This past Monday was the first day of spring. Huzzah. Ordinarily, I cover the modern fashion trends with a decidedly Victorian twist. For the past few years I have focused on women’s fashion as they are more pictorially prevalent. NOT this year! This year, I am making a point to include more masculine tastes for a change. Consider it, my step into equality. Since, Vogue took over my go-to site for up-to-the-minute fashion, things have not been the same. However, there are some upsides, like a slew of fashion trends for the Spring and Autumn seasons, a departure from style.com’s less than a dozen featured trends. This works well for my first 19th Century Modern’s Gentlemen Fashion post in years. Of course, ladies may wear all these recommendations as well, as the trends stem from the Women’s Fashion Collections. Below are eight of the hottest spring trends for 2017 and how a Victorian fellow, might accommodate the flights of fancies and all out swag. So I am introducing our 19th century sartorial man about town: “Frederick Fashion” to give us his perspective and interpretation.
The 70’s Pieces
What Vogue Says: The revival of a key 1970’s piece, that patterned sleeveless sweater your grandpa once had, is back en vogue, tapping into the ugly-beautiful trend and treading a delicate line between good and bad taste. How to elevate the kitsch to the ranks of the cool.
Frederick: 1970?! You speak of the future of which I know not of. 1870 is more my gig. Like any given year, there a slight fashion variants from decade to decade. The beauty of menswear is that not much has changed as drastically in over 200 years as our womensware counterparts. (The ladies can be quite file.) Oh sure, the bottoms are a rather noticeable exception . . . the shirt, shirt waist, trousers, jacket, coat, hat, gloves, neck cloth of some kind . . . it is all there still. Notice the ticking and introduction to plaid bottom weights, colored gloves, and different cuts of jackets.
2. Metallic Finish
What Vogue Says: Urban mermaids or space warriors? A deep blue wave broke over the runway, . . . with iridescent textures and futuristic accents.
Frederick: Erm . . . so metallic blue thread has not made an appearance in my day. However, genuine silver and gold thread were often utilized to create garments for European Royalty and the mass of aristocrats that populated the palaces and posh neighborhoods. When it comes to gentlemen in particular metallic thread was usually displayed in the form of embroidery on shirtwaists and military jackets. The Russians are famous for this sort of thing! Granted the photograph to the right is costume created for the BBC mini-series War and Peace; Prince Andrei’s silver threads on his formal dress jacket is quite on par, if not plainer, than the real thing. Yes, PLAINER!
3. Yellow Fever
What Vogue Says: From lemon to fluorescent, yellow was a chromatic shot in the arm that lit up the runways in all four cities. Summer 2017 looks bright.
Frederick: Gentlemen often introduced colors via a neck cloth, a shirtwaist, or if feeling particularly daring, a jacket. Often the colored items were doubly of interest because they “only” came in high end fabrics. Thus said, colors have been dampened from the previous century which took their cues form the Court of Versailles in France. Even, us, Englishmen of the Georgian and Regency era wore pastels (as opposed to the rich jewel tones of the Sun King). Color was a way to introduce personality and obviously, to the attract the eye of a pretty lady.
4. Underware as Outerware
What Vogue Says: No longer confined to the top drawer, bras were seen over shirts, dresses, and T-shirts in a lesson in how to modernize the classics for 2017.
Frederick: Quelle horreur! Do I look like an immodest Frenchman?! English women wearing damp dresses to get the “clingy” look during the Regency is probably as lewd as we get to scandalous fashion. A proper English gentleman would never trot out of the house blithely with his unmentionables out on full view! However, I do understand the titillation and suggestive intents that it is implies. So I present you, Dear Readers, with a more accurate rendering the Union suit, as a man’s long underwear was sometimes called, and a Modern day advertisement with a similar suit that leaves little to the imagination.
5. Men’s Shirts
What Vogue Says: Mensware is an eternal source of inspiration for womensware designers and the men’s shirt took to the spring/summer 2017 with a nonchalant twist for the season. Pale blue and pinnedstriped it was deconstructed as a dress . . . [for some of the hottest names in fashion].
Frederick: Well, obviously this is a staple in any gentleman’s sartorial arsenal! Ideally more than one and in many nuanced variations. The crisp white shirt pictured is a modern recreation using a 19th century pattern and tailoring.
6. Leather Fringing
What Vogue Says: A play on fabric and movement that’s more minimalist than you might think. White jackets and dresses that were entirely fringed or more discreet and Western-influenced, or with a punk bride taking the cake.
Frederick: Ah! Leather fringe! What fun! Considered the standard coat or shirt of the wilderness explorers in the colonies and beyond. This sumptuous and highly decorative coat comes from a Metis-Canadian Fur Trapper near . While it is not white leather, it is the closet we are going to see naturally.
7. After Hour Robes
What Vogue Says: Masculine sensuality meets boudoir elegance as wrapped jackets and gowns showed yet again that loungewear isn’t best kept after dark.
Frederick: In later years, I believe this turned into something called a Smoking Robe. In my heyday, it is referred to as a Dressing Gown. I chose this pattern and fabric more masculine structure and not the slinky silk numbers that Vogue speaks about. The colors, patterns, and fabric for a man’s dressing robe is really up to the individual and the depth of his pockets.
What Vogue Says: Designers mixed, matched, and juxtaposed anything and everything that clashed, with vintage fabrics and unexpected pairings of print, fabrics, and finishes.
Frederick: When did patches become avant-garde? During the 19th century, patches were a sign of the . . . frugal, shall we say? It was not a point of pride, but one of embarrassment and shame. On the other hand, it was also a sign of resourcefulness and determination to survive. I understand in modern society it is a sign of fashion and pride. Surely any gentleman can turn a pauper’s game. Introduce in accessories, if you must be on the bleeding edge.