Informal dress for upper- and middle-class Englishmen in the 1860s and '70s


The man on the left wears a bowler, "a hard felt hat with a domed crown" (143) named after its inventor, the hatter William Bowler. When this form of headwear, which is known in the U. S. as the derby, was first introduced around 1860, it came only in black but later on became available in various shades of brown and tan. The wide-brimmed hat worn by the man next to him is a wide-awake, "a broad-brimmed hat felt hat with a lowish crown" originally worn by farmers and other countrymen. The remaining two men each wear the helmet, which was often worn at the seaside.


A form of the single-breasted lounging (or lounge) jacket known as the Albert. More than a decade earlier (in the '60s) the the modern men's suit -- or lounge suit, as it is known in Great Britain -- first became popular when jacket, trousers, and waistcoat appeared in the same fabric.


Throughout the 1870s tubular trousers "were at equal length at knee and ankle," and after the 1860s straps under the foot became uncommon, though the man with wide-brimmed hat one seems to be wearing trousers with them (142)


Short ankle-length boots with either elastic sides or laces.

Source of Image

Detail from "Can You Tell Us the Way?" an illustration by George Du Maurier for Hardy's The Hand of Ethelberta that appeared in the February 1876 Cornhill Magazine.


Nunn, Joan. Fashion in Costume, 1200-2000. 2nd edition. Chicago: New Amsterdam Books, 2000.

Last modified 20 January 2016