Men’s fashion in 1850s

The man’s clothing in 1850s develops slowly; the color is covered and the fit becomes slightly looser. The costume consists of tight pants, a striking vest, and a jacket or jacket with shorter pieces. The pants are a different color than the jacket. The dressing gown is typical of this period of domesticity. The popular hiking suit consists of a long type of jacket, a matching vest and trousers. The pardess is still worn as a cloak, or a short cape with splits.

The black coat is law: the jacket has a wide cut and is worn with a white tie hiding to the collar of the shirt. The vest is straight and discreetly adorned with buttons. The slightly wide trousers fall straight on a varnished boot. All worn under a small coat with wide sleeves or a short frock coat. The hats are worn with flared edges raised right on the sides.

Shirts of linen or cotton featured high upstanding or turnover collars The trend of detachable shirt collars and cuffs (although first appearing in men’s fashion in the 1820s) became highly popularized during this time period. The newly fashionable four-in-hand neckties were square or rectangular, folded into a narrow strip and tied in a bow, or folded on the diagonal and tied in a knot with the pointed ends sticking out to form “wings”. Heavy padded and fitted frock coats (in French redingotes), now usually single-breasted, were worn for business occasions, over waistcoats or vests with lapels and notched collars. Waistcoats were still cut straight across at the waist in front in 1850, but gradually became longer; the fashion for wearing the bottom button undone for ease when sitting lead to the pointed-hemmed waistcoat later in the century.

A new style, the sack coat, loosely fitted and reaching to mid-thigh, was fashionable for leisure activities; it would gradually replace the frock coat over the next forty years and become the modern suit coat.

The slightly cutaway morning coat was worn for formal day occasions. The most formal evening dress remained a dark tail coat and trousers, with a white cravat; this costume was well on its way to crystallizing into the modern “white tie and tails”.

Full-length trousers were worn for day. Breeches remained a requirement for formal functions at the British court (as they would be throughout the century). Breeches continued to be worn for horseback riding and other country pursuits, especially in Britain, with tall fitted boots.

Costumes consisting of a coat, waistcoat and trousers of the same fabric were a novelty of this period.

Starting in the 1850s and surviving until about the early 1900s (decade), facial hair became extremely popular, featuring a vast array of styles. This is well documented in famous photography of the era.

Tall top hats were worn with formal dress and grew taller on the way to the true stovepipe shape, but a variety of other hat shapes were popular. Soft-crowned hats, some with wide brims, were worn for country pursuits. The bowler hat was invented in 1850 but remained a working-class accessory.

Style gallery

1 – 1850

2 – 1850

3 – 1856

4 – 1857

5 – 1858

6 – 1858

7 – 1858

8 – 1859


1.Painter G.P.A. Healy wears a shirt with a round-cornered collar and a pleated front. His necktie is tied in a small bow. America, c. 1850.
2.James Fennimore Cooper wears a standing collar with a necktie folded on the diagonal and tied into wide “wings”. His coat has wide lapels and a contrasting (perhaps velvet) collar. His contrasting waistcoat has lapels. United States, c. 1850 (Cooper died in 1851).
3.Fashions of 1856 show an idealized rounded chest over a low waist. The cutaway morning coat (left) is worn with trousers trimmed with braid down the outer seam. Shirts have short straight collars and are worn with narrow neckties tied in wide bows. Half-boots have short heels. Coat sleeves are cut long, showing very little shirt cuff.
4.1857 fashion plate shows formal evening wear, informal day wear, top coats, and a dressing gown.
5.Sam Houston, 1858, wears the wide-brimmed hat common on the American frontier.
6.Artist Eugène Delacroix wears a stiff tie over a tall standing collar. His double-breasted waistcoat is cut straight across. His frock coat, waistcoat and trousers are all of different fabrics. France, 1858.
7.Liberian politician Edward James Roye wears a frock coat with a wide collar and lapels over a waistcoat with lapels and eight buttons.
8.Artist Henri Fantin-Latour wears a shirt with a turnover collar and a black necktie.
9.John Ruskin wears a dark frock coat over lighter trousers and low-heeled shoes. He carries a soft-crowned brown hat. Detail of a portrait by John Everett Millais, 1853–54.












1.Émilien de Nieuwerkerke, 1852
2.Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha
3.Napoleon III, 1852
4.Édouard André, 1857
5.Maharadscha Duleep Singh, 1854
6.Millard Fillmore, 1857
7.John Quincy Adams, 1858
8.Martin Van Buren, 1858
9.James Knox Polk, 1858
10.Franklin Pierce, 1858

Source from Wikipedia