American Fashion in the late 19th century
American fashion truly began in the 19th century. Throughout the years both men and women's clothing drastically changed. Americans developed taste and style from major fashion cities like Paris and London. Their clothing and materials became very similar. The last two decades of the 19th century were years of tremendous change especially for American men's fashion.
Men's clothing actually went from colorful and unique to drab and practical. Men with great fashion did not need a big wardrobe but there were four main styles of coats that were essential. This consisted of a business coat also known as sack suit, frock coat, dress coat, and over coat. The sack suit for everyday business dress was mainly worn in the early 1880's. The suit includes a small collar, four main buttons, rounded front hems, flap or welt pockets on the hips and chest, and a somewhat baggy appearance. In the 1860s sack suits were the greatest elegance wear but in the 1880s it became wear for business, traveling, and for walking along the streets. For example a banker would wear a sack suit to a picnic, and a cowboy or farmer would wear it to church. Its popularity was assured by the fact that it was very affordable to working men and the most common colors were black or gray. They came in many colors though and plaid was particularly popular. These suits were typically worn with a tall crowned bowler hat. A summer sack suit was usually made of white linen or lightweight wool and worn with a straw hat. From 1880 to 1900, the frock coat actually dominated the men's wardrobes. The frock coat was common day wear and routinely worn with contrasting pants and top hats. Unlike sack suits, the frock had a waist seam and frequently padded in the chest. It had five vertical seams versus the sack which had three. On frock coats, the buttons were usually covered in silk or other fabric, while they were usually uncovered on sack suits....
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