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It's 1900 and I'm alive and living in Downtown LA or San Francisco?

SLOshank

New in Town
Messages
42
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
The base of knowledge on this website is amazing so I'lll ask here.

It's 1900 and I'm alive and living in Downtown LA or San Francisco (which might require separate answers.) I'm solidly middle-aged and middle class. How would I typically dress for:

A Saturday of errands -- buying groceries, picking up the cleaning, getting a haircut, having the horses washed at the livery, etc. etc?

If I was going to take part in something like a gentlemanly round of skeet or trap at the club?

A day of yard-work, cleaning up the carriage house and washing the buck-board?

Thank you all ever so much...
 

Mae Croft

Familiar Face
Messages
82
Location
Gentry County, Missouri USA
I suppose the first question is, are we outfitting a man or a woman! lol

Outside of that, California I can't say about and I hope someone can because i would love to know, too! Good luck. :)
 

Shangas

I'll Lock Up
Messages
6,114
Location
Melbourne, Australia
I assume it's a man, so here goes...

Day-to-day wear (weekend going out etc):

- Shirt. Probably with detachable collar & cuffs. Possibly cufflinks as well.
- Tie. Bow or straight.
- Suit or elements thereof; waistcoat, trousers, leather shoes, jacket. Pocketwatch and chain in the waistcoat pocket (NO wristwatches. They didn't exist in 1900 and men didn't wear them!)
- Shoes would be polished leather. Black or brown most likely. Along with socks.
- Suspenders. No belt.
- Undershirt (optional).
- Hat (optional). Boater, homburg or one of those newfangled fedoras or trilbies.
- Gloves (optional. Usually leather).
- Walking-stick (optional. Although remember that people did a LOT of walking in those days, so you may need one anyway).
- Handkerchief/pocket-square.

Going out with friends...

Probably much of the above, although you'd probably wear a suit and a shooting-coat. Or maybe something brown and rustic if you're going into the countryside.

Yardwork?

Trousers, suspenders, undershirt and shirt (sans collar & cuffs).

Remember that in 1900, the shirt was seen as an undergarment. To appear in public in your shirtsleeves was akin to walking down Broadway today wearing nothing but boxer-shorts. It just wasn't the done thing. You wore your shirt all the time and you only changed the collars and cuffs when they became soiled and dirty (which would probably be washed with bleach and starch). It wasn't until the 1920s and 30s that shirts started being sold with attached collars and cuffs and it became more acceptable to show up in public in your shirtsleeves.
 

SLOshank

New in Town
Messages
42
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
I am asking this question for a male...

It's easy to ascertain what people wore to church, other special events or their white collar jobs (and not so white collar) based on photos. But what did people wear on Saturday morning? In 1950 it was khakis and a Pendleton and today it's shorts and a t-shirt. It sounds in 1900 that it was pretty much a suit -- just as it would be during the week. If they were working up a sweat in the yard it sounds like it was probably an old set of suit pants and the same sort of shirt less collar/cuffs.

I guess that blue collar folks wore what, henley shirts, union suits and old suit trousers as well? Did they have chambray shirts, khaki-type uniforms? Levi's obviously existed in 1900. Did typical people ever wear them when doing yardwork? Anyway, thanks for the input and I look forward to further questions.
 
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FinnSpinn

New in Town
Messages
33
Location
Netherlands, Rotterdam
If you go to http://www.shorpy.com you can find lots of visual reference. Like: http://www.shorpy.com/node/10038?size=_original. What I saw was predominantly shirts and 3 piece suits. Occasion and weather determined quality and how much was on: jacket off, waistcoat off (on the beach or at sporting events). As for headware: bowlers (or derby's) for winter and boaters for summer were all the rage. Some homburgs, and an occasional top hat. http://www.shorpy.com/node/4355?size=_original The description of Shangas is spot on. I would like to add the bowler or derby though... :)
 
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Twill

One of the Regulars
Messages
115
Location
Baton Rouge, LA
from what little research I've done this is my attempt to answer. Someone with more knowledge, please correct any errors:

A Saturday of errands -- buying groceries, picking up the cleaning, getting a haircut, having the horses washed at the livery, etc. etc?

Since you would be going into the city, a suit consisting of trousers, jacket, and waistcoat, shirt with detachable collar and cuffs, suspenders (braces), tie (bow or straight), and leather shoes/boots, and hat (derby/bowler or homburg.) Now depending on the season, you would wear an overcoat, scarf, and gloves if it were cold, or none of these and with a straw boater during the warmer months. Color and fabric weight of suit is also a consideration with season. Also, there are some adornments you could consider, like pocketwatch, pocketsquare, and different jewelry depending on class.

If I was going to take part in something like a gentlemanly round of skeet or trap at the club?

Only difference from above, is you could potentially consider wearing plus fours (with knee socks), and a sport jacket, with a panel cap.

A day of yard-work, cleaning up the carriage house and washing the buck-board?

