As anyone fascinated by fashion history can tell you, finding men’s fashions in the first third of the 19th century isn’t easy. Men’s magazines existed in abundance, but I haven’t yet come upon any that included fashion plates—not in England, at any rate. The ones I’ve found online are from Costumes Parisiens, whose plates were often copied into women’s magazines.
Even though men’s styles didn’t change as often or as obviously as women’s did—especially after Beau Brummell established a look that splendidly displayed a man’s assets—they were by no means static; and Englishmen, like Englishwomen, were interested in what their fellows in Paris were wearing. ~~~ My cousin sent me two drawings of the present Parisian fashions which I have forwarded to you. The most fashionable visiting dress consists of a suit of black, the waistcoat of velvet, and velvet collar to the coat. An underwaistcoat of satin with black spots on it. Cassimere trowsers, and black silk stockings. The leading fashionables wear a gold chain for their eye-glass instead of a ribbon. The walking-dress most common is a light blue frock coat and drab cassimere trowsers; and in wet, or very cold weather, camblet* cloaks are more commonly worn than great-coats.
—Gentleman’s Pocket Magazine, 1827
And here and here are some examples of men’s fashions from the Regency & Romantic eras.
*Camblet—18th and 19th century English and French, plain woven or twilled fabric, made with single or double warp of wool mixed with silk or goat's hair. It was woven in the gray and dyed in the piece; used for cloaks. Originally came from the Orient, where it was made of Angora hair.
—Louis Harmuth, Dictionary of textiles, 1915
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.