not a correct term, neither for the period nor the regions I had in mind.
Okay, thank you again for your answer!
(btw.: if one was not MD but PhD in the old times, was it possible that he was called "Doc" too?)
Correct me if I am wrong Anthony but the collar being made from the same material was pretty much standard too in the 19th century. I have heard that the white collar/cuffs was more of a 20th century trait?
Just curious since Doc brought it up.
Wie gehts!Well,it has been quite a few years since I did some of my post graduate studies in Deutschland and the old language skills are a bit rusty so my German would likely be fraught with errors!In speaking about the matter with reference to the country as a whole I was trying to convey that most styles were used all over,particularly dress clothing but working clothing was pretty uniform as well.Some specific styles did begin in the west but trousers,shirts,jackets and the like were usually bought off the shelf,ordered from catalogs or made by local tailors and seamstresses.
Using the appellation "Doc" could just have easily been a nickname and there were also plenty of people running around in the 19th century using it who had no academic credentials whatsoever-patent medicine salesmen for instance.A PhD had then,as now every right to call himself Doctor-it was hard earned after all !Feel free to ask about anything along that line .I am at your and other's disposal.
You ol' chuckawalla(I always wanted to use that),you ask the most interesting questions!
As far as I know there was no hard dividing timeline on that.I've seen plenty of 19th century work/casual shirts with self fabric patterned bands as well as with contrasting white ones.Dress shirts,on the other hand, tended to usually have white collar and wrist bands when either the bib or whole shirt body was patterned.In fact I'd say that in the latter category it was after 1890 or so that people became more accepting of bands and collars for dress shirts and even collars and detachable cuffs being in a patterned fabric.There were some pretty hard and fast rules about what sort of shirt was worn with what type of suit however.I never wear a patterned shirt with a Prince Albert frock for instance.
Sometimes I'm just a little too inquisitive for my own good, but a large herbaceous lizard. lol
I understand the detachable collars and cuffs, but I was more concerned about the sewed on collars and cuffs. As the shirt above wouldn't they have been made out of the same material. The reason I ask some of these questions is because they have come up in the past but when asked to verify the claims you never hear back from them. I realize styles change and that hand made stuff was big in those days. My grand mother had 7 sisters and they would buy a dress from the mail order catalogue, that fit the middle child (size wise) tear it apart for a basis of the pattern, buy different colored material for the rest and build matching dresses for the entire bunch. Then they would put the original back together for the girl it was originally purchased for to save money (couldn't do that today and make it worth the while).
I remember coming home in the 70's with a shirt with the seems on the outside some new fad at the time and my grand mother getting all upset that I was wearing it inside out. Once I showed her, she said all the times we (her and her sisters) had to rip the seems and start over because we had made a mistake, who'd thought it would have become the style one day??
My mistake as I had a band collared shirt staring me in the face and I should have asked with or without sewn on collar.Most working or sportsman's shirts with collar were done in self material.Stiffel was probably the most popular brand of work shirts in the second half of the 19th century.They were small geometric figures or floral motifs in indigo and white.Their work shirts were made on heavy cotton twill in precisely the same patterns as their famous indigo calicos.
I remember those shirts from the 1970's with the reverse seams.There certainly were some dopey styles in the late 60's and 70's.My aunt gave me an ensemble when I was 15-gray polyester bell bottoms and a nasty shirt-lavender brocade with a big collar,cuffs with at least three buttons and silly pirate puffy sleeves.My folks made me wear it to please my aunt and I was so embarrassed but spirited the outfit away to Salvation army at first opportunity.Better that than looking like a crewman on the pirate ship Raging Queen!
Hello antohny martin,
mir gehts gut, danke.
Post graduate in Germany - great. What city was your hometown in that time?
Your answers were a great source of knowledge for me, thank you.
Now I have this new questions:
You said: "There were some pretty hard and fast rules about what sort of shirt was worn with what type of suit however."
Have you any hint for me, where I could read a little bit more about that topic?
Here in Germany, we don't have books about that topic. And my English is not really good enough, to understand books of American authors, but I try. I bought the book "The true look of the old west", it is interesting but there are not really very much good illustrations in it.