Trousers, leather work boots, shirt with no collar, suspenders, panel cap (or soft felt work hat)

Now, all this is within the current styles for collar types, jacket/trouser cut, hat style, tie dimension, etc for the time. The above description is rather similar to something worn by a gentleman from, for example, the 1930's, however, obviously, the style and cut of each item was vastly different.
 

SLOshank

New in Town
Messages
42
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
If you go to http://www.shorpy.com you can find lots of visual reference. Like: http://www.shorpy.com/node/10038?size=_original. What I saw was predominantly shirts and 3 piece suits. Occasion and weather determined quality and how much was on: jacket off, waistcoat off (on the beach or at sporting events). As for headware: bowlers (or derby's) for winter and boaters for summer were all the rage. Some homburgs, and an occasional top hat. http://www.shorpy.com/node/4355?size=_original The description of Shangas is spot on. I would like to add the bowler or derby though... :)
Wow, thanks. Shorpy's is a wonderful resource! Here is Los Angeles in 1910 or so: http://www.shorpy.com/node/9347?size=_original Bowlers seem to have ruled back then. Also some boaters and homburgs. Thanks again.
 
Messages
13,171
Location
Orange County, CA
Wow, thanks. Shorpy's is a wonderful resource! Here is Los Angeles in 1910 or so: http://www.shorpy.com/node/9347?size=_original Bowlers seem to have ruled back then. Also some boaters and homburgs. Thanks again.

That's a fantastic picture. The detail is amazing. You can see the names of the companies whose offices were in the building such as the Pacific Light & Power Co., Amalgamated Oil Co., and N.M. Garland & Company Real Estate -- perhaps the gentleman looking out the window of his office is Mr. Garland himself. Other vignettes that can be made out are the newsboy and the policeman. The policeman looks like he's wearing a Series Three LAPD badge which would set the time frame between 1909 and 1913. Its predecessor, the Series Two badge (1890-1909) was a six-point "Western Sheriff" style badge. But I digress.

The building you're looking at in the picture is the old Pacific Electric Building which is still standing and has now been converted into lofts as is the building next door. The building in the foreground where the shoe store is is the Santa Fe Building, also still standing.
 

SLOshank

New in Town
Messages
42
Location
San Luis Obispo, CA
Absolutely remarkable photos from www.shorpy.com:

1905 NYC: http://www.shorpy.com/node/9889?size=_original Bowlers and sack suits dominate. A handful of those hats that look like a cross between a cowboy hat and a homburg. One or two very old school/country "skipper's" caps. Boys are seen wearing knickerbockers and newsboy/ivy league caps. Just amazing.

1900 Little Italy: http://www.shorpy.com/node/7511?size=_original

My favorite -- Herald Square in 1908: http://www.shorpy.com/Herald-Square-New-York-1908?size=_original It must be summer -- you can see boaters being worn...
 
Absolutely remarkable photos from www.shorpy.com:

1905 NYC: http://www.shorpy.com/node/9889?size=_original Bowlers and sack suits dominate. A handful of those hats that look like a cross between a cowboy hat and a homburg. One or two very old school/country "skipper's" caps. Boys are seen wearing knickerbockers and newsboy/ivy league caps. Just amazing.

You have to remember that the current forms of the Homburg and bowler that we are confronted with in many cases are not representative of what was out there when they were actually "working hats." The brims on bowlers and homburgs could have been bought with wider brims and the bowler was worn higher on the head than you would expect to see now. Notice the men wearing bowlers and the wide brim gray homburg on the bottom left corner of the photo. You see an early gray fedora with two side dents and a center dent on the man in the lower right hand corner. That didn't really make a big splash until WWI.
 
Apologies but I must ask what will seem a foolish and novice question. Regarding the two gentleman in the bottom middle wearing dark hats. What style hat is this and I presume the owner shapes it to this effect?


Those two are wearing some pretty beat up homburgs. The crowns have plenty of taper. It looks as though they have put two forward dents in it as well from taking them off and putting them on. The forward dents also make the center dent fairly tight rather than smooth. The owner shaped it but I don't know if he meant to do it quite the way or if it is due to wear. [huh]:p
 

Equality 7-2521

One of the Regulars
Messages
216
Location
Norðweg
Do you believe the hat has a bound edge? It's rather hard to tell from the picture. Then again it almost seems as if there is no ribbon...
 

dhermann1

I'll Lock Up
Messages
9,158
Location
Da Bronx, NY, USA
The best place to get tons of real info on that would be www.shorpy.com . It's a favorite of many people here. He has photos from as far back as the Civil War, up to about 1971, all in very high resolution. There are lots of panoramic images of American cities around 1900, and you can see dozens of individuals caught in a moment of time. Great site.
 

McMurdo

One of the Regulars
Messages
202
Location
Toronto
I love shorpy.com but thought I'd post this as well as I really like this video

[video=youtube_share;pnDjmNNC9So]http://youtu.be/oubsaFBUcTc[/video]
 
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