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The Tailor's Art



Creation of the Man’s Suit
The Suit in the 19th Century
Men’s Dressing Gown and Waistcoat Fabrics
Men’s Accessories in the 19th Century
Neckties and Cravats
Men’s Accessories in the 20th Century
Tailoring for Women
Appropriating the Dandy
Contrast Between the Modern Suit and Feminine Fashion
Mid-Century America: Conformity in Suburbia
Mid-Century Humor: Conversational Textiles
Counterculture Menswear
Contemporary Tailoring for Men
Menswear Fabrics - A Glossary



While Paris remained the center of female fashion in the 19th century, London became the capital of masculine style. London also gave birth to the dandy, a male type, famously associated with George Bryan “Beau” Brummell. Lauded by the French writer, Charles Baudelaire, the dandy did much to advance the popularity and importance of dark suits. Elegant and ineffably “cool,” the dandy was a creature of immaculate grooming and reductive elegance.

An ever widening circle of men from all levels of society began to wear the suit as a symbol of authority, respectability, and both conformity and defiance. Technical advancements in production allowed manufacturers to produce ready-to-wear versions at reasonable prices. These affordable suits were worn by a broad swath of the male population, especially in the United States. Expensive custom-tailored ensembles, however, were reserved for the wealthy.


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All photographs by Irving Solero, courtesy of the Museum at FIT, unless otherwise noted.