Someone recommended me Daniel Delis Hill's: "American Menswear: From the Civil War to the Twenty-First Century" (Costume Society of America Series)", but for me the period from 1850 until 1900 is of special interest and I wish, there would be a book about clothing only in this time.
But maybe you could tell me any good source, ordering any English book here is no problem with any of the great online merchants.
Here in Germany, many people love to be part of living history events and I go three times a year together with some friends of mine to one of that three big western cities we do have here in Germany.
You see a lot of consumes there, but 90 percent are dressed like cowboys or soldiers of the civil war. the only rule for clothing seems to be "buy any old style pieces of cloth and combine it like ever you want." Maybe the old frontiersmen really did not waste much thought on combining clothes trendily, but people in the towns surely often did.
So what were the dress-codes in the time of 1860 until 1890? Is there any good book about with colored illustrations? Or any website, giving me a deeper insight about that topic?
Unfortunately there is not a single source reference for American clothing in the period 1850-1900.I'm writing a text to address that very thing and I will employ both original illustrations as well as my own color and black and white art to accompany it but completion is at least 1 or 2 years away at this point.There are a variety of costume references out there,many now out of print ,but diligent searching on the internet will supply you with some of these to add to your library.I would look for work by Janet Arnold,Christopher Peacock and Lucy Barton to name a few.There is a pattern reference called The Cut of Men's Clothes that is useful as well.While it focuses on earlier examples it clearly illustrates the evolution of menswear up to around 1850 and points the way to future construction after that date.One book that is available comes from Schiffer Publications and is named Men's Clothing and Fabrics In the 1890'S by Roseanne Ettinger.It reproduces many color and black and white illustrations and the color fabric samples are most invaluable.
Online sources- I might recommend a site called The Costumer's Manifesto.It contains a great deal of useful information and links to other valuable sites.Much of what you desire will be found right there.They also have reproduced some old tailor's illustrated style books and those are most revealing.There is a good site called The Great Pattern Review and it is devoted to current historical patterns with reviews and construction tips from folks who have used them,often accompanied by photographs in color of the finished garments.This site saves much time in both finding and choosing good period patterns and will clearly show you which ones to avoid as well .
You are right- too many cowboys and other specialized types at events and far too few people doing mainstream fashion.We have that problem here as well.The big issue is that so many of the suppliers of regular town clothing all make more or less the same thing and a great deal of that isn't especially authentic.They all tend to copy each other's products thus promulgating a certain look that wasn't the practice or appearance in the 19th century.My products are based on original garments and sources.
You might see if Taschen has any German language texts on costuming.I know that their books are very high quality.
I currently make most of the major styles of menswear as worn in the period 1860-1900 and accessories such as cravats,spats shirt collars and such.Here in California we just lost a very good friend,one of your countrymen named Florian Zimmermann.He portrayed Morgan Earp and was a frequent guest in our house.Florian purchased a great many items that I made for him and recommended my work to a number of his friends in Deutschland.I get a surprising amount of trade with Europe,mostly from the English and Germans and most of that from enthusiastic word of mouth.Florian is missed and mourned- he was a really fine fellow.
When I was in Germany home base for me was in Munchen(sorry,no provision for umlauts on my keyboard) but I hopped the Ubahn and rambled all over Europe.I spent a good deal of my childhood in England and frequently got over to the continent then as well.I haven't been back for several years now but maintain contact with quite a few friends there.
I know that I've probably left unanswered several questions so ask whatever you want and I'll try to answer.19th century history and style are my favorite subjects!
Heartfelt Good Wishes,
Anthony, thank you again for your answer. And again it was a pleasure for me to read it. I bought the book by Roseann Ettinger "Men's Clothing & Fabrics in the 1890s" as you recommended, and now look forward to it.
Many people here in the western scene call itself authentic and look at the costume of each other only for finding any non-authentic piece or pattern. But they have no deep knowledge about the time they want to represent, they only buy in old style shops and believe everything the merchant tells to them. some merchants are good informed and know about their matter, and some are not.
If one looks like a gumen, taken form any Wyatt Earp movie, it is widely accepted as authentic, and wearing a gunfighter hat for everybody too, but if you look for Bowlers for example: no chance! But I read, the Bowler was the hat that have won the west. So I bought one and another Bowler-style one too, with a unusual big crown. Maybe it is authentic, maybe not.
