What are these two men wearing?
March 31, 2010 5:09 AM   Subscribe

What specific items of clothing are these two 19th century men wearing? Is there a name for that style of hat, those styles of trousers, etc? If you happen to know the exact name for those precise styles, that's great-- but if not, even general terms that would help me describe them would be great.

(I'm writing a story in which a similarly dressed character appears, and I'm at a loss for how to describe his clothes. I have a hard time remembering the names of 20th century items of clothing. 19th century ones flummux me completely!)
posted by yankeefog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Looks like they're wearing bowler hats to me.
posted by rancidchickn at 5:29 AM on March 31, 2010

gor blimey trousers were a common type of trouser around that time.

They were baggy trousers worn by the working classes, tied round the waist with a bit of string, and, upon a bit of research, tied with string just above the knees to deter rats from scampering up the leg. Unfortunately your two blokes don't seem to have that important accessory!
posted by derbs at 5:33 AM on March 31, 2010

The chap in the back is wearing a jacket over a waistcoat over a shirt, but the guy in front is wearing something less fitted over his shirt-- possibly a smock or smock-frock. That garment was associated with country people, so it's possible that guy could be a recent arrival in the city, while the chap behind is more sophisticated.

However, if (as I suspect) the bucket they're carrying is full of night-soil, by the end of the shift smock-frock guy is going to be laughing while guy #2 is trying to de-stink his trendy jacket.
posted by Pallas Athena at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2010

The guy on the left appears to be wearing a "Sack Coat". That is an American term for a jacket worn during the Civil War, I don't know what it would be called at a different time during that century or in a different part of the world.
posted by TooFewShoes at 6:11 AM on March 31, 2010

The front coat does not have smocking on it - the gathered embroidery- so I would be careful about calling it a smock-frock.

But I have nothing better to offer, either.
posted by SLC Mom at 7:49 AM on March 31, 2010

What SLC Mom said about smocks and smocking. The shorter jacket I've heard called a "monkey jacket" or "roundabout". I'm not sure if these terms are American or English or both.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:57 AM on March 31, 2010

TooFewShoes may be right: the guy on the left's garment does look a lot like a sack coat.
posted by Pallas Athena at 9:22 AM on March 31, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, everybody!

Pallas Athena, you're absolutely right about the contents of the bucket. The picture caption describes them as "Nightmen" but that's a euphemism for "Night-soil men," which is itself a euphemism for "People who come to your house at night and collect big buckets of crap."
posted by yankeefog at 2:03 AM on April 1, 2010

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