Maybe you could tell me, if such hat was worn at that time? (See the photograph attached.)
My next question is about Brogans. The boots of the civil war. Is it imaginable, that a citizen of any town in the west had worn its Brogans as civilian boots after the war?
And finally my question is about your words "I currently make most of the major styles of menswear as worn in the period 1860-1900 and accessories such as cravats,spats shirt collars and such." Do I understand it correct, that you manufacture such clothing and sell it? If so, what i the address of your onlineshop, if you have one?
The Sears, Roebuck 1896 catalog (Reprint from Dover Books, NY) lists both a high-crown & a low-crown 'derby,' as bowler hats are called over here. Dover reprints a lot of 19th-century catalogs. They should be on-line, tho I've never searched for 'em because I already have so many of their books.
A good source for patterns is Amazon Vinegar & Pickling Works, Dry Goods. Don't let the odd name put you off. It's really a reenactor's supply house.
Amazon is on-line, but the catalog isn't. You have to buy the catalog & the last one I had went for $5 US.
Montgomery Ward from 1897 has no such derby. Good to know about it is in the Sears catalog. Maybe I will buy a reprint of that too.
And thank you for the Amazon Vinegar & Pickling Works hint, really a great source.
Well,we seem to be covering a lot of information so I'll add some more.Charley mentioned Dover Publications so here are more of their titles for your consideration.Bloomingdale's 1886,Jordan Marsh 1891(mostly for women's clothing but some menswear and accessories)and Jno.J. Mitchell Co.Men's Fashion Illustrations from the Turn of the Century in addition to the aformentioned 1895 Montgomery Ward.The Ward catalogue doesn't illustrate the low crown Bowler either as those were pretty much a dead style by the mid 1880's but the book itself is a great resource.The third book that I listed is late but much useful detail information can still be derived.You should also look into what old catalogues have been formatted to disc as a good many are being offerred on Ebay.I still prefer an actual book on the shelves but discs are an useful adjunct source.
Yes,Brogans were used by farmers after the war as farm shoes as the military had vast amounts left over from government contracts and even some civilian makers continued to make them for years after.They were listed until the early 20th century as plow shoes.
The Bowler or Derby was the single most common dress hat of the last quarter of the 19th century and could be seen all over the western states and territories.Clearwater Hats make them in both low and high crown versions in excellent quality fur felt-more expensive than wool felt but fur felt keeps its shape and will last for years.I personally wear either a broad brimmed pencil rolled western hat or a Homburg for a dressier impression as it looks equally well with a sack or frock suit.Young Prince Bertie(The future Edward VII)popularized the style after he took the cure at the famous spa.Really it is a Germanic style that took the western world by storm!
While I think of it I might also mention Tonto Rim Hats-wonderful style and excellent quality and they carry other good items as well.
I just finished a brocade smoking jacket with quilted shawl collar and cuffs and silk frog closures.There is a growing demand for these and there is something deliciously decadent about wearing one at night in the camp at an event.It is a great silly posh statement!
Right now I'm about two thirds through a long caped Ulster overcoat-the body and cape are in gray with a dark green collar.That should be done and delivered by next week.
I dropped my personal website nearly two years ago because of technical difficulties with my provider but am currently working on a new one.Now I've been either setting up shop at old west events or selling on Ebay.Be patient-a new site is forthcoming.Take a look at my personal photo on here-that is some of my line.
the perception of the look of the west as derived from Hollywood is hard to break and most reenactors invariably use the Hollywood look as their touchstone of authenticity.Even the Italian spaghetti westerns couldn't quite shake off the look.Many here tell me that they want an outfit just like in the movie The Quick and the Dead,3:10 TO Yuma,Silverado etc. It is an influence that is hard to shake and most are convinced that it is somehow right(or should be).
Take a look at the website for Whitehorse Ranch in Landers,California.It is owned by" German Pete" Minnemeyer and my late friend Florian used to go there every weekend.Peter wanted to build his own old west town.
I'll close here for now.Have fun with the old west!
All my